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Ann McFeatters: Hopes for 2019: More laughs, fewer potholes

December 28, 2018

Aside from changing the political lay of the land, which we can’ really do much about right now, this new year being what they call an “off” political year, here are a few changes that we could all applaud if they should occur in 2019.

“Help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” ads might be banned from the airwaves. Instead, smart TVs would sense a disturbance in the ambient air flow and alert the authorities. Also, those drug commercials that note side effects such as loss of hair, loss of sleep, loss of bladder control or loss of life could be eliminated without damage to the economy or health.

Award shows might be limited to one hour, with most of the time going to the most unbelievable gowns and innovative menswear trends. Terms such as “the industry” could be forbidden.

Perhaps it will become illegal to repost political tweets and a violation of Federal Communications Commission regulations to retweet any post with alternative “facts,” also known as lies.

Potholes that are most than a foot deep could be mandated to be fixed within 24 hours, and there would have to be cones blocking them off before unwary passing motorists were lost forever. (Repair jobs of course would pay $20 an hour, wiping out unemployment altogether.)

Immigrant children in federal custody might be given nourishing food, proper clothing, education, books, toys, prompt medical attention and the right to stay with their parents while pursuing legal asylum. The president of the United States, whoever that might be, would be required to spend an hour a day talking to said children in their own language.

Excited by passing a farm bill and a criminal justice bill in 2018, members of Congress might begin buying each other lunch, drinking together after work, working five days a week instead of three, knowing the children’s names of their colleagues and refraining from trashing each other on TV or over the Internet. Each member could be limited to three fundraisers a year, which could not involve black ties, expensive liquor or closed-door remarks. The little “R” and “D” after legislators’ names would disappear.

Trade wars could be banned for lack of interest, so we wouldn’t have to pay attention to who is tariffing whom.

It might happen that every woman who gives birth will get maternity leave, no matter her salary or seniority.

There could be an atmosphere of no tolerance for bullying in America. Anywhere. Those who persisting in bullying would be publicly shamed.

Speaking of shaming, it might become OK not to be made to feel guilty about disliking kale or broccoli or underdone Brussels sprouts. But doctors might decide this year to approve automatically a small piece of chocolate every day or perhaps even an evening glass of wine for adults, especially adults with children.

This might be the year that scientists reverse the effects of gravity on the human body. Instead of turning down at the corners as time and gravity do their worst, mouths will turn up. Women over 50 would not automatically get turtlenecks for their birthdays.

Americans could be about to rediscover the wonders and joys of volunteering and helping others. The national happiness quotient would rise dramatically. Really. It’s science.

Instead of those sirens that go off at noon every Wednesday to remind us of how emergency warning systems work, bells might ring at midday, at which point everybody would have to pause to laugh. Public jokes could be broadcast or appear on billboards for the humor-challenged.

Sooner or later somebody is going to figure out that private information should not be subject to being stolen, again and again. You could go to the hardware store for a plumbing part or use a bank card without having your Social Security number and mother’s maiden name broadcast to all takers on the Internet.

OK. OK. Consider all this musing the equivalent of fantasy football for nerds. But if we don’t dream it, nobody will scheme it. Look at it this way: I got through an entire column without mentioning you know who.

Ann McFeatters is an op-ed columnist for Tribune News Service. Readers may send her email at amcfeatters@nationalpress.com.

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