I'm looking forward, not back

Another 36 hours or so, depending on what time you got around to reading the paper today, and we will be saying hello to 2007.

How can that be possible? Wasn't it only a couple of years ago that we were hoarding cash and buying up bottled water and toilet paper like an Alpharetta housewife in a half-inch snowstorm because we thought all the ATMs would quit working at midnight?

And yet, here we are, on the cusp of another brand new year.

This is the weekend of the year, of course, that we are often given to looking back on the events of the previous 12 months; but, not me - at least not this year. The legendary Satchel Paige once said, "Never look back. Someone might be gaining on you."

At this stage in my life, that someone might be Father Time with the Grim Reaper close on his heels. I'll be content with looking ahead if it's all the same to you - or even if it isn't.

I don't have any resolutions for you today, though. I mean, what's the point of making resolutions? Nine will get you 10 that they'll all be broken within a week anyway, and let's say you somehow do go a whole year without breaking your resolutions. What a boring year that would be!

So no resolutions. I do, however, have a few predictions for you about what is likely to transpire in the new year to come. And here's an idea. Why don't you let the parakeet use the comic section today and clip and save this column? This time next year you can pull it out and see just how prophetic my vision of 2007 turned out to be. Or not.

OK. Here goes. Let's begin with politics, which, next to college football, is my favorite spectator sport.

Even though the next presidential election does not occur until November 2008, candidates are already lining up to throw their collective hats into the ring - and there had better be a lot of room in that ring because being president is like being manager of the Braves. Everybody thinks they can do it better than the guy who has the job.

I'm not sure how many candidates will eventually enter the race, but I predict that Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Hussein Obama will get the most press. I predict that both campaigns will complain about the coverage they get on Fox News. Clinton's camp will complain because Fox doesn't use her middle name and Obama's bunch will complain because they do use his.

Go figure.

I also predict that Reggie Ball will apply for academic reinstatement at Georgia Tech - but will have to send four separate letters because Tra Battle will intercept the first two and Ball will overshoot the mail slot on the third.

I predict that 41,714 Yankee-Americans will get lost on Peachtree Circle, Peachtree Road, Peachtree Battle and Peachtree Drive while looking for plain old Peachtree Street. I also predict that over a million natives will suffer the same fate.

I predict that north Georgia will be blanketed with a half-inch of snow in early February, causing the aforementioned Alpharetta housewife, along with a couple hundred thousand others, to panic and buy out every Kroger in sight. I also fearlessly predict that the snow will cause 7,222 fender benders and prompt all 41,714 Yankees who got lost looking for Peachtree Street to complain about how we Southerners can't drive on snow and ice.

I predict that this will be the year that Fidel Castro finally succumbs to old age and illness, which will cause the price of good cigars to plummet and former president Jimmy Carter to issue a statement bemoaning his loss, calling him a "great American," and predicting that "history will judge him kindly."

I predict that I will get 127 ugly e-mails because of the last prediction.

I predict that over half will be automatically deleted before I see them.

I predict that my assistant will delete the other half.

Going way out on a limb, I predict that Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and John Lewis will all release sharply worded statements criticizing the upcoming attempt by the Georgia General Assembly to change the name of Cynthia McKinney Parkway back to Memorial Drive, and that all three will call the attempt "racially motivated."

I also predict that the attempt will fail, prompting at least one large metropolitan newspaper to run a half-page picture of Ms. McKinney, grinning like a mule eating briars.

In the world of entertainment, I predict that 10 major movie stars will get divorced, three will enter drug rehab and two will be arrested for DUI - and that's just next week. I also predict that two rappers will be shot and two others will be arrested for beating up their live-in girlfriends.

That's next week, too.

But on a more positive note, I predict that Britney Spears will not get married, divorced or be photographed without her underwear until well after Groundhog Day.

And finally, I predict that Saddam Hussein will hang around for just a little while in 2007.

Happy New Year, y'all.

Darrell Huckaby is an author and teacher in Rockdale County. E-mail him at dhuck08@bellsouth.net.

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