Back to the Future

It struck me on October 9th when my husband posted on facebook: “Yeah, it's something, huh? Who would've thought? 100 to 1 shot! I wish I could go back to the beginning of the season, and put some money on the Cubs.”


I recognized the quote right away. We are avid Back to the Future trilogy fans. We could probably quote a majority of all three movies (and we do sometimes randomly in normal conversation).

The post made me laugh for a second. Then it shocked me. Because the Cubs actually were winning for the first time in what seems like forever.

30 years ago, the Cubs had the reputation of a losing team because they were a losing team. With the exception of this year, they’ve kept that reputation for good reason. So imagine my surprise when Back to the Future 2, which takes place in 2015, might actually have correctly forecasted the Cubs having a chance at winning the World Series.

I’m not about to suggest that Steven Spielberg and friends are miraculous prophesizing oracles. It’s simply coincidence that the Cubbies are finally get their act together during this particular season. And the same is true for the other predictions they made in the movie that have actually materialized in today’s world. Although I do find it striking the number of things they got right.

The things they got right are often unnoticeable because the things they didn’t get right are so distracting: brightly colored spandex clothes (that look a lot like ‘80s clothes), flying cars, controllable weather, hover boards, really crappy graphics of Jaws and Michael Jackson…the list goes on.


I always find it interesting how drastically different people expect the future to be from the present. How much has life changed in 30 years, really? Why do we expect it will change so much 30 years from now?

Me, personally, I take comfort in the fact that life doesn’t change that much that fast. Whenever I get particularly down about the world or worry about what the human race is turning into, I always like to think backwards in time. The world has seen its share of bad times, and it’s always made it through. The day-to-day life of Americans has remained relatively the same. Whether it’s 1955, 1985, or the current 2015, we live in brick and mortar homes, we go to jobs in offices and factories, we watch TV, we call each other on the phone, we drive back and forth in cars on roads.

Sure, what some of that looks like has changed. Cars are sleeker. TVs are flatter. Phones are smaller and wireless. But the utility is essentially the same.

My house was built in the 1960s, as was the other homes in my neighborhood. When I look out my back window, I can’t tell if it’s 1955, 1985, or 2015. And that’s okay with me.

If I were to sit back and try to dream up what the world will look like 30 years from now in 2045, when I am 61 years old, I imagine it will look pretty much the same. Hopefully our cars will run on something other than gas, but I suspect they’ll still drive on the road. We’ll still have phones, although I’m sure they’ll become even more important and hold even more information than they do now. I’m sure we’ll still have TVs, and maybe a decent 3-D technology for them will exist by then (not that I’ll bother—3-D tends to give me a headache). And people will still go to their jobs, build brick and mortar homes, and live their lives much in the same way we live them now.

That’s not to say that I’m not impressed with the hypothesized technology that the movie portrayed. I’ve been rather obsessed with this video that acknowledges innovations the movie was spot-on about.

It’s an odd sensation, being alive when a movie about the future comes out and then living long enough to see if that “future” turns out to be real. And while I may be convinced that the world will never look like Marty McFly's 2015, I very well could be wrong. Maybe flying cars and hover boards will be commonplace in 2045. The only way to find out is to wait. Unless, of course, Doc will lend me his time-travelling DeLorean.