“The Unforeseeable Future”

Leafing through the “Misused Words and Expressions” section of Strunk and White’s “The Elements of Style,” I paused at the entry, “The Foreseeable Future:”

A cliché and a fuzzy one. How much of the future is foreseeable? Ten minutes? Ten years? Any of it? By whom is it foreseeable? Seers? Experts? Everybody?”

Good question! As my son recently quipped when I asked him, mid-afternoon, whether he’d be home for dinner: “What, you want me to predict the future?”

Used to be that the future — “when I grow up”– was full of hopeful possibility and couldn’t come soon enough. “Don’t wish your life away,” my mother cautioned, but I kept projecting forward, sure that my supply of future moments was inexhaustible. Not being able to foresee the future was part of the fun, because only good things awaited me, right? The future was like the best present ever just waiting to be discovered and unwrapped.

Now, I want to slow everything down. The future is all too foreseeable, and I don’t like most of what I see. If I promise never to use the expression again, can I reclaim my benign and unforeseeable future?

30. We unplugged this clock several years ago.

11:08:30. We unplugged this clock several years ago.

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