This was an exciting week at the Rothenburger household, at least for me — the International is, at long last, back on the road.
“You scared the dog,” Syd said after I rumbled into the yard and parked my beloved 1955 cornbinder (it used to be my Dad’s), seven years after the boys at Jay’s Service started tinkering on it, and 22 years since the last time it drove anywhere under its own steam.
As today’s pickup trucks go, the International is small, but solid. After being in the elements for her entire 57 years, she has surprisingly little rust, at least not much that’s eaten right through.
Times have changed a lot, though. While I looked forward to once again manually shifting with its three-on-the-tree stick, I’d forgotten about turning corners. Big skinny wheel the size of a hula hoop, and no power steering. No power brakes, no ABS.
I’ve never driven a Sherman tank, but the International must be comparable.
Coincidentally, I received a piece in my in-box yesterday about things that will disappear in the next 10 or 15 years.
A website called NowandNext.com looks at statistics and trends and predicts when stuff will happen. It’s posted a new infographic suggesting that spelling and blogging will be things of the past within the next decade.
So will the Maldives, a country near Sri Lanka that consists of atolls and coral islands, none of which is more than six feet about sea level.
There’s no explanation as to why spelling will become extinct by 2020, but considering the state of the English language I’m not so sure it will take that long.
By 2030, according to the graph, lunch, FM radio, free roads, intimacy, work-free weekends, Taiwan, Paris Hilton and Kim Jong Il will also be extinct. A few years later, wallets, British royalty, Glaciers, Bangladesh, spam and a good night’s sleep will be gone, too.
The family room will hang on until around 2045; ugliness will disappear about 10 years after that. Without ugliness, of course, there will be no more cosmetic surgeons.
Looking backwards, one can see some logic to such predictions, as slightly bizarre as some of them seem. It points out, for example, that passenger airships, the Titanic and Queen Victoria left us in the early part of the last century, and that by the mid-1970s there were no more moon landings, cheap oil, steam locomotives or Jim Morrison.
Even the Berlin Wall came down in the late ‘80s, along with Space Invaders, Studio 54 and then, in the ‘90s, Betamax, Sunday lunch, the Concorde, and black-and-white televisions.
During my own lifetime, I’ve witnessed the demise of the 78-rpm record and its successors — the 45 rpm, 8-track, cassette tape and Sony Walkman. The Kik Cola I drank as a kid is long gone, and the Crumbles breakfast cereal I lived on hasn’t been on the shelves for decades.
Nobody handwrites letters any more, and when was the last time you met a typewriter salesman?
The good news is that printed newspapers will be around for another 50 years — much longer than a lot of media analysts have been predicting.
By then, though, there will be no more motor-carrier routes getting that paper to your doorstep because gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles will be a thing of the past.
What will I do with the International then?