ON MY MIND: Guessing success

On My Mind | Maureen Burns

There are things that are sure fire bets. There are things we think will be sure fire bets. And there are things that just plain shock us when they become huge.

My kids still mock me for saying that Juice Newton would be the singer of the ’80s. Oh, for the 99 percent of you who have never heard of her, she was a country singer who sang a couple of cool songs in the beginning of the ’80s. Somehow, she never made it as stellar as I had expected.

One friend told me she predicted The Beatles wouldn’t amount to anything, but the Dave Clark 5 would be the “it” group of the future.

About 15 years ago, I said I wouldn’t buy any clothing in animal prints because I knew it was a fad — here today, gone tomorrow. As I sat at lunch today, two of my friends wore animal print tops, one had animal print jewelry and another had an animal print purse. I have had to eat a lot of words about my animal print prophecy. I see now I was dead wrong on that one.

Apparently I am not the lone ranger here. It turns out others have done similar incorrect suppositions.

Remember Y2K? People stock piled all kinds of things. One local man bought a huge container for gas and filled it to prepare for the post-apocalyptic nightmare, which never came. However, as the price of gas has skyrocketed, he kinda lucked out.

There were all kinds of ideas on what the new millennium would be like. Most were full of fear and tremendous anxiety. But, then it came. The crystal ball dropped in New York City and life just went on as it had before. No changes. All bad bets were off.

There have been cars that were supposed to be super cars but they never hit it big. The Edsel was a downer. The DeLorean never took off, except in that Michael J. Fox movie.

I know it will be hard for younger readers to believe this, but we didn’t always have computers. When they first arrived on the scene, many thought they were just a passing fad. Who could have imagined our computerized world as it is today? Okay, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, but most could not. One friend told me she had thought, “A computer is just a useless piece of junk.”

I hate to admit this, and I think I already did in a previous column, but I remember saying I would never need a computer because I was such a fast typist. What a fool! We only know what we know. I wasn’t alone here, either. Lloyd Walker had an Aunt Helga who died at 103. She used to say, “Those computers won’t last long.”

Another friend said she bought a paper dress at Herpolsheimers in Grand Rapids. It was supposed to be the new fashion. Hers tore immediately and somehow the paper dresses never caught on.

Speaking of fashion, another friend said, “Don’t forget the Nehru jackets or shoulder pads.”

A local gal told me she held out for years on buying a microwave. She was sure they weren’t going to last. She has one now and was amazed it fit so nicely in that nook in her kitchen, “Almost like it was made for it”, she said.

There were eight-track tapes. There were audio-cassettes. There were video tapes. There were CDs, which I have heard soon will not be made anymore. I have spent a large part of my life transferring albums to tapes, tapes to CDs, CDs to my iPod, my iPod to my iPhone. Life keeps evolving and we can’t always see it coming or believe in it.

In the book, “Steve Jobs”, it stated Bill Gates said it would be a mistake for Apple to open retail stores. He predicted they would go out of business in eight months and no one would ever go to them.

We all know what happened. If you pass an Apple store during any hour they are open, you will see a store full to the brim with people and energy. It is truly amazing and this goes on all over the world. Now, in Seattle, there’s a Microsoft store. Bill Gates must have changed his mind.

We can all think of things like these in our lives. We expect some things to make it big and we are right. We are wrong with other predictions we make. This is all part of the fabric that makes up an interesting lifetime.

Cynthia Heimel seemed to hit this all on the head with this quote. “When in doubt, make a fool of yourself. There is a microscopically thin line between being brilliantly creative and acting like the most gigantic idiot on earth. So what the hell, leap.”

Maureen Burns, a Greenville resident, is a professional speaker and author. Her e-mail address is maureenburns@maureenburns.com.

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