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Gerry Gomez Pearlberg

I predict that through a joint venture between PetCo and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, people will soon be able to clone their dogs and cats in their own homes. The patented process, known as "Perma-pet," will become a national obsession.

I predict a merger between the federal government and TimeWarner, Inc. I predict that the State of the Union address will be replaced by infomercials for this new mega-entity.

I predict that the United States will change its name to America, Inc.

I predict that in America, Inc., citizens will have to pay for the right to vote.

I predict that corporate sponsorship will become a requirement for citizenship in America Inc., that everyone will have a corporate logo tattooed on their forehead in exchange for the right to work and that those without such a logo will become untouchables and be forced underground.

I predict that parents will have to register their newborns with their corporate employer in order to obtain a birth certificate and a social security number for their child. I predict that in exchange for citizenship in America, Inc., each child will "belong" to its corporate sponsor--and that biological parents will be viewed as surrogate care-givers whose role it is to raise that child until the time comes to deliver it into the hands of its corporate sponsor.

I predict the word "by-product" will replace the word "child." A worldwide corporate ritual will be observed annually as by-products of the appropriate age group are turned over to their corporate sponsors.

I predict the launching of a prime time TV program called "Death Row Today" where executions will be telecast live. I predict that this program will quickly transform itself into a popular pornographic art form.

I predict that Marilyn Monroe's body will be exhumed and that her DNA will be extracted for cloning purposes. I predict the creation of a sexual theme park in Orlando, Florida composed entirely of Marilyn Monroe clones. I predict that the President of America, Inc. will preside over the theme park's opening ceremonies.

I predict that corporate entities will soon be able to purchase the right to blow up landmarked buildings just as they are now able to buy the right to pollute the air. I predict that the destruction of famous landmarks--the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building, the Golden Gate Bridge--will become a TV show called "The Rise and Fall..." and that this program will have the highest viewer ratings in television history.

I predict that Ricki Lake will be seen as the Mother Theresa of the twenty-first century.

I predict that Oprah Winfrey will be placed on trial for the crime of promoting literacy in America.

I predict that the Jerry Springer show and its spin-offs will replace the U.S. Judicial system.

I predict that within the next five years, 98% of the American population will be unable to articulate a working definition for the word "privacy."

I predict that the Internet will become the most potent and all-encompassing instrument of worldwide social control since the dollar bill.

I predict that McDonald's will become the only legally sanctioned food in America, Inc. Within ten years its corporate headquarters will be based in St. Patrick's Cathedral, and the Egg McMuffin will replace the host during Holy Communion.

I predict that in the wake of a top-secret biotech experiment gone awry, a great bookworm plague will sweep the land. A horde of tiny blue-green beetles will consume all paper and print material: every book, newspaper, photograph, archival record, love letter and Tampax instruction brochure on the face of the earth.

I predict that this plague will be perceived by many as a righteous act of God and that a worldwide BookWorm Cult will emerge from the wreckage to worship the larval destroyer of print material and the history it carries.

I predict that this religion will dominate Western culture until the end of human time.

This poem originally appeared in Gargoyle, edited by Richard Peabody.

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