Dalton’s fearless predictions for 2021

As he does each year, Dalton Williams reveals the top news stories about to unfold
2021 will be better than 2020. I want to get that on the record right out of the chute. First, it couldn’t be worse. OK, it could, but we are going to whistle past that graveyard. Second, I don’t want readers to blame me if it turns out that 2021 is worse. My 2020 predictions a year ago did include election turmoil, power failures, darkness, and swarms of locusts, but we did not have locusts so 2020 is not my fault. With that said, here is my preview of the top news stories for the year we all said couldn’t come soon enough – good, new 2021.
Charleston residents recover from the aftermath of hurricane Omega that roared into town from out of nowhere in the final hours of 2020. In a college football upset for the ages, tiny Electoral College defeats Clemson in the CFP Championship game with a touchdown on the final play of the game. “Electoral College got beat up pretty bad in November but pulled out a big win tonight,” gushes football analyst Kirk Herbstreit. A Mexican War erupts on social media across Daniel Island between fans of Agaves Cantina and Viva Tacos & Tequila. Las reglas de mi restaurante becomes the battle cry of 2021.
Video footage of the final play of the CFP Championship game reveals Electoral College had 12 men on the field. “They stole the game!” bellows Dabo Swinney demanding a replay. As distributions of COVID-19 vaccines continue, the Center for Disease Control announces they now believe the primary cause of the coronavirus spread is the light blue dye used to color most face masks. The Cleveland Browns win Super Bowl LV – OK, I was kidding about that one, just like the locusts. 
The Daniel Island real estate market remains hot as people flood in from New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. A reverse mortgage lender takes away Tom Selleck’s home. The mass distribution of COVID vaccine immunizations accelerates. The American Psychological Association announces its approval of AI robots to conduct marriage counseling. “They use AI to help couples achieve optimum outcomes,” quotes an APA spokesperson. Seeking additional funding for its expanding programs, Congress allocates $100 million to the Clemson Agricultural School to study how to grow money on trees.
Bill Murray and the cast of “On the Rocks” celebrate winning the best picture Oscar. The Clemson vs. Electoral College case makes its way to the Supreme Court where the justices vote to let the game outcome stand. Justice Barrett, a Notre Dame alum, casts the deciding vote in the 5 to 4 ruling. Pfizer reports a mix-up that allowed injectable Viagra to be shipped instead of its COVID vaccine. The company added that, to date, there have been no complaints. Seeking to make digital communication faster, a group of technology executives petitions Congress to eliminate the letters Q, J, and X from the alphabet.
Vaccine immunizations proceed well and the number of new COVID cases drops sharply. SpaceX announces plans for its “Triple Seventeen” project, a series of elevated pneumatic tubes above I-526 to transport vehicles and reduce congestion. “We call it Triple Seventeen,” Elon Musk says, “because we will be able to shoot a semi from 17 in West Ashley to 17 in Mt. Pleasant in 17 seconds.” New York City Police are called to a bar to break up a loud, abusive fight between two AI marriage counselor robots. TMZ video shows one robot yelling, “It was too your fault!” as it is loaded into a paddy wagon.
President Biden joins Mayor Tecklenburg for a climate change summit in Charleston. Tragically, during a photo op at The Battery, the lower section of the peninsula breaks away at Stoll’s Alley. The land mass — with Biden, Tecklenburg, and others aboard — floats past Fort Sumter and then turns south after passing Morris Island. The Rotary Charity Duck Race is, once again, a huge success raising money for many people in need throughout the Lowcountry. The World Health Organization reports favorable COVID antibody test results for Texas Super Food, Super Beets, and Dinovite.
Fortunately, a Panamax container ship, on the way from China with a shipment of bamboo toilet paper, rescues the inhabitants of the floating peninsula and tows the land mass back to Charleston. The Tokyo Olympics begin. Athletes are required to wear masks which makes for a bizarre water polo final game. The mask requirement is no obstacle for gymnast Simone Biles who wins seven gold medals. Beth Harmon beats Kim Jong-un in the chess gold medal match. Whole Foods replaces Nathan’s as the sponsor of the 4th of July Hot Dog Eating Contest. Joey Chestnut retains his championship after downing 107 tofu wieners.
After the failure of thousands of businesses and the departure of more than a million former residents, the City of New York declares bankruptcy. Mayor de Blasio blames tourists for not visiting. In a court ordered public sale, the Island of Manhattan is sold to descendants of the Canarsee Indians for $24. Daniel Island schools reopen with in-person classroom attendance. Faced with the dilemma of having to cut budget funding, several SEC universities announce they will conduct fall football but are suspending liberal arts education for the foreseeable future.
New York Governor Cuomo jumps in to have the sale of Manhattan Island rescinded and offers the Indian group alternative land in Upstate New York. They reply that trick was tried about 200 years ago and didn’t work out so well for them. The American Association of Meat Processors launches a campaign to combat the “just meat” movement with meat products modified to resemble vegetables. “The acorn squash made from pork bellies is spectacular,” boasts an AAMP executive. Lewis Barbecue rolls out brisket green beans. Charleston restaurants operate at full capacity.
The Army Corps of Engineers approves a plan, developed by Elon Musk, to reattach the lower section of the Charleston peninsula by resting it snugly on a bed of nurdles. Twitter files for bankruptcy as a majority of its former users switch to Parler. The number of new COVID cases nationwide is negligible. Zoom stock hits a new low. As a part of a Teamsters contract negotiation, truckers participate in a slowdown on the nation’s highways. On I-526 no one notices any difference. The Cleveland Whatevers defeat the Atlanta Traffic Jammers in a thrilling final game seven of the World Series.
Congress conducts an investigation into allegations regarding the safety and reliability of mail-in voting and concludes to add voting by cell phone for the 2022 election. Conde Nast Magazine picks Charleston, once again, as the best place to live in the U. S.
Mother Jones Magazine picks Portland, Oregon. Congress orders all unvaccinated people to proceed to Washington, D.C. to get inoculated. A couple, Mary and Joseph from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, who have lost their home and car in the pandemic, begin to hitchhike down I-95. Mary is heavy with child, her first.
With the COVID pandemic abated, people go out more and mingle. As they do, they discover the differences they had with others in 2020 are really not that significant. Collectively, people refocus on service to community and neighbors in need. They talk face-to-face more and cut back on social media. Mary and Joseph arrive in Washington to find their room at the Marriott taken. They sleep at a homeless center. During the night, Mary gives birth to a son. Families return to in-person church services in record numbers. There is more respect, civility, and empathy. People marvel at a bright light in the evening sky that arises each night during Advent. And there are good tidings of great joy and on Earth peace, good will toward man.

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