“You Have to Tell the Future!”
That is just what daddies do
This morning, Kina really wanted to watch a movie, and because she knows that movies are for rainy days (specifically rainy weekend days), she asked me when I expected it to start raining. Reader, I am not a meteorologist; Laurea once took a meteorology course in fulfillment of her science requirement in college, and she would regale me by phone with stories of the various sorts of clouds1, but that makes me at best an amateur meteorologist by proxy. The closest I get to meteorology is the Weather app on my phone, which I did not have near me when my daughter demanded to know on what day and time the precipitation would begin. When I told her that I could not tell the future, and therefore could also not predict the next time she might watch a movie, she insisted that daddies’ only real talent was in telling the future, suggesting that my inability to divine storms was a massive gap in my parenting skills.
I wish I could predict the future. It’s probably my number one superpower wish, followed closely by the ability to shoot fire out of my fingers.2 I won’t lie—winning the lottery is definitely one of the things I would do with magical foresight, but I’d also make more focused changes to my lifestyle based on demonstrable risk of specific diseases and probably take more risks with my career.3 Why do we want to be able to see into the future? Fear and greed, basically. But also, I would love to look into the future and know if I could afford to buy a home on a thirty-year mortgage, so that I could feel more secure about Kina’s future. Is there no college in the future? Let me teach Kina about homestead farming, then. If I could tell the future, I could know about the world I was leaving behind for my child. What would I learn about it? What would it tell me to do, in this moment? How scared should I be?
Maybe I should be careful what I wish for. We all know about snakes and apples. I’d settle for just knowing when the rain will come, so that I could stay dry and be able to start the movie on time. And fire, from my fingers—always good to keep that skill in your back pocket.
Laurea went to school in California, and I have always envisioned her taking this meteorology course in an imposing stone tower at the center of the San Jose State University campus, under a massive brass telescope and a wall full of obscure gauges.
I’m not sure why I want to be able to shoot fire out of my fingers. It is definitely not a good wish. Really loving this new footnote feature, by the way. So much easier than what I was doing before.
I don’t think that’s how risks work, but you get the point. Did they introduce this footnote feature because of all the self-important neorationalists scurrying to Substack? It makes newsletters feel so much more academic, which is hilarious. This is email! Nobody should try to be smart in an email!