Rollin' Like Sisyphus

The Next Ten Years – Beginning At The End (Part II)

Posted in The Next Ten Years by Huckleberry on April 15, 2014

No where to run to...

No where to run to…

So now that I’ve spent several hundred words denigrating all of the storycraft that goes into the scholarly understanding of just about everything, allow me to pile on with my own makeshift literary device.
Meet the Baker family.
They are a typical family of four, holding on to a middle class lifestyle with their finger nails. The beginning of the next 10 years finds them in the infill suburbs of a major metropolitan center in the United States. It could be Los Angeles, it could be Atlanta, it could be Chicago (but it’s probably not Chicago) or Denver or Seattle.
The family patriarch, Able Baker, works as a middle manager for a company that contracts with another company that provides a niche service to another company that manufactures a single component for industrial equipment, a company with most of its production chain spread across Southeast Asia. Mom will be played by Beth Baker, a Public School Administrator for the local district. The teenage son, Charlie Baker, is just beginning to prepare for the SATs as he enters his junior year of high school. The pre-teen daughter, Della Baker, is in her final year of elementary school.
At the outset, the Baker family’s finances are about average for their time and place – minimal savings, a low-match 401(k) with 5 figures for Able, a “secured” pension for Beth, but for the most part they depend almost entirely on wage income. The only potentially appreciable asset they own is their home, 1,800 square feet of mid-20th century housing stuffed onto an 1/8th of an acre of land in an infilled subdivision governed by an HOA. Most of their possessions and assets are depreciating.
I know what you’re thinking.
“Just give me the facts, Huck,” you’re saying.
“Don’t wander out into the weeds with these cloying literary manipulations,” you insist.
You’re right.
The employment of the Baker family is a manipulation, and one that I’ve deliberated using for a while now. While I’d like to the think the arguments I present stand for themselves, the fact is that narrative can be a powerful way of driving home a lot of what I’m trying to get across.
Look, this isn’t going to be a novel.
I intend only for the Baker family to be a laboratory for playing out scenarios, and a relatable avatar for Average People to evaluate what’s coming against their own personal barometers, rather than trying to comprehend all of this in the abstract.
And if it doesn’t work, the Bakers are getting ditched.
I envision this working like so:
If I need to provide a visceral explanation of a concept or prognostication, one of the poor Bakers will be my stand-in. Their trials and travails will also be run through all of the scenarios that I imagine and then compared against each other.
We’ll see how it goes.
Next up, a primer on technological development.


2 Responses

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  1. El Borak said, on April 15, 2014 at 18:57

    I’m currently reading Kunstler’s “Too Much Magic,” an epic screed against suburbanism and prophecy of its imminent downfall.

    That pic is going to give me nightmares.

    • Huckleberry said, on April 15, 2014 at 20:58

      That pic is going to give me nightmares

      I know, right?
      It’s not going to be pretty when the bottom falls out.

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