In the last month alone, the world has gone topsy-turvy and everybody is running for the exits it seems, grabbing toilet paper and useless face masks on the way out. Camp and I are looking at all the hysteria and financial market convulsions from our vantage point at Gramma’s Pub, feeling a bit removed from it all since Gibsons is virtually an island, away from the hub-bub of the big city and the rest of the world. In order to not get caught in the maelstrom of panic I decided to propose a game to my friend Campbell, Camp to all and sundry around here.
‘Let’s play a game Camp,’ I said and his immediate response was predictable.
‘I don’t play games, don’t gamble and don’t buy lottery tickets.’
‘I know, I know,’ I said, ‘this is a fun game. Let’s predict the future and in a year’s time we revisit our predictions and see how we did. What do you say?’
‘Well, I’m not the oracle of Delphi and you’re not the prophet of Gibsons, so what’s the point?’ he said.
‘Just to pass the time and have some fun,’ I said. ‘I propose three questions each, we supply our answers and I’ll write them down in my blog for posterity.’
‘Ok, you go first,’ he relented, taking a sip from his beer.
‘Here goes. The big issue of the day, The Corona virus. What’s going to happen?’
Camp sat back in his chair and thought about it for a moment. ‘Millions of people will get infected the world over and a few thousand will die, mostly the old and infirm but also some young people before a vaccine is available or the virus has run its course. And it’s here to stay, just like influenza. Okay, my turn: Who do think will win the US election in November?’
‘That’s easy Camp. I pick Biden because I don’t want Trump to be back but also because I believe most American voters will come to their senses.’
‘What if Trump realized he can’t win the election, and declares Marshall law for some reason, maybe the virus, in other words postpone the election.’
‘Is that your second question?’ I said.
‘It’s a follow up. My second question has to do with the oil price war that the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman or MBS has unleashed. How long can he hold out and will he be the next king?’
‘That’s two questions. I predict he will fall on his own sword and he will not be the next king. First, he has to wait for his 84year old dad to die. Which leads me to my own question. Who will blink first? Putin or MBS or for that matter Trump?’
‘Definitely not Putin. He has all the time in the world and Trump is an ignorant, reactionary cult leader, the worst kind to have in the White House right now. Ok, what about the stock market. Will it recover or will it lead to a worldwide recession or even depression?’
Depending on a lot of if’s, it will likely recover in time. There is always another high but it could be a long ways off. I predict the Dow Jones to be at 30’000 next year this time, I said.
‘This sounds more like wishful thinking. Bold predictions all around my friend. What if we’re wrong?’
‘Then we’ll act like all the other prophets. If we’re right we claim special clairvoyant powers and if we’re wrong we won’t mention it.’
‘What do you two think about Trump’s blame game and travel ban from Europe? How stupid is that? Viruses don’t respect borders or carry passports. Instead of making testing available and free,’ Rosy said, when she came to inquire if we wanted another round.
‘Exactly. He exempted England because he still wants people to play on his Scottish golf course,’ Camp said.
“I guess everybody will fly through Canada to the US now,’ I said.
‘I hope they don’t close the schools. I hear that kids don’t get sick but can be carriers, but many healthcare workers have kids and they will need to stay home or leave them with the grandparents who are in a higher risk group,’ Rosie said.
‘Politicians react, they’re not known for innovative thinking.’ Camp said, ‘and yes, we will have that other round, please.’