Hi. We are Jeff and Paul. That being the case, we have supernatural powers which allow us to see the future. We recently warmed up our crystal ball (which looks suspiciously like an old “Magic 8-Ball”) and glimpsed at the future of Richmond until the year 2000. Was it bright and happy? The Magic 8-Ball leaned toward yes. Was it funny? Our vision: Cannot answer at this time. It is through our fool-proof sequence of complex yes or no question that we can reveal to you, valued State reader, the following:
The History of the City of Richmond: 1995-2001
October 19, 1995 — You pick up the Richmond State and are reading this column. (So far, so good.)
Several moments later, 1995 — While you’re busy reading this, somebody steals your wallet.
October 12, 1995 - The Monument Avenue statue of Arthur Ashe is torn down and replaced with a new one, because city officials say the old one is “ugly as Hell.” Sculptor Paul DiPasquale retorts, “Well, excuuuuuuuse me.”
November 3, 1995 - New statistics reveal that Richmond’s murder rate is the highest in the country. Police Chief Jerry Oliver says, reportedly, “Oops.”
December 1, 1995 - Mayoral elections are announced. Mayor Leonidas Young responds, “Somebody please run and get me out of this job.”
December 19, 1995 - Oliver North announces his candidacy for the mayorship. His slogan is “North - He Needs the Work. Badly.”
January 8, 1995 - The Richmond Times-Dispatch, in an effort to boost a seriously flagging readership, merges with Style Magazine. The new newspaper is called “The Rychmond Tymes-Dysptach,” and has over 30 pages of personal ads.
January 22, 1996 - In a surprise move, television star David Hasselhoff declares his candidacy for the mayor of Richmond. When asked why, he responds, “I’m a big musical star in Germany.”
May 6, 1996 - In the mayoral election, Leonidas Young retains his seat after everybody forgets to vote.
September 20, 1996 — Radio personality Howard Stern asks Richmond officials to “let him know when that mayor position is open.”
January 16, 1997 - The Tymes-Dyspatch, to fight further decreases in readership, switches to an all-comics format. The headline of the first edition reads, “Mary Worth in Wild Love Triangle, Sources Report.”
February 1, 1997 — Richmond gains national attention when the state supreme court rules that it is constitutional for teachers to confine parents to their room if their children do not perform well in school.
April 13, 1997 - Four members of the Richmond City Council resign after being arrested for speeding.
June 8, 1997 - The Richmond Braves are kicked out of the International League after losing the baseball playoffs to Girl Scout Troop #327, a Pittsburgh Pirates farm team. Richmonders vow to get another sports team immediately. The Richmond Renegades release a statement through their director of public relations that says, “HEY! What about us?”
Richmonders simply shrug and go watch the Washington Redskins lose to the expansion Springfield Egg Shells on TV.
June 21, 1997 - The Tymes-Dyspatch, in a last-ditch effort to gain readers, begins just making up news that they think would be interesting.
July 5, 1997 - New statistics say that Richmond’s murder rate is the highest in the universe. According to these statistics, everyone in the city will be dead by Tuesday.
July 25, 1997 — Controversy reigns on Monument Avenue as ground is broken for a statue of David Hasselhoff. Confederate-flag-wielding protesters darken the moment, chanting and throwing rocks. One protester says, “I mean, couldn’t they get a real hero? How ‘bout the Dukes of Hazzard?” Monument sponsors admit that Daisy Duke would make a much better-looking statue.
Sculptor Paul DiPasquale can not be reached for comment, but releases a statement through an agent, stating, “Hey, they love him in Germany.”
September 1, 1997 — Police Chief Jerry Oliver is replaced by an aging Clint Eastwood. When new Chief Eastwood is asked by reporters about new community patrol efforts, he simply squints and says something about punks, then shoots a television reporter. This earns him a standing ovation.
September 3, 1997 — Howard Stern announces that he is running for mayor.
September 7, 1997 - Police Chief Eastwood resigns in order to star in the next “Police Academy” sequel. At a press conference supportive Mayor Leonidas Young is quoted as saying, “We have police?”
September 15, 1997 — Leonidas Young says “I’m sick of this job. The City Council can bite me,” and announces that he will host a four-hour comedy morning talk show on WRVA. Howard Stern is reportedly “really pissed.”
December 9, 1997 - A statue of Bo and Luke Duke is erected on Monument Avenue. The plaque reads: “Just two good ol’ boys; Never meanin’ no harm; Beats all you never saw; Been in trouble with the law since the day they were born.”
January 13, 1998 — Controversy rocks Richmond’s City Council as more than half of its members are forced to resign after they are busted for selling Girl Scout Cookies without a license.
February 6, 1998 - New police chief Barney Fife resigns after it is revealed that he is actually a fictional character.
February 7, 1998 — New statistics reveal that everyone in Richmond has been murdered at least once, and that others have been brutally slain more than six times. Police Chief Madonna says, “I’m outta here.”
February 8, 1998 - The City Council selects as its new police chief: RoboCop. One council member says, “OK, so he isn’t real, but we think he’ll scare people.”
February 19, 1998 — Oliver Stone’s latest movie, “Natural-Born Losers,” which depicts the escapades of Richmond’s now-famous city council, is released.
March 3, 1998 - Marion Barry is elected to the City Council after it is discovered that he is only candidate who has already served his jail time.
March 28, 1998 — The popular dance club Paragon wins a landmark legal battle with the City of Richmond, after it sued the city for “being really lame.” The city pleads “no contest.” Afterwards, the victorious law firm, Joynes, Bieber and Cochran, which represented Paragon in the case, holds a press conference n which they announce that “we totally rule.”
April 3, 1998 - The new Richmond baseball team, the “Richmond Tomohawk-Wielding-Maniacs,” is selected because, in the team owner’s words, “That way we can still use that stupid-looking indian-thing stuck to the stadium.”
April 4, 1998 - The Tomohawk-Wielding-Maniacs lose to Girl Scout Troop #327. All six fans in attendance are reportedly “really pissed.”
May 4, 1998 - In a seemingly unrelated incident, David Hasselhoff has a sandwich for lunch, thousands of miles away. Coincidence? We think not.
October 30, 1998 — Richmond State reporter Jason Roop dresses up in all black on the night before Halloween, Mischief Night, and covers both of the Comycs-Dyspatch’s main buildings with toilet paper. Reportedly, nobody cares. The Dyspatch runs an editorial the next day condemning toilet paper as being the fault of welfare.
November 4, 1998 — The Richmond State shocks the newspaper world by buying out The Rychmond Comycs-Dyspatch.
Says new editor in chief, Jason Roop, “Hey, why not? They’ve got some cool buildings, once you get the toilet paper off them.”
May 11, 1999 — Mayoral candidates Howard Stern, Oliver North, Colin Powell and Ringo Starr each receive zero votes. The winner is write-in candidate General Robert E. Lee, despite the fact that he has been dead for more than a hundred years.
June 30, 1999 - General Lee posthumously resigns as mayor. City officials say they will seek a new mayor from the entertainment industry because “they are involved in fewer scandals than the other candidates.”
August 9, 1999 - The entire City Council is arrested for being City Council members, which is now a felony offense.
September 2, 1999 - The Richmond State-Dyspatch reports that the Virginia Supreme Court has declared that parents can be shot if their children receive a “C” on tests.
November 23, 1999 - Geneticists successfully mate a VCU student and a University of Richmond student. Doctors report that the child is born wearing a Brooks Brothers shirt, but has its nose pierced.
January 1, 2000 - The Mayor Formerly Known as Prince declares that Richmond is once again seceding from the Union, citing “irreconcilable differences.” State troopers are given orders to shoot anyone with New Jersey license plates on sight. A second Confederate government is formed; new Attorney Generals Joynes, Bieber and Wapner call the move “entirely constitutional, except for the illegal bits.” In the midst of the controversy, plans for a new Monument Avenue statue of Howard Stern go unnoticed.
As responsible journalists, we feel that no city should know too much about its own future. It is for this reason that we stop this future history at the dawn of the new century. After that moment, it is up to the city of Richmond to determine its own future.
Also, our Magic 8-Ball has too many bubbles in it to read correctly, and to go any further would mean to compromise the sanctity of our predictions. Jeff has even suggested that we make stuff up just to fill space.
Lord knows we wouldn’t want to do that.