This column appeared in The St. Petersburg Times on Jan. 3, 2000:

By Wes Platt

Many legitimate pundits are putting forth their educated opinions about what the future holds in the new millennium. Not me.

Oh, I’m going to put forth some opinions about the future of central and east Pasco, but I’m not going to make the mistake of relying on history or trends to reach them. Why bother?

Instead, I call upon the Magic Eight Ball that the staff in the Land O’Lakes office bestowed upon me for Christmas. It seems wise to use it for something besides deciding whether or not they should be paid this week. The beauty of the black sphere emblazoned with a white circle and the number eight is that it probably has as much chance to be right about these things as an expert. So, here goes.

ME: Will Collier Parkway eventually link with State Road 52?

EIGHT BALL: Concentrate and ask again.

ME: Ok. Now?

EIGHT BALL: Yes, definitely.

Pretty much a no-brainer, really. Let’s give the orb a little challenge.

ME: Will our wetlands ever recover from all the pumping of groundwater to Pinellas County?

EIGHT BALL: Without a doubt.

ME: Then will the pumping stop?

EIGHT BALL: My reply is no.

Impressive. Let’s raise the bar again.

ME: Will the Central Pasco Chamber of Commerce, formerly the Land O’Lakes Chamber of Commerce, in an effort to relate to other outlying areas, change its name once again to The All-Purpose-Suburban-Pasco-Pretty-Close-to-Tampa Chamber of Commerce?

EIGHT BALL: Yes.

Never saw that coming.

ME: Is Jimmy Hoffa actually alive and well and living in a retirement home in Zephyrhills?

EIGHT BALL: Without a doubt.

ME: You’re joking?

EIGHT BALL: It is certain.

Great. How reliable can it be if it just plays for laughs?

ME: Will central Pasco become the epitome of reasoned, managed growth?

EIGHT BALL: Yes.

ME: Are you joking again?

EIGHT BALL: Signs point to yes. (Sigh.)

Finally, let’s look ahead at the future of commuting.

ME: Within the next 10 years, will I be able to make it home on Collier Parkway during the rush-hour commute in time for the 11 o’clock news?

EIGHT BALL: Most likely.

ME: Will I have to work at home for that to happen?

EIGHT BALL: It is certain.

ME: Now that U.S. 41 has been widened and work is beginning on State Road 54, can residents who live on Osprey Lane ever look forward to having a nice quiet street that isn’t used as a high-speed shortcut?

EIGHT BALL: You may rely on it.

ME: Will they have to close both ends of Osprey Lane first?

EIGHT BALL: Yes, definitely.

ME: Should I end this column now?

EIGHT BALL: Reply hazy. Try again.