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around for another idea that we could use to follow America's favorite Stone Age family. The obvious solution was to create America's first Space Age family. (One of my mottoes is “Why avoid the obvious?” It’s a question I encourage all aspiring young cartoonists to ask themselves every day.) And so, we invented The Jetsons.. Although similar in their concepts, the two shows had opposite approaches to humor. Where the Flintstones showed us how the foibles of modern society had roots in the Paleolithic period, the Jetsons warned us that things could get even worse for us in the future -- or at least that they wouldn't get much better! Fred's backbreaking job of smashing rocks at Slate's gravel pit reminded us that our own occupations weren't all that bad. And George Jetson's complaints about getting sore fingers from pushing buttons seemed funny, considering how much easier he had it compared to those of us stuck in the 20th century! This year, as The Jetsons are about to turn 34 years old, some of the show's predictions about life in the future bear reexamination. We are living in the future right now (from a 1962 standpoint) and it does look a little familiar. Technology has created jobs undreamed of in 1962. (George's job at Spacely's Space Age Sprockets is "digital index operator." Don't tell me that doesn't sound like a 90's job title!)
Today, computers are in every business and in many homes. And while they don't make our lives quite as easy as they do for the Jetsons, they do cause some interesting futuristic problems. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome has become a major malady among 9-to-5 keyboardists. (George was ahead of his time even with his health problems!) Robots like Rosie don't yet act as our maids, but robots build our cars and make increasing inroads in our daily lives. The Jetsons magical food preparation device, the Food-a-Raca-Cycle, has almost come true in this age of microwavable instant meals. And picture phones do exist today, even though they are not quite ready for the mass market yet. (Will they ever get that right over at AT&T?) Maybe we haven’t started walking the family dog on treadmills, but how many people work out on treadmills in the gym or in their own homes? Sadly those jet-powered flying machines that people in the 21st century use to get around town in have not yet materialized. (We're still waiting. Make mine a red convertible.) And we don't yet live in mile-high bubble domes like in Orbit City. (Not a bad idea though, considering the flood, fire and smog problems we've been having in L.A.) But much of the Jetsons world is with us already. Which is not to say that the original Jetsons episodes don't still make for entertaining viewing. In their future world, there is no depleted ozone layer, no disappearing rain forests, and no radioactive waste disposal problems. You know, escaping into the world of The Jetsons seems like a better idea than ever.