Do we want another time capsule, or are they outdated?

Todd Dorman
Published: June 14 2012 | 8:36 am - Updated: 31 March 2014 | 8:26 pm in
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Cedar Rapids City Council member Chuck Swore is looking for some timeless ideas.

He told the council Tuesday that the community has about a month to decide if there should be a new time capsule placed in the cornerstone of the newly built/refurbished downtown arena and convention complex, and what should go into it.

There already is a time capsule from when the U.S. Cellular Center originally opened as the Five Seasons Center. But Swore wonders what Cedar Rapidians of 2012 might add. “I’d be open to any type of suggestions,” he said.

I like time capsules. That impulse to send a message to the future.

But I also wonder whether time capsules are now obsolete. It’s possible that technology has made the time capsule unnecessary and hopelessly quaint, like high school reunions, phone books or the notion of not being annoyed every 12 seconds. In a digitized world, where I’ve read that, in 12 months’ time, we’re taking 10 percent of all the photos ever shot, and where you could save a fair chunk of mankind’s creative output on a flash drive the size of your thumb, should we be burying boxes of dusty bric-a-brac? We could just send the future a text, reflecting the true essence of our zeitgeist.

“Hey, we haven’t met you. We’re pushing daisies. But here’s our number. So call us maybe.”

Still, I’m nostalgic enough to pack one last capsule, for current time’s sake. And who knows, some massive global online war might wipe out everything. Posterity’s survival may depend on us.

It’s also a chance for long-term conflict resolution. We should include all the proud pronouncements by city leaders on the convention complex’s potential, accompanied by all the online comments predicting its boondoggle-ness. In 50 or 100 years, that could make for some interesting reading. Toss in some stuff about how the 2008 flood was a fluke, and how global warming is a hoax. Oh, and how downtown is dead. Who is right? Only the future knows.

You could include Gov. Terry Branstad’s executive order banning the use of project labor agreements on the complex. And I bet he’ll still be governor when the capsule is opened.

I’d include a bottle of Cedar Ridge bourbon, a box of Crunch Berries cereal and probably a big jug of sugary soda. The way things are going, pop may be illegal by then.

We could put in some newspapers, to prove news was once printed on a thing called paper. We should explain the five seasons, again. And if only we could bottle up the five smells.

Maybe you have ideas. I’d love to hear them.

 

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