Youths see a promising future |

Youths see a promising future

Looking to the future from the brink of a new century, Tucker Heaton likes what he sees.

“I think it’s gonna hold some peace man,” the 10-year-old from La Caada, Calif. said. “I think Clinton’s gonna be out of there, and we’ll have a good president. And people will give up fighting, because they’ve been doing it since the cowboys and Indians.”

Drawing from their own life experiences and fanciful imaginations, Heaton and other youngsters – who with a little luck and a few advances in medicine are likely to see a good deal of the 21st century – shared vivid visions and dreams of the future on the eve of the year 2000.

And while many youths polled in downtown Aspen yesterday prophesied a Jetsonian world, complete with robots, super-high-powered computers and space ships capable of whisking them to Mars on weekends, others envisioned something less spectacular.

“We’re all gonna be controlled by computers,” said Lawrence Poh, 12, of Basalt. “Probably we’ll still be driving on the roads in the near future, but computers will control the cars.”

Poh’s 9-year-old younger brother, Aaron, who wants to be a scientist, said, “I’m excited and I’m also scared of the next millennium, and I have no clue why – just wondering what will happen I guess.”

Eleven-year-old Paul Wooten, of Kansas, City, Kan., sees the future as a chance for humanity to improve itself – to right the wrongs of the world.

“It’s another chance to do things better,” he said. “Some of the wars we’ve had this millennium have been stupid; maybe we can get beyond that now. We made a lot of mistakes, maybe be can learn from them.”

Thirteen-year-old Aspenite Peter Robinson hopes “they invent something, where they’d zap you, and then you’d just know stuff.” His friend, Jon Shiffrin, 13, of Denver, thinks the future “is going to be the same. But it’d be cool if they came up with a brilliantly fast computer that could do anything – answer any questions you asked it.”

Freestyle skier R.J. Jensen, 12, of Aspen, would someday like to “to ski on hover skis.

“But we’re kind of trashing the world,” he added, “and I’d like to see that change.”

Fellow freestyler Andrew Wickes, 12, of Aspen, took issue with Jensen’s hover skis. “I hope it doesn’t get too too high-tech,” he said, “say with hover skis or something. Then it won’t take any technique, and it will lose all of its challenge and excitement, and we’d all be lazy.”

Tucker Heaton’s younger brother, 9-year-old Riley, said “the world is going to filled with people in funky clothes” in the future, before deferring to his shorts-clad elder sibling.

“Another thing,” Tucker Heaton said, “the colleges are gonna start growing some better football players, so the countries can get involved in football wars. And, maybe, Aspen Mountain will grow to like snowboarders.”

Tucker, who wants to be a Major League baseball player, sees himself as the “next Chipper Jones.

“People can now have the goal to be the guy of the century,” he reasoned, “because we’re starting over.”

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