WITH ORWELLIAN 1984 safely behind us, we can afford to look ahead. And when it comes to that, the past is full of advice:
"If you do not think about the future, you cannot have one" -- author John Galsworthy, circa 1928.
Or, "The Past is like a funeral gone by -- the Future comes like an unwelcome guest" -- poet Edmund Gosse (around 1900).
Or, if you're in the mood for something more optimistic, "Time is on my side" -- Mick Jagger, 1964.
But we thought we'd be a bit more contemporary. So, to greet 1985, we've gathered a few glimpses, guesses and wishes from some of the more unpredictable notables. Although they were willing to Windex their crystal balls, our seers disclaimed any oracular accuracy:
Joan Cushing, comedian aka "Mrs. Foggybottom," predicts that "Elizabeth Taylor-Hilton-Wilding-Fisher-Burton-Burton-Warner-almost-Luna-possibly-Stein will not be. Also -- Frank Perdue will run for political office. My wish -- that he wins. "
Art Buchwald, nationally syndicated humorist: "I predict Elizabeth Taylor is going to get married again. And my wish is that the marriage will last."
Edward Cornish, president of the Washington-based World Future Society and editor of The Futurist magazine: "People will recognize the computer, and its associated electronic technologies will make possible an upgrading of the quality of education to people throughout the country. Computers will become recognized as a tool as important as a book.
"My wish is that people would recognize the importance of solving problems before they become catastrophes. Start thinking about the future -- it's created by human decision and actions, not by destiny."
Miss Manners (Judith Martin): "Everybody will run around saying that manners are coming back, by which they mean only that they are tired of being treated rudely but that they wish to reserve the right to be even ruder back. As for my wish, I would hope that people would conclude that if they would each stop being rude themselves they would solve the problem. Sadly, that may be too much to expect."
Bebe Gribble, 13-year-old Washington entertainment dynamo: "I predict that breakdancing won't last. I also predict that all predictions won't come true. And I wish that the unemployed will find work (starting with me)!"
Jim Morris, "Rent-a-Reagan" impersonator (who also does a mean Walter Mondale): "Jeanne Kirkpatrick will reluctantly accept a new domestic position in the Reagan White House -- but she insists she will not do windows. And I personally would like to see Barbara Bush's copy of the "Rhyming Dictionary and Insult Manual."
Sally Struthers (starring with Rita Moreno in Neil Simon's remodeled "The Odd Couple," opening at the National Theater January 22): "Jeanne Dixon will make many predictions in 1985. My wish? That she wouldn't."
Martin Landau, starring in "Dracula" at the Kennedy Center: "I'd like to see a concerted effort on the part of our government to establish an airlift to feed, with our surplus wheat and food, Ethiopians and other people starving throughout the world. I predict that nothing so sensible as the above will be accomplished due to the politics involved."
Bob Edwards, host of National Public Radio's "Morning Edition," has the prediction: "1,742 people will announce their candidacy for presidency of the United States." And Susan Stamberg, host of NPR's "All Things Considered," provides the wish: "That the media would pay no attention to any one of them."
Mikhail Baryshnikov, artistic director, American Ballet Theater: "My prediction is that no one will ask me this question next year. My wish is that my prediction will come true."
Amanda McKerrow, Rockville native and American Ballet Theater member, predicts "an upswing in the popularity of ballet," naturally. And her wish is "to be happy in my life and keep improving in the work that I do."
Roger L. Stevens, Kennedy Center chairman and theatrical producer, sees "the condition of the American theater improving, because it couldn't get much worse! Some new stars and writers are bound to appear." As for a wish: "I'd like to see (director) Peter Sellars have the success he deserves with all his new ideas and productions for the new national theater company."
Patrick Dempsey, young actor starring in "Brighton Beach Memoirs" at the National Theater, foresees that "breakdance movies will be shut out of the 1985 Academy Awards by a Chuck Norris karate movie." His fondest wish for next year -- "to star opposite Chuck Norris in the first karate/breakdance movie 'Boogaloo on Your Head,' directed by Francis Ford Coppola."
The Farmer's Almanac: "The winter as a whole is expected to be milder than normal . . . with below-normal snowfall and precipitation despite some wet and snowy months."
Jeffrey Cohen, owner of Sutton Place Gourmet: "I predict a trend toward healthier, finer food. People will be more willing to treat themselves better and to experiment more with unfamiliar things. I wish people would stop shopping at supermarkets."
Wendy Ezrailson, co-owner and buyer at Georgetown's Commander Salamander boutique: "I think western wear is going to be very big in 1985. And what I'd like to see is everyone wearing hair extensions -- mine is platinum with a bunch of other colors mixed in."
Arch Campbell, WRC-TV critic and funnyman: "Clara Peller, Michael Jackson and Bob's Big Boy will absolutely disappear in 1985."
Zelda Fichandler, founding director of Arena Stage: "Despite all evidence to the contrary, the new year will take place. And my wish is that 1985 will deliver more than it promises."
Neil Simon, playwright ("Brighton Beach Memoirs" and "The Odd Couple," among others): "I hate making predictions. But I will predict that the Giants will win the Superbowl." Simon's wish for the future: "That 1984 will not return."