It’s the year 2050, and Estonia is one of the 5 richest countries in Europe
- posted in: columns
“A time capsule is a box full of things from the past, Pr11t. Someone from our school buried this box here in the year 2011. Isn’t that exciting, class? We’ll be seeing artifacts from the past today!”
Õpetaja Johnson’s young class shrieked in excitement as the school’s android groundskeeper dug furiously through the frozen dirt. Õpetaja Johnson shivered and struggled to remember the last time the temperature had dipped below 25C in January. She questioned whether this whole concept of global warming had any real science behind it.
Clink! Õpetaja Johnson’s class stood upright when they heard the sound of a shovel hitting metal. The android groundskeeper pulled a large metal barrel out of the hole and set it on the ground. The wording on the side of the barrel had already captivated the class: Saku.
“But Õpetaja, isn’t Saku the company that makes poison?” asked M2rja.
Õpetaja Johnson was similarly confused by the sight of the barrel. “I suppose they used to make something else,” she replied as she removed the barrel’s lid. The class let out a sigh of intrigue as Õpetaja Johnson removed the first relic from the past and held it up.
“This, class, is called a Newspaper.” The children in the class tried to mouth the word – noo-spay—per. “It’s pretty much just what it sounds like: before news feeds were transmitted directly into our brains by News Corp., we used to actually have to read them from these things. That was back when we still had paper, of course.”
“Õpetaja, what language is that Nuze-pepper written in?”
“Great question, Kar3l. This newspaper is called the Postimees, and it’s written in a language called Estonian. We used to speak Estonian in Estonia before English became the official language.” The class’ eyes lit up: many of their older-live-together-couple-who-aren’t-together-officially-but-sometimes-come-home-late-on-Friday-nights-together-and-make-strange-noises-in-the-bedroom-roommates had told them of this Estonian language before, and the idea aroused their curiosity.
Mart1n couldn’t contain his fascination: “Why did we stop speaking Estonian, Õpetaja?”
“Well, Mart1n, many years ago, when a foreigner ordered something from a cashier or a waitress in Estonian, just to be an asshole, the cashier would respond in English. They would do this even if the foreigner ordered in pitch-perfect Estonian.” The children were captivated. “This became so widespread that cashiers started responding in English even when the customer was Estonian. Soon enough, the customers were ordering in English just to avoid giving cashiers the satisfaction of being rude. And after years of talking to each other in English, Estonians simply forgot that they had their own language.”
Mart1n was confused. “But Õpetaja, why would a cashier want to be rude to a customer like that?” Õpetaja Johnson chuckled. “I have no idea, Mart1n, but it sounds obnoxious. Let’s see what else is in the time capsule.”
Õpetaja Johnson pulled a ten-Euro bill out of the barrel.
“This is interesting, class. This is called a Euro. This used to be the common currency across Europe before Facebook Credits. At about the same time Estonia started using the Euro, our Prime Minister announced that we would one day be among the 5 richest countries in Europe – which happened in the year 2018.”
“How did Estonia become so rich, Õpetaja?”
Õpetaja Johnson pulled an old tourist map out of the barrel. “This is how. Do you see this map, children? It’s the Tallinn Old Town. In about the year 2011, a company called RyanAir started flying into Tallinn from all over what was then known as the United Kingdom. That’s how the English-speakers originally came here. And although some went home after visiting, many stayed here, working in our hostels and pubs for very little money. Soon enough, so many of them had moved to Estonia to work our undesirable jobs that they had established a massive underclass of near-slaves. This cheap labor led to explosive growth in the Estonian economy.”
“Did the English-speakers learn Estonian, Õpetaja?” asked Ra1n O’Malley. Knowing that Ra1n’s male older-live-together-couple-who-aren’t-together-officially-but-sometimes-come-home-late-on-Friday-nights-together-and-make-strange-noises-in-the-bedroom-roommates was of Irish heritage, Õpetaja Johnson chose her words carefully.
“Well, Ra1n, some scientists determined that the English-speakers from the United Kingdom weren’t actually human beings like you and me: they were a link that was previously considered missing between apes and humans. It’s how the theory of evolution was proved in 2038. But the English-speakers were capable of learning some words. For instance, the English-speakers were able to learn the word õlu, which they otherwise would have called beer. See?”
Õpetaja Johnson produced a drinks menu from the barrel, listing a wide variety of beers on both tap and in bottles.
“This is a menu from an old English-speakers’ pub. You can see how simple-minded they were. The name of this pub was Drink Baar!”
The students laughed heartily at the idiocy of the name but quickly became panicked: the German-sounding word, Beer, resurrected memories of World War 3. Mar1s began to cry.
“Don’t cry, Mar1s. World War 3 was tame compared to the previous two World Wars, since those took place in the real world and not in cyberspace. In fact, people died in the first two World Wars; in World War 3, our cable channels were merely replaced with Scheisse Porn.”
The children returned to a state of calm.
“What kinds of companies did Estonians start once the English-speakers were serving our beers and changing our hostel sheets, Õpetaja?”
“At first it was mostly clones of Groupon,” Õpetaja Johnson responded. “But in 2024 an Estonian company created a virtual reality augmented-consciousness device that allowed people to go their whole lives without ever interacting directly with another human being. Can you imagine, kids: years ago, when Estonians went to the supermarket, the only way they could avoid communicating with each other was by wearing headphones! But now we never truly see or hear one another; it’s all a virtual experience.”
T@nel, always inquisitive, removed his augmented-consciousness goggles to experience reality firsthand. He looked around; the children surrounding him were all hideous abominations, short and paunchy, and Õpetaja Johnson’s teeth shot in every direction. Clearly a side-effect of the English-speakers entering the gene pool. He quickly replaced his goggles and let out a sigh of relief.
“This augmented-consciousness device became so popular that governments all over the world – all six of them — purchased it for their citizens so that voting in elections could be done through thought ballots.”
“How did people vote before augmented-consciousness, Õpetaja?” asked Jon@s.
Õpetaja Johnson removed a small, black device from the barrel. “Through cellular telephones!”
The children erupted into laughter. “How old fashioned!,” cackled K@r3l as he submitted his math homework by blinking twice.
A bell rang in the distance. “Ok, children, history class is over. It’s time for physical education. Everyone take out your shake weight!” The children produced shake weights from their backpacks and commenced with their workout. @ndrus leaned over and whispered to Jasp3r: “I heard that, before augmented reality and physio-sensual experience emulation, people thought using a shake weight was sexually suggestive.” The pair giggled and continued vigorously jerking their shake weights back and forth.
NB! Tickets for Stand-up Comedy with Louis and Eric are still available through Wednesday.