You May Already Be a Winner of the Future, by Luke Burns

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“The president and his team have been focused on a single message since the State of the Union, even repeating his new catch phrase — ‘winning the future’ — repeatedly at every event.” – The Times

Those of us on the president’s team have been getting a lot of questions lately about what we mean when we say that we are focused on winning the future. People want to know: What do we get for winning the future? Does the competition for the future have rules? How exactly does one “win the future,” anyway? You see, it’s tricky because there are a lot of different ways to answer these questions.

Let me put it this way: Every year, we are all nominated to win the future. To be sure, it’s an honor just to be nominated, but there can be only one winner of the future. There is no “first runner-up” of the future; the winner of the future keeps the future whether or not he or she fulfills the duties that come with the position of winner of the future. Although in a sense we’re all winners of the future, just for participating.

Also, you win the future with skill, not luck. You can’t win the future in a raffle. The future doesn’t come in the bottom of a cereal box. No one is going to show up at your house with an oversized novelty check for the future. If you’re online, you should not click on any banners that say, “You’re the one millionth visitor to our website!!! You’ve won a free future!!” And if someone contacts you via e-mail with an offer for some discount future, it’s probably just sketchy knock-off future from Mexico. There’s no purchase necessary to win the future, but I heard that if you mail in fifty proof-of-purchase labels, you’ll receive some future in three to six weeks. (Some conditions may apply, future not applicable in Alaska and Hawaii.)

Uh… Where was I? Okay, on second thought, maybe winning the future is actually more like winning a game of Monopoly: We have to get Park Place and Boardwalk before the Chinese. It’s not The Game of Life™, although it is the game of life. Or it’s like Risk — except that you can’t topple over the board because you’ve been playing for hours and nobody’s even close to winning the future and it’s getting boring.

If board games aren’t your thing, then maybe it’s better to say that we’re all running in a race to win the future. It’s a race to the top, a marathon whose starting line was on the bridge to the 21st century, and we have to make sure that no child is left behind. However, each child should know that, while we won’t leave them behind, if they get too cranky we will turn this country around and go straight back to the past.

Although we are going to have to go back to the past anyway, and this is where the president’s plan gets complicated. We need to win the future in order to invent a time machine so we can go back in time and prevent other time travelers from winning the future — which at that point will be the past. We must win the future so we can travel to the past to win the past that was our future. Actually, wait, the whole time travel thing might just be a metaphor. That would make a lot more sense.

Okay, forget everything I just said. The main thing to understand is that if we want to win the future we need to outperform, out-invent, and out-outsmart the rest of the world. We need to talk the talk, walk the walk, and accomplish the accomplishments. We have to seize the day and cross our ‘t’s. We must climb the highest mountain and catch every pokémon. Once we’ve hit the home runs, cleaned our plates, and finally gotten around to reading War and Peace, then, and only then, will we have won the future. I hope that clears things up. Now get out there and win the future!

You can contact Luke Burns to shower him with praise and offer him high-paying jobs, or to heap scorn and vitriol upon him. Luke’s work has also appeared on McSweeney’s Internet Tendency.

The Humor Section features a piece of original humor writing each week. To submit to it, send an email to Becca O’Neal.