A group of bicycle cops make their way west on East Randolph Street on Tuesday… (William Deshazer, Chicago…)
"CRASH!" "BOOM!" "THUNK!"
Those sounds are more of the buildings in Chicago's majestic skyline being turned into kindling.
Friends, I write this dispatch from the future. It's June 1, 2012, about 2 weeks after the NATO summit. Everything has changed, and not for the better.
We were wrong about that NATO stuff, though. The super-excessive precautionary measures we took? They were a bigger flop than "Waterworld," Y2K, and Chicago's 2016 Olympic hopes combined.
Nothing happened. Seriously. There were unnecessarily-live-tweeted protests and aggressive, Photoshopped posters, but other than a cop having to slap some handcuffs on a kid who "just wanted to burn it all down, man," absolutely John F. Nothing took place.
That was the problem. See, we built up so much fear and passion that something had to release the tension.
That something ... was a Chicago insult on the May 17 episode of "30 Rock."
It all started when secondary character Dot Com said, and I quote, "Fatties who like being cold and eating tamales? What is this, Chicago?" sparked a firestorm of passive-aggressive internet commentary, the likes of which have never been seen.
Angry op-eds and tweets devolved into street demonstrations. People were PISSED, yo.
Then Mayor Emanuel got into the act on May 19, tossing a casual aside: "Jeez, what the f%^# is up with these ^%#$? Act like they've never had a ^#%#% tamale."
It led to pure anarchy.
The Weiner Circle? Burnt to the ground. Logan Square dance club/sex dungeon Bonnie's? Decimated. (Strangely enough, they left the Goat.)
The tide finally turned on May 21, when the National Guard was called in to disperse the crowd. People were content to leave well enough alone and we all thought the hubbub would subside.
But then, just when things settled down, it was announced that a controversial ending to Sunday's Cubs/Sox Crosstown Classic series finale (all I'll say is, it made that Pistons/Pacers brawl look like the end of "Grease") would lead to a postseason ban for both teams for the next 20 years.
People frigging lost it, things started blowing up, and now here we are.
Honestly, by now, we don't really know why we were protesting. There was talk of banks and governments being crappy, but then we got distracted.
I leave you with this: Know why people are getting mad about this stuff. For the love of God, do some research. Be kind to each other.
(Also, you may be wondering how I managed to not only master time travel, but figured out how to place a column into a pre-printed paper. The answer to that is ... uh ... Michael Bay. Yep, that's it.)
erwilkins@Tribune.com | @ernestwilkins