The Future

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The Future[1]
The Other Side
Original Broadcast Date
Debi Mae West, Larry Block, Henry Dennis, Kelly Kidneigh, Jack Kornfield, Joe Frank
Karma Style, 57 minutes
Preceded by: Don't Know Mind
Followed by: Margarita

"We were in this little town called Milford, Pennsylvania."

The Future is a program Joe Frank produced as part of the series The Other Side. It was originally broadcast on July 7, 2001.


Debi recounts Dan & Suzanne's wedding in Milford, Pennsylvania, in the forest, near a waterfall, on the ranch of Dan's cousin and his wife. They don't let anyone in the house so the ceremony's all outside. Debi and her friends (she mentions Stephen Rappaport (an accordionist), Kelly Kidneigh, Paul Walfish (sp?)) put on a show at The Waterwheel the night before.[1]

2:20: Larry tells Joe Zachary doesn't want to go school anymore; he says nobody's talking to him.

3:10: Debi says the day of the wedding is pouring rain. Suzanne wants her wedding in the forest so they stick to the plan, get wet. They have a rabbi and a huppah. (Suzanne is Jewish; Dan isn't.)

10:20: Larry tells Joe Zachary's behavior troubles him, recounts examples, fears for him.

12:40: Debi tells Joe about Dan & Suzanne's vows. Debi and Stephen sing 'Her love is stronger than I am'[2] She describes the motorized porta-potties.

16:00: We hear Larry yelling at Zachary. He wants a razor to shave his head. They fight.

17:30: Debi tells Joe, apropos of the wedding, that a wet knot is tighter. She tells the story of the man who helped a butterfly out of its cocoon.

21:00: Larry yells at Zachary and they fight some more over using the phone.

22:40: Debi tells Joe that Suzanne used to hate the rain, loves it now. Guests play in the rain during the reception.

24:20: Joe tells Larry that he can't stop Zachary from doing stuff of which he disapproves. Zachary's going to Las Vegas.

25:00: Debi tells Joe she can't imagine having a better wedding. Joe imagines some outlandish possibilities (on a live volcano, sinking ship, in a tornado…)

26:20: Jack Kornfield expatiates on the first Noble Truth: life is suffering. ('Did you never see in the world a man, or a woman, eighty, ninety, or a hundred years old, frail, crooked as a gable roof, bent down, resting on crutches, with tottering steps, infirm, youth long since fled, with broken teeth, grey and scanty hair, or bald-headed, wrinkled, with blotched limbs?') He quotes Basho's haiku 'Even in Kyoto' ('Even in Kyoto - hearing the cuckoo's cry - I long for Kyoto.') He calls our culture one of pain management instead of acceptance. He quotes Adrienne Rich:[3]

 'The problem, unstated till now, is how
  to live in a damaged body
  in a world where pain is meant to be gagged
  uncured       un-grieved-over      The problem is
  to connect, without hysteria, the pain
  of any one's body with the pain of the body's world'

30:20: Kornfield expatiates on the second Noble Truth: the cause of suffering is grasping.

35:20: Henry Dennis tells Joe about a neighbor couple. They drink too much; their toy shop went out of business; Dennis suspects it was mismanagement. The man becomes obsessed with Dennis, stalks him; Dennis suspects he's interested in him sexually. Dennis threatens him with a spear gun, which finally drives him off.[4]

43:10: Debi recounts a dream: in a store a woman asks her why she pushes her cuticles back, starts to pull off a layer of one of her fingernails, then gives her a manicure while they're walking around. They're attracted to each other, kiss, she has an orgasm; her boyfriend wakes up, gets aroused by this, they have sex. Joe asks why she had this dream. Debi suggests a beautiful woman was dancing too closely with Malcolm, later suggested a foursome with her husband to Malcolm. But she wasn't the woman in the dream.

47:40: Joe asks Debi about the implication of this couple propositioning them at a wedding.

48:10: Larry tells Joe he's going to say 'cunt' every 4 or 5 words so Joe can't record it. He tells Joe about Joyce Carol Oates's appearance on educational TV. She says our heroes are our parents. Larry thinks this is stupid.

50:50: Kornfield expatiates on the Third Noble Truth: finding peace in the moment.

52:20: Kornfield expatiates on the Fourth Noble Truth: that Nirvana is available at any moment.

53:10: Debi and Kelly Kidneigh leave a voice-mail message for Joe describing after the wedding. Kelly wants Joe to call.

Legacy Synopsis
  • Debi Mae West - she describes singing at an outdoor wedding in a rainy forest. Helping a butterfly escape from its cocoon. Worry that she won't be able to top this wedding. Joe suggests arranging weddings at the edge of disasters.
  • Larry - Zak behaves impulsively and Larry is furious. Spitting on the floor, urinating on the toilet seat. Zak wants to shave his head. He takes Larry's cell phone. Joe suggests he may modify his body when he's out of view.
  • Kornfield - realizing we are subject to decay.
  • Henri - He is befriended by an alcoholic mixed race couple. The man views him as a son, talks about the yellowing of the races and the future. The man begins following him, harassing him, accusing him of being homosexual. He eventually confronts the man with a spear gun.
  • Debi - A dream about a lesbian manicurist.
  • Larry - Cursing continually to avoid being recorded. Joyce Carol Oates says "our heroes are our parents."
  • Kornfield - a path without grasping
  • Debi - an answering machine message after the wedding. Other people describe the wedding.


Additional credits

From the broadcast, 'You've been listening to Joe Frank "The other side". This program was called "The Future" with Debi Mae West, Larry Block, Henry Dennis, Kelly Kidneigh, Buddhist teacher Jack Kornfield, and Joe Frank - production: Ray Guarna, production assistance: Esmé Gregson'


  1. Debi goes to a Halloween party with Dan & Suzanne in Silent Sea; she mentions their upcoming wedding in Emptiness; she mentions talking to her friend Suzanne in The Box.
  2. I can't find this. It sounds like a power pop ballad.
  3. excerpt 18 from 'Contradictions: Tracking Poems'.
  4. This story happens on St Thomas, Virgin Islands: the wife of the couple used to work at the old Knut Hansen Hospital, which used to be on St Thomas. The US Navy had a submarine base on St Thomas until 1950. There's a Frenchtown there. It has a medical school, why Dennis is studying there. Dennis has a spear gun. In the next episode, 'Margarita', Dennis's story begins on St Thomas, VI; he works at a club named 'Frenchman's Reef'.