Not your average trip around the sun
Over the years I’ve written several year-in-review columns the last week in December, and I had planned to do something different this year … but then 2016 happened. This has been a hell of a year for the world, the country and, more importantly, for me.
I’ve seen some pretty eventful and tumultuous years come and go over my brief 59-year ride on this planet. I remember 1969 was a wild and eventful year; Richard Nixon became President, the Beatles officially broke up, Mel Brooks won an Oscar, Apollo 11’s Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the moon and, even more unlikely, the NY Jets won the Super bowl and the NY Mets won the World Series (both beating teams from Baltimore). I was only 12 at the time but even I knew it was a year for the ages…the Mets winning the World Series, what could be crazier than that?
Now 2016 has happened and I’m not sure how to feel about it. It’s been a year of amazing world events, tragic loss, indescribable happiness and just plain weird and bizarre happenings and that’s just in my family. The rest of the world had a pretty crazy year as well, a year that easily ranks up there with 1969 as one I think most of us will remember.
In 2016 athletes from the US dominated the Summer Olympic games winning more 120 medals, almost doubling the count from our closest competitor. I know I’ll never forget the drama and excitement of watching the athleticism of the world’s best Ping-Pong players and archery teams laying it all on the line for their countries. Riveting stuff!
It seems like the planet itself has been in a state of unrest throughout 2016, there have been almost 120 separate earthquakes with a magnitude of at least 6.0 so far this year! To quote Jerry Lee Lewis (and I so rarely get a chance to quote Jerry Lee Lewis), “There’s a whole lot of shakin’ going on!” From earthquakes in Oklahoma to snow in the Sahara, this hasn’t been your average trip around the sun for Mother Earth.
No discussion of 2016 would be complete without talking about the long and growing list of notable people who passed away this year. Where do I begin? We lost Alan Rickman, who famously played Hans Gruber in Die Hard (my favorite Christmas movie), the dad from Growing Pains Alan Thicke and the mom from the Brady Bunch Florence Henderson, Ron Glass and Abe Vigoda from Barney Miller; it was a rough year for actors.
Musicians didn’t fare much better losing such names as Merle Haggard, Prince (and with him the artist formerly known as Prince…I guess), Davis Bowie, Maurice White and Leonard Cohen. No matter what kind of music you like, chances are that 2016 claimed one of your favorites.
Former First Lady Nancy Reagan, Justice Antonin Scalia and Nobel Prize winner Shimon Peres all passed this year. In sports they overuse the term “The Greatest” but this year we lost Gordie Howe, Arnold Palmer and Mohammad Ali, three men who were truly the greatest of their time.
Sadly we lost John Glenn, my childhood hero and a great American. I could go on and on; I’ll miss Gene Wilder, Joe Garagiola, Harper Lee, George Kennedy and Garry Marshall a lot more than I will miss 2016. The world just seems a bit smaller and less impressive to me now.
On a lighter note the remake of The Magnificent Seven came out in 2016, any year that produces a decent western can’t be all bad. We can’t forget that the Cubs won the World Series for the first time in over a hundred years… … take that 1969!
Oh, and we had an unusual election this year and we elected Donald j Trump to be our next president. Trump will go down in history as the first human ever to be a member of the professional wrestling hall of fame and the leader of the free world! Not even 1969 can compete with that!
As I look back on the craziness that has been 2016 I can’t help but think of the words Glenn Frey (another music great to pass away this year) sang so many years ago, “Lighten up while you still can, don’t even try to understand. Just find a place to make your stand and take it easy.”
Happy New Year!! I can’t wait to see what happens next!
Rick Seley is an award-winning humor columnist. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.