The expectation was always that, as I got older, the world around me would start to make more sense. Like there was some kind of bar graph, and as the one side showed my dwindling (now dwindled) youth, the other—in addition to charting the area occupied by my beer gut—would correlate to my increasing knowledge of life’s inner workings. Needless to say after that setup, but, no fucking dice.
Take 2010, for example. In the last 12 months, we’ve seen the end of the ban on gays in the military and the rise of a goofily-named right-wing fascist organization who made their name playing off racism against our president and cynical assessments of working class intelligence and mob mentality.
The best of times, the worst of times? No, times pretty much sucked.
Unemployment numbers at 10 percent swept under the carpet of “recovery” shouted from the rooftops while our own asshole governor decided we didn’t need easier public transit access to the city, where there might be jobs, let alone access to the jobs that building that access might create. I don’t know if we, the human race, come out of 2010 on the winning end or not, but I guess any year that the robots don’t become sentient, rise up and destroy us is a good one.
Speaking of, did you hear about the robot that learned how to lie? No, this isn’t a joke and there isn’t a punchline coming. They taught a robot how to lie, and the robot lied. When the robots finally do become sentient, rise up and destroy us, I hope 2010 goes down as the year nobody paid attention to the robots lying.
You can almost smell the radioactivity.
The Chilean miners made it back long before the New Year, and that was a definite plus. Better for them to have to deal with mental scars, as they reportedly are, than to starve or suffocate to death. And we found out our state department actually does its job, which, you know, is kind of a win, even if it came via a website started by a freaky albino rapist.
On the other hand, there was that whole “Terror Mosque” thing, which was actually what I thought they should have called that beautiful building they were going to put on the supposedly hallowed ground that’s literally right next to the Pussycat Lounge strip club in lower Manhattan, just because it’s a catchy name and it would rub the constitutional right of religious freedom in the faces of the fanatics who’d take it away. That whole thing was pretty embarrassing, as in, “Gosh, I’m sorry I was born white and Christian,” and all the more so when that cabbie got knifed. Like no one thought all their bullshit hatespeech would have any ramifications.
And Tyler. Poor gay kid who jumped off the bridge because his asshole roommate taped him making out with a dude. What a fucking mess.
Personally, I liked the airline flight attendant, Steven Slater, who told the passengers on his flight to fuck off before swiping beers and inflating the slide from the side of the aircraft and whisking himself away to unemployment. If he hasn’t yet, I hope he gets a deal to write an autobiography. Shit, if George W. Bush can get one, why not Steven Slater? You know that guy has something interesting to say—the flight attendant, not the former president, who was probably right when he said history would judge him in a positive light, though perhaps not the book reviews.
But, you know, as 2010 comes to a close and 2011 opens, it’s not any of this stuff I’m going to be thinking about, or even the massive amounts of oil that spilled onto the shores of the Gulf of Mexico and the (I can’t believe it’s only a) lawsuit the U.S. government recently filed against BP. It’s going to be my friends, my family, my little dog. It’s probably not going to be the fact that I don’t know what the next year could possibly bring, just as I didn’t know what this one would when it started out. If I’m lucky, I’ll remember it’s the same self-absorbedness that holds us back from the understanding that would stop these awful things from happening that also enables us to keep going on through time.