Over Easy: 2019 wasn’t always pretty

  • Dan Mackie (Courtesy photograph)

For the Valley News
Published: 12/27/2019 6:03:49 PM
Modified: 12/27/2019 10:25:16 PM
By DAN MACKIE

The year 2019 has just about bit the dust, so it’s as good a time as any to take stock. A New Year’s baby filled with hope and cheer is now a superannuated soul who shakes a fist at every annoyance — from neighborhood kids to feckless voters to cable prices to cell signals to shrinking glaciers to North Korean missiles to Tunbridge potholes.

Before we move on, let’s take a moment to review 2019. It wasn’t always pretty.

Politics

In 2019, politics was a battle royale in which combatants screamed like pro wrestlers as they tossed each other from the ring. And that was just the religious leaders! Then there’s Congress and the White House. Select committees are even now investigating everything from the infamous Ukraine phone call to the presidential Arbor Day declaration. Subpoenas in the impeachment inquiry were answered by the White House with Pig Latin insults and stink bombs. For the first time, someone rang the White House doorbell and left a flaming (and poopy) bag of contempt citations — a desecration the likes of which haven’t been seen since the British torched the place in 1812.

Art

A banana duct-taped to the wall sold for $120,000 in December at Art Basel in Miami Beach, setting an impossible standard for millions of guys who employ duct tape for assorted ugly repairs. None of their handiwork has been worth much at all. “Honey, it’s not taping a banana to a wall that’s worth $120,000,” one husband explained. “It’s knowing enough art theory to tape a banana to a wall that makes it worth $120,000. That’s the magic of art school.”

Sports

The Red Sox stunk. Their payroll was about $240 million. “Do you know how many rolls of duct tape and crates of bananas that could have bought us?” beleaguered fans said. The Patriots and Tom Brady won the Super Bowl in between commercial breaks during the televised championship in February. As the year drew to a close, the man they call TB12 was 42, and sometimes looked it. Brady is so middle-aged he mutters “oof” with each throw and tells dad jokes in the huddle, bewildering his younger teammates and causing some team disunity. Late in the year it was revealed that he wears a Mister Rogers sweater underneath his uniform.

In other sports action, baseballs were hit, basketballs shot, soccer balls kicked, punches thrown, laps swum, shuttlecocks smashed and so forth. And bribes were paid to ensure well-off students were “recruited” to elite schools’ teams. Although federal courts frowned on this, the International Olympic Committee is considering making it a trial sport in the Tokyo 2020 games. Events could include the Parental Bribe, the Government Team Bribe, the Freestyle Bribe and the Bribe-athlon. The Chinese team will be favored, but don’t overlook the Saudis. Never overlook the Saudis.

Upper Valley

The Upper Valley made it through 2019 mostly unchanged. There is still no Target in West Lebanon or Oscar de la Renta in Hanover. The population was up a bit in some towns and down a bit in others. Said Oldmann Carr, a leading Upper Valley population expert, “With our aging demographic, it’s going to take more than some wine and romantic music to change the fertility rate around here.”

Listservs

Activity on Upper Valley listservs varied widely in local communities in 2019. As time has passed, the discussion has trended away from divisive politics — except in Norwich, where the Norman Rockwell setting belies a burning inner rage about speed bumps and crosswalks.

Always trending on the listservs are new forms of yoga: hot yoga, cold yoga, dozing yoga, beer yoga, red hot chili pepper yoga, yoga-on-a-stick, keto yoga and coming soon: the Amazing Yoga-Matic. The device was developed from one of the lost patents of Ron Popeil and the K-Tel marketing machine that once dominated TV infomercials.

“The Amazing Yoga-Matic will have you standing on your head in no time,” say advance marketing materials provided to potential franchise owners. And if viewers “order in the next five minutes,” they will also receive, entirely free, the Nirvana-rama, which uses brain science and K-waves to bring forth bliss.

But wait, there’s more! There’s always more. In all manner of things. That’s the beauty of singing out the old year and welcoming in the new at midnight. Hope, like knotweed, springs eternal.

Unfortunately, surveys show that fewer and fewer Upper Valley residents actually stay up for the big moment. In 2019, a clear majority of local residents were snug in their beds by 10. Who knows what they will miss this New Year’s Eve?

OK Boomers, someone younger can fill you in on the first bright, unsullied morning of 2020.

Dan Mackie lives in West Lebanon. He can be reached at dan.mackie@yahoo.com.




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