As we ring in the New Year and everyone is committing to life changes that they are unlikely to see to completion, I’ve drafted the below takeaways from 2016. I am not foolish enough to put my own 2017 self-improvement goals that I will ultimately forget about by May in writing, but I am happy to make random observations in retrospect of 2016:
- Donald Trump’s election victory transcended my perceived reality.
Nothing is ever certain, no matter how much faith you have in your fellow citizens to recognize the abundant and frightening warning signs of the disastrous characteristics of someone so clearly unfit to lead. I was absolutely sure (to a fault) that (what I considered) the worst outcome would not happen. I spent the majority of 2016 minimizing the possibility of a Trump victory in my mind, and in conversations with my peers. This only makes the acceptance of defeat even more challenging. Many people I love and respect voted for someone whom I considered a complete joke. However, I am certainly not laughing now. With each day that passes bringing us closer to the inevitable transition, I find myself experiencing a sort of surreal denial of reality – Donald Trump is going to be the next president of the United States. Yikes. I take weird self-deprecating comfort in hoping that my expectations of his presidency are just as off-base as my expectations of the election results.
- 2016 was a year of unlikely sports victories.
Aside from the aforementioned shocking political victory, we had a handful of unlikely sports victories in 2016. The Cubs finally ended their championship drought in historic fashion. Any baseball fan with the exception of White Sox, Cardinals and Brewers fans would agree – it was super cool to see them finally win one. The Cleveland Cavaliers also won their first ever championship in 2016 after 46 years in the NBA. And while it may not compare exactly to the 108-year drought that the Cubs ended, it was fun to see them snap their 46-year streak and see LeBron James finally deliver on the promise he made years ago (especially considering how historically great the Warriors were). It’s unlikely victories like these that give me hope for my New York Jets, but I have to draw hope from somewhere, and it certainly doesn’t come from the teams we’ve fielded during my lifetime. If the Cubs can snap a 108-year drought, the Jets can snap their 49-year drought, right? …Right?
- I’m getting old.
Throughout 2016, there were several internet fads, memes etc. that I simply did not understand. I can only fear that I don’t see the entertainment value in these internet phenomena because I’ve now passed the threshold of “with it” to “crotchety older person.” I’ll list a few:
- Damn Daniel and his Vans:
I have trouble comprehending how we’ve reached a point where I feel the need to address Daniel and his Vans. For whatever reason, the world fell in love with damn Daniel and proceeded to plaster that video all throughout the internets. I admittedly came across them while watching an “Ellen” clip (yes, I will periodically watch Ellen if I come across a clip – she is downright delightful). Ellen was interviewing damn Daniel and his friend. These kids had gone from making a series of silly Snapchats to booking a spot on a broadcast television show. I mean, respect to Daniel and his pal, but I am just perplexed by how this is possible.
- Michael Jordan crying:
This one kinda grosses me out for some reason. I’ve admittedly been worn down by the over usage of this meme in group chats. I didn’t understand it at first, but now I’ll laugh at one here and there. I’m pretty sure it’s from sheer exposure, though.
There have been some great wars fought throughout the history of humankind: the Trojan War, the Mongol Conquests, World War II…to name a few. This year the internet fought itself in a war over Harambe. Then proceeded to satirize it relentlessly.
- Evil Kermit:
This one does make me chuckle from time to time, but who was the first person to see the opportunity to transform Kermit into a Sith lord and what is wrong with him/her? How do people think of this stuff? Perhaps this could be an argument against the “Originality Trap.”
- Damn Daniel and his Vans:
Yeah. 2016. Weird year.
– James Mann