Do you know what I discovered this week? Another year is approaching and it’s time for me to skedaddle (isn’t that a fun word on the tongue?)—at least for a while. My editor is in the South of France, and I promised her I would have my third book completed by the time she returns (only eight more chapters to go—hallelujah!), or she can rightfully hand me my head on a platter. Therefore, I will be stepping back from the blogosphere for a season (except to post a goodbye letter to the Obamas) to finish off my “How the Hell Did I End Up Here?” trilogy and get it to the publisher in February (launch date: March 2017). In the meantime, I thought I’d post what I imagined a conversation between former years at a New Year’s Eve party would read like. I have a feeling 2016 will have a lot to say as it exits, and that 2017 will be in a state of shock at the daunting task ahead because—hang onto your hats, Bubbies—2017 is going to be a bumpy ride!
(Scene opens on a standing room only party at the home of Father Time. Every year has shown up since the dawn of time, except for those ten years that I call the lost decade in my own life, and don’t nobody have time to hear about them.)
1914: Hey 2017, how’s it hangin’? You ready for your debut? I hear you’re in for some adventures. Although it couldn’t possibly be worse than my year—the start of WWI.
1939: Of course it could, 1914. I was worse than you. Anytime you kick off a world war which culminates in the attempted annihilation of a people group, you win the prize for “worst year ever!” And why are you asking 2017 questions? You know he can’t talk yet, nor does he have anything to say. Check in with him at the end of next year. He’ll be able to give you an earful. In case you haven’t noticed, every year has its own place in history—some worse than others—and every year, many people hope and pray the current year will end quickly.
1619-1865: Hello! Can I get a witness here? How about slavery in these here United States of America? Our span of years go down as some nasty-ass shit.
2015: Personally, I’m avoiding 2016 because apparently, he opened the door to Death too many times this year, and Captain Death took the souls of more than 150 celebrities. Yikes! Even took a daughter and her mother within one day of each other. Now that’s cold. You know how people, especially Americans, feel about their celebrities—their “royalty.” The country is packing 2016’s bags for him to get him going, gone, and out as fast as they can before he allows Death to snatch Betty White into Glory. The majority of Americans are talking about how much they hate 2016—the year racism, sexism, xenophobia, misogyny, and stupidity were born again. I sure wouldn’t want to be the year that killed off Princess Leia and elected Donald Trump—I’ll tell you that.
2016: I heard that! Are you all talking behind my back? I have no control over Death—you of all people know that, 1939.
1998: No, you don’t have any control over Death, however, it is still your responsibility to try and keep him contained the best you can. If given his way, Death would kill off every living creature on the planet. That’s just his MO. Speaking of responsibility, how in the hell did you allow a much coveted Christmas toy (the Hatchimals) to not do the thing they were supposed to do to entertain little kids—hatch on Christmas day? Do you know how much this Christmas toy insanity cost? I heard that two sets of seven Hatchimals (14 toys total) were selling for $20,000 on the Black Market. Don’t know if it’s true or not (those stories could have been fake news), but parents were camping outside of stores, driving across state lines, taking out second mortgages, and paying whatever was necessary to get these toys for their kids. But now the big scandal is that some of the toys are not hatching no matter how much you tap and rub them. You are so screwed, 2016! All the children in Aleppo can be buried alive by Russian and Syrian bombs, and Americans will hardly blink an eye, but let their kids’ toys fail to perform on Christmas day, and they will cut a bitch.
4BC: Eiyie-yiee-yi! What’s all this stupidity about a toy? All I remember the Christ child getting for his birthday was gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Remember him? Whose birthday are we celebrating on Christmas anyway? Hope came to a fucked up world. Can we all say amen?
1998: 4BC, you ain’t even heard the best yet: the hatchimals that did hatch allegedly swear. While they are sleeping, they allegedly say: “Fuck me . . .” which would be apropos considering the type of world they are hatching into. (Personally, I think they’re saying: “Hug me,” but then who’s to know since I’m never going to pay that kind of money just to prove a point for a foolish toy that will be forgotten about in two months or so.)
2016: All you years act like you’re all that and a bag of chips. There has never been a year in history that was totally fantastic—ever.
2013: Me, me, me, me! I was. You can read about it in Think Progress. The writer, Zack Beauchamp says that by the time my year came to a close, people lived longer, fewer suffered from extreme poverty, war was rarer and less deadly than years before, violent crime was in freefall, and there was less racism, sexism, and other forms of discrimination in the world as was proven by the two-term election of our first Black president (I added that last part). Although he did have a caveat: we needed to build on that momentum in the years following me or we could slip backwards.
1924: And then along came Trump . . . Looks like Mr. Beauchamp is going to have to rewrite his assessment, because 2017 is going to be something else. Ever since I gave the world Stalin, I’ve been keeping an eye on Russia. Imagine my surprise to see the budding bromance of Trump and Putin. Nothing good can come of this—mark my words. Putin is a nasty son-of-a-bitch. A chip off the old Stalin block. What a scandal, 2016!
2016: Once again, not my fault. I was given a year to “carry” history—not create it or mess with it. I don’t have any power. The power is all in the hands of the humans who exist within my timeframe.
1945: 2016 is correct. We are nothing but conduits. I was given the burden of having the atomic bomb dropped during my reign. Try bearing the burden of that through all these years.
2016: At least that put an end to the war. It gave 1946 a chance to have a different history.
1946: You are such an idiot. Do you have any idea how horrific recovery was for the entire planet after WWII? And now on 2016’s watch nativism, nationalism, racism, sexism, and every other kind of “ism” are expanding all over the world (it’s déjà vu all over again) which is cultivating the fertile soil for WWIII. Enjoy your short-lived fame 2013 as being the year mayhem, chaos, and murder decreased because America now has a leader who thinks everyone should have nuclear weapons and he’s going to make sure we get our share during his reign of 2017 and counting. 2017—you poor schmuck. My heart goes out to you.
2017: ERUGH-A-SCREM-HEP-ME JESSS, HEP ME!
2016: What’s he saying? I don’t understand a word of what he’s screaming. Do you?
1939: You know he doesn’t have a voice yet. A year doesn’t get its voice until he’s about to hand over the baton to the next year. He’s screaming in baby-talk: “HELP ME, JESUS, HELP, HELP ME, JESUS!”
ELEANOR’S SELAH ABOUT 2017 (“AHA” MOMENT)
I am discovering that I can either fear the future or look forward to it. Even though I suspect 2017 is going to be a rough year all over the world, I have decided to look forward to the future because of our children. UNICEF estimates that 353,000 babies are born each day around the world. If they can survive, they really are our future. Somewhere among the booger-eating urchins who just entered the third grade, the pooping and farting toddlers born several years ago, and the clueless newborns of 2016 living in squalor, there are future presidents, kings and queens, scientists, teachers, doctors, mathematicians, writers, poets, actors, activists, conservationists, and religious leaders who will course-correct the ship (the future of our planet) that has been so badly steered off-course by the adults of our world in 2016. Trump, Assad, Putin, ISIS, Alt-right, White supremacists, misguided religious leaders, and all the rest have one thing in common when it comes to their existence: their time is limited and a new year is dawning with a new generation of hope.
HAPPY NEW YEAR! See you in a couple months with the announcement of the launch of my third book! Wish me luck!
INSPIRATIONAL QUOTES ABOUT THE FUTURE
“Infuse your life with action. Don’t wait for it to happen. Make it happen. Make your own future. Make your own hope. Make your own love. And whatever your beliefs, honor your creator, not by passively waiting for grace to come down from upon high, but by doing what you can to make grace happen… yourself, right now, right down here on Earth.”—Bradley Whitford
“Fear keeps us focused on the past or worried about the future. If we can acknowledge our fear, we can realize that right now we are okay. Right now, today, we are still alive, and our bodies are working marvelously. Our eyes can still see the beautiful sky. Our ears can still hear the voices of our loved ones.”—Thich Nhat Hanh
“Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.”—John F. Kennedy
“Only mothers can think of the future—because they give birth to it in their children.”—Maxim Gorky
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