2020 wasn’t all bad … maybe

Published 10:30 am Thursday, December 31, 2020

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Ok, let’s get the obvious out of the way. 2020 was the year of COVID-19, also known as corona (minus the lime), the plague, the super crud, or, as my dad calls it (and most other contagious illnesses), “the rooty-gootus.” But what else happened in 2020?

Well, in addition to the global pandemic, China became the international Amazon.com of unwanted express deliveries. Remember the Asian murder hornets? I’m still plugging up my nostrils and ear canals when I sleep. And what about the Chinese mystery seeds? The harvest from those should be reaching your local farmers market and Walmart produce aisle soon. And then there were the double hurricanes, Laura and Marco, like some kind of WWE wrestling co-ed tag team from hell. (I’m not sure we can blame China for that one, but there will undoubtedly be an expensive and time-consuming congressional investigation to find out for sure.)

And speaking of the government and professional wrestling, the nation witnessed a presidential steel-cage death match featuring two elderly politicians who tried to outdo one another with their criminally awkward dancing, cringey verbal gaffes and toddleresque insults. At least we were assured that no matter who won, the vast majority of Americans could claim to be “cooler” than the president.

But enough of petty concerns like presidential elections and deadly invasive insects. Let’s get to the good stuff, and I don’t mean “Tiger King.”

My eldest and most expensive daughter became a high school senior in 2020, which, despite the limitations imposed by COVID-19 protocol, has required the purchase of enough formal gowns and party dresses (sometimes for a single photo) to supply an entire season of Dancing with the Stars. At least next year should be less expensive when she goes to college. Oh, wait…

My middle daughter has maintained her yearly tradition of elevating my stress level to DEFCON 1 by spending most of 2020 with her current boyfriend. He’s a nice kid, and I know it’s a natural process for young people her age to date, but I can’t help sometimes wishing that she would decide to enter a convent — at least temporarily — even though we aren’t Catholic.

My youngest daughter started junior high this year. Junior high can be tough on kids, especially late developers like me who still played with action figures and took a while to learn exactly where to spray the deodorant. I’m happy to say that my daughter didn’t inherit the nerd gene, and has done well socially and academically. And although she’s convinced that math was invented by radical academic terrorists, she still thinks boys are stupid. I call that a win!

I guess my most memorable accomplishment in 2020, other than not driving my saintly wife of thirty years to the point of poisoning my tea with hand sanitizer or smothering me with a 10-pack of hygienic face masks, was learning to cook homemade shrimp fettuccine alfredo during quarantine. Now, I realize that this is no big deal to some folks, but to a dude who sometimes has trouble with microwave popcorn, it’s huge. In fact, if I could meet the original Alfredo, I’d thank him, give him a hearty fist bump, and suggest that he talk to his doctor about Lipitor.

Regardless of how your year has been, we can all anticipate a 2021 with hope for effective vaccines, a recovering economy, and enough peace of mind to finally use our massive stockpiles of toilet paper. Most of all, we can be happy that we’re now looking at 2020 in the rearview mirror — even though it’s probably tailgating us, dressed like Joe Exotic and considering an act of road rage involving murder hornets.

Jase Graves is an award-winning humor columnist from East Texas. Contact him at susanjase@sbcglobal.net.