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Correcting Your Behavior Since 2017

Is It Over Yet?

I’m generally not a fan of end-of-the-year wrap-ups. Much like those grating holiday “newsletters” from distant relations in which they update us en masse on their impossibly dull "adventures,” attempts to scoop an entire twelve months into some sort of reflective, late-December closure have always struck me as forced and annoying. It’s the kind of idea that’s likely to be far more charming to the writer than to the reader.

This year, the idea of summarizing has a good deal less allure than ever. On the one hand, there’s not much to talk about, because very little happened at all. Most of us have barely left our homes since March. What have we done? Gone to the grocery store, taken out the trash, and watched more or less everything that was on television. So much for fond reminiscence. On the other hand, that which was noteworthy was overwhelmingly awful. Who’d want to stroll down that memory lane?

Since I’m a staunch advocate for proper behavior, I will say this: As years go, 2020 has behaved deplorably. Never before have I encountered such an ill-mannered visitor. It was rude, disrespectful, inconsiderate, and boorish. It insulted the very people who’d invited it in. It dominated the conversation rather than letting others talk. It threw tantrums, got us sick, lost us our jobs, and kicked us while we were down, heaping troubles upon the already troubled. 2020 has been the bully who punches kids with their own fists and demands “Why are you hitting yourself?”

2020 left the screen door open and let the murder hornets in.

This unrepentant troublemaker of a year has started rumors and spread gossip, deliberately trying to stir up trouble and destroy relationships. And it ruined everyone’s fun as well; it ruined movies, dining out, theatre, sporting events, even political campaigns. It spoiled weddings and kept kids from hanging out together. Thanks a lot, 2020. This is precisely why people don’t like you.

2020 has also committed the social faux pas of overstaying its welcome. All the other guests have gone. We’ve been dropping obvious hints: yawning, drifting toward the door . . . we’ve even changed into our pajamas and turned out the lights; 2020 hasn’t gotten the message. We wanted it gone months ago. Now, it’s feeling like this unwanted guest will never leave. And even when it finally does . . . we’ll all be too exhausted to celebrate its overdue departure.

Besides, it’s left behind a hellishly foul odor and a mess so mountainous that it’ll take forever to clean.

I’d love to say that 2021 couldn’t be worse. But after this year, that would just be asking for trouble.


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