t was the philosopher Oliver Hardy of the comedy duo known as Laurel & Hardy who once said, “This is another fine mess you’ve gotten us into.” And boy, he sure could’ve been talking about the year 2020.
After having a couple of days off last week, I traveled to Denver where it was 95 degrees and due to COVID-19 restrictions, basically spent the entire time in a hotel room with the air conditioner turned down to 68 degrees. That’s 18 hours of driving and at one point between the potholes of Topeka and the Flint Hills, I started playing back everything that 2020 has thrown at us. I-70 has a way of making you search your deepest thoughts.
The list is actually kind of comical if you look at it in its totality. In addition to the daily stream out of Washington DC, which is its own daily comedy, you look at all of the things that have happened and it’s just silly.
When murder hornets have been pushed off of the front page (they’re in the US now, by the way) and aren’t even making your Top 10 list, you know it’s been a crazy year.
2020 has brought us the pandemic, sure. But it’s also brought us this nutty militant position of infringing on personal freedoms. Like, the freedom for you to not get me sick. It’s launched these folks who aren’t gonna wear a mask, by gawd, and yet still want to prance through the Walmart like it’s Black Friday. It’s brought us all of the civil unrest around the Black Lives Matter and police brutality issues. The epicenter being, naturally, Portland, Oregon for some reason.
If that wasn’t enough, we’ve got sports canceled, then back, then back without fans, but then back with those creepy fan cutouts, or Zoom fans if you’re the NBA. We learned about a “pandemic bubble,” and how baseball players, no matter what you tell them, are still going to sneak out and hit the club every once in a while.
If you didn’t already sense that 2020 was off the rails, suddenly a warehouse full of explosive materials that’s been sitting there for seven years decides to up and blow up, basically destroying an entire city. Let’s not diminish the terrible loss of life here, but my goodness, who thought of storing 2,500 tons of exploding chemicals in the same warehouse as a fireworks factory and right next to a grain storage elevator. That’s just some prime time planning right there.
We’ve almost become numb to the mounting numbers. 160,000 dead from Coronavirus. 20-30% unemployment. Bills and rent costs mounting for millions of Americans. Hard to believe even that falls into the white noise that becomes our “new normal.”
The only thing that’s providing some level of optimism is that Americans have been through times like this before. Look at the Great Depression. Or the Civil War or civil rights movements. Or World War II. Americans have been through some crap. Bread lines. Police harassment. Jacking around with voting. Americans have seen it before and somehow the Union still stands.
And that was some major league garbage they had to go through – not trying to pick up your Coke Zero on sale without wearing a mask and yelling at someone about personal freedoms.
We can do this, America. We just gotta start realizing that we are living in the true Twilight Zone, but that we will prevail. Just… wear a mask.
(Get more commentary about messes and such by following Chris Kamler on Twitter, where you’ll find him as @TheFakeNed. You’ll also find him on Landmark Live and on Snapchat, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook and wherever quality journalism is sold)