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Kamloops News

THOMPSON: Saying goodbye, or maybe good riddance, to 2020

December 21, 2020 - 12:00 PM



The year 2020 is almost over, just 10 more days. You might feel like breathing a sigh of relief of sorts. After all, this year has been a stinker at best.

We’ve lived through panic buying of toilet paper, avoiding friends and family, wearing masks, suffering idiots who claim they have a right to not wear masks, having Zoom meetings, Zoom weddings and Zoom funerals.

Far from a laughing matter, COVID-19 has killed 1.7 million people worldwide so far this year. We’ve had disastrous fires all over. In California, nine thousand fires destroyed more than four million acres. In Australia, an untold number of fires - some too big to even fight - burned ten times that much land...43 million acres...killing one billion (yes, that’s with a B) animals.

In a survey, half of Canadians said 2020 was the worst year they ever lived...and that was in August. God knows what the percentage would be now...after four more months of more of the same...this time with bad weather. That said, as a Canadian you can still say, “At least I’m not in the United States!”

The U.S. has done the worst job of protecting its citizens...more than 320,000 have died...and a couple thousand or more die each day. Americans have suffered, too, with another 12 months of Donald Trump...not to mention Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham and more Republican Bozos than you can fit in Rudy Giuliani’s clown car.

The only thing missing in the States...maybe a swarm of locusts. Oh, and that happened on the African continent from February through October - where swarms as large as 100 square miles - ate everything in sight.

All that noted, and despite Time Magazine’s proclamation that 2020 is the worst year ever...noting the deaths of prominent people like Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Kobe Bryant and Chadwick Boseman...the aforementioned coronavirus pandemic, nationwide protests for racial justice and the economic downturn...2020 isn’t even close.

You want a year that kicked everyone’s ass? Try 536 AD. No, not even 1349, when half the people in Europe died from Black Death. Now when a year’s worse than that...well, that’s saying something. Also not in the running, 1918...when the so-called Spanish Flu killed somewhere between 50 million and 100 million people worldwide. Still can’t touch 536 AD.

The Spring of that year a volcano in Iceland belched enough ash and gases into the atmosphere that humans inhabiting Europe and Asia didn’t see the sun for 18 months.

It caused temperatures to drop about 2.7 degrees Celsius year round...the next decade was the coldest in 2000 years. Four years later the volcano blew its top again...ditto.

Crops failed and people starved from what is now Ireland to Scandinavia to Europe to Mesopotamia and China. Oh, a few years later the “Justinian” bubonic plague killed 55 percent of the population in the Mediterranean and finished off the eastern Roman Empire.

So, Time Magazine and lots of others who - maybe because we’re living this - think 2020 is the worst year ever. I admit, 2020 has been way the other side of awful. But, I’ll take it over any year before penicillin or when plumbing was the street, or when oil lamps lit the world and - forget the Black Death - when people routinely died from appendicitis or blood poisoning from a bad tooth.

It’s natural...human nature and actually the way our brains function...that the stress we feel in the present somehow seems worse. And, again, this year has been bitch-slap after bitch-slap.

But, truthfully - and it’s difficult to weave humour and pathos into the same column - what happens on Jan. 1, 2021, when the number of people dying daily goes up? When more people die in January than ever? And, again in February? Will Time Magazine repeat its cover...just changing it to 2021?

No, folks, we have to stay the strong. Continue to fight the pandemic the way science has unwaveringly told us to fight it...stay away from people as much as possible, wash your hands and wear a mask. Take the vaccine when it's offered.

And after you get the vaccination...don’t treat it like a Monopoly “Get out of Jail Free” card.

You can still pass along COVID-19 once’ll still have to wear a mask...wash your hands and stay away from most folks...probably well into Summer.

So, try your best to maintain your sanity for the next six months. Help others - yes others - because there’s almost always someone in worse shape. Lean on whatever you believe in...your faith, your family, your inner self...a hope that things will get better. Because here’s a fact...they always do.

Meanwhile, I wish everyone a healthier, happier and more prosperous 2021.

— Don Thompson, an American awaiting Canadian citizenship, lives in Vernon and in Florida. In a career that spans more than 40 years, Don has been a working journalist, a speechwriter and the CEO of an advertising and public relations firm. A passionate and compassionate man, he loves the written word as much as fine dinners with great wines.

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News from © iNFOnews, 2020

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