Happy new year, everyone. Twenty-twenty was a wild ride, wasn’t it?
In fact, I decided to dedicate this journal entry to handing out my
very own made-up 2020 awards to all people and characters that made
this year memorable for me. This was kind of a last minute idea -
I’ve only been scrolling through 2020’s journal entries for about an
hour, and I need to start writing. No offense, but when midnight
rolls around I’d rather be having champagne outside by the fire
instead of at my computer writing. So without further ado, let’s hand
out some accolades.
The biggest chumps of the year - the people that made a terrible 2020
even worse. Buckle up.
To the drag racers on East Wash. These toolbags cruising East
Washington in their crappy modded Honda Civics showed dedication
that you can’t help but admire. It didn’t matter if it was a
weeknight, if it was dinner time, if the city was burning with riots
or if a pandemic was rife in our community. These knuckleheads were
there through it all, revving their engines as they flew by our
dining room window.
To the oven repair guy we hired earlier this year. Dealing with the
stress of grocery shortages and a new baby in the house, I can’t
express to you how uplifting it was to pay you a hundred dollars
just to lecture me about how I stripped the screws around the
igniter and how I had too many pans stacked in my warming drawer.
You didn’t fix anything, you didn’t schedule a follow up
appointment, and my wife had to watch a YouTube video to install the
new ignitor you had mailed to our house without warning, but without
your biting commentary on how dirty my stove top was, I don’t know
how I would have gotten on with this year.
To Blippi. You were silent for most of the year. You kept us
guessing, and for a time I thought you were cooking up something
very informative and encouraging for all the kids stuck in their
homes this year. But you surpassed my expectations when you broke
your YouTube silence just to publish a video where you showed kids
how to operate dangerous power tools in your buddy’s garage. Thanks
for the important lessons, Blippi.
To Marissa. You are the love of my life. You astound me with your
beauty, skill, and grace on a daily basis. You are a wonderful
mother and a brave companion. But you operate our coffee maker like
an ape. I still occasionally wake up in a cold sweat thinking of
the gruesome scene you left in our dining room that one morning you
decided to brew coffee, and for that, you are one of the chumps
of 2020. Please never make coffee for me again.
To John Krasinski. Remember when you decided to launch an adorable
web show to make us feel better during quarantine only to take it
off the air while you sold Some Good News to a TV network? And
now we find out that you’re not even going to be the host? Jim
Face - you’re a chump!
To that weenie on ebay who scolded me over direct message for not
including a picture of the item I was selling. You were right - I
listed it again a second time, and it sold immediately, but what
kind of person just cruises around ebay looking for poorly
documented listings to shame? A chump, that’s who.
To Hy-Vee’s software engineering department. Your website is so
cruel and poorly designed, it makes me wonder if it was done on
purpose. The way it logs you out automatically every five minutes.
The way the dropdown menus stutter so you click the wrong item. The
way the search is so unbearably slow that my browser assumes the
page isn’t responding. Not only will I never use a website to order
groceries again, but I’m contemplating never touching a computer
again after quarantine..
Brave (or Stupid)
The bravest people I came across in 2020. So Brave, you have to
question whether or not it’s just stupidity.
That nerd who knocked on my door during dinner time to canvass for
PBS. I don’t feel bad calling you a nerd because you immediately
started berating me for claiming to like Mr. Rodgers without
financially supporting his broadcasting station. I tried to
intimidate you, then brush you off saying that I would “donate over
the phone later”, and you accused me of lying. I was lying, and
for that you get the bravery award.
Nurse Kenzie of Meriter hospital. You were the nurse who told
Marissa that because of an obscure requirement for iron levels that
Marissa would not receive an epidural during childbirth. For her
professionalism and for remaining in the room without knowing what
damage Marissa is capable of, you get the bravery award, Kenzie.
Our saltwater shrimp. All three of them. There was Stephane I,
Stephane II, and Bruno. They say you can’t make an omelette without
breaking a few eggs, and that could be true of new hobbies and
cleaner shrimp as well.
The medical assistant that checked me into an exam room when I
nearly sliced my finger off a few days ago. As I sat bewildered
clutching a wet mess of bloody paper towels in my lap, he asked me
to step on the scale, and even commented on how far off my actual
weight was from my medical chart. “Makes sense… holidays…” he
said to himself. Brave, I’ll give him that. Maybe if I hadn’t lost
so much blood already, those would have been fighting words.
To the lucky ones.
Zoom. Not Skype, not Google Hangouts. It had to be a company that
practically nobody had ever heard of. Have you ever stopped to
appreciate even how terrible there name is? Zoom sounds like a
placeholder word. And if not for a global pandemic, they would
still be just a terrible name.
Our friends from Dublin, Rafael and Miguel. Looking back at my
entries, they managed to squeeze in a visit to America in March just
before things got real. They drank wine with us, tried deep dish
pizza for the first time, and got out a-dodge before COVID was even
a household name. For that, you two are probably 2020’s luckiest
To Paw Patrol. Rodney was done with you. You were on the way out.
There was a glorious three months where Rodney had moved on to
better and more exciting shows. But a well placed add on Nick Jr’s
website pulled us right back in. You’ve respun the whole Paw Patrol
universe all over again with “mighty pups” and for all I know we
have a whole new Paw Patrol desert to cross.
To anyone who didn’t get to see Hamilton live. I count us lucky.
Of all the things we missed this year, at least we didn’t have to
pay $300 to learn that Hamilton was just OK.
Still bad, but not as bad.
To Baby Miles. You had a rough start. I feel like we had to pick
up a lot of slack for you in your first few months on earth. It
didn’t seem like you were a fan of sleeping, sitting, or just
generally existing. But you really turned things around this fall
and now I barely even notice you. Speaking of which, where is
To Rodney, specifically for you great poop work this year. I spent
so much time this year trying to convince you that your poop wasn’t
angry at your or your poop didn’t belong in your feet that I thought
there was no hope.
To the Chicago Bears, going from being an unstoppable 5-1
juggernaut, to a hopeless six game losing streak, to turning it
around just in time to give me feeble hope for the playoffs.
Someone on twitter said “only the Chicago Bears could experience
three completely different football seasons in one year”, and I’ll
leave it at that.
To Krang, my sourdough starter. I’m sorry for the months I left you
malnourished in the drafty corner of our house. I really didn’t
know what I was doing, but my goodness did you stick with me. It’s
amazing what living organisms can do when you, you know, feed them
and care for them correctly.
MVPs. My heros. The people that made this year a little less crummy.
To Portillo’s. My rock. My saving grace. You shone your heavenly
light on the dark wasteland that is East Madison fast food, and for
that I am eternally grateful.
To the coffee shop on Willie Street. I’m sorry that I got
distracted and accidentally left Ziggy’s steamy bagged hot dog poop
on your window sill. Thank you for not pursuing me down the street.
To the Madison quarry. Thank you for your stewardship over the big
hole in the ground and letting us chuck our dirt and bricks into it.
I don’t know how I could have gotten through quarantine without that
occasional cathartic release.
To Chef John, and all the other YouTube chefs I follow. Thanks for
coming alongside focus-challenged millenials like me and showing us
the things we should have already learned from books and from our
To Joe Exotic. And while we’re at it, wild documentaries like My
Octopus Teacher and The Last Dance. I may have never gotten to
leave my house this year, but there were a few documentaries that at
least mentally transported me somewhere else for a while.
Lastly, my friends, my family, and my readers. This one is
sincere - thank you for spending this year with me in words.
Here’s to our last day of 2020. Happy new year, my friends. See you