CXXVI – Good Riddance, 2020!

The time has come to bid (a not-at-all fond) farewell to 2020. This year has been the biggest shit show I’ve seen in all my 48 years. The world has turned upside-down and inside-out in ways no one in previous years could have imagined. People keep talking about 2016 as a horrible year. In future history classes, they’ll learn about 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2021, then 2022. Some kid will ask, “What about 2016 and 2020?” The teacher will simply respond, “We don’t talk about those years,” with a fear and PTSD tremble in their voice.

Kinda like Fight Club, right? The first rule is that we don’t talk about it. We’re all gonna have PTSD flashbacks on this year!

Obviously, the biggest thing in 2020 was this fucking coronavirus. It caused entire states and countries to be locked down. Petroleum prices went negative for the first time ever, and some American cities saw sub-$1 gas for the first time in decades. There were cities in Wisconsin that, if I’m not mistaken, sold gas for 50¢/gallon. I know that where I live, the price dropped to $1.75 at one point. It was really nice to fill my tank for $20 again.

In April of 2020, due to huge decreases in demand, crude oil prices took a huge nosedive to negative numbers for the first time ever. Suppliers were paying their customers to take product off their hands.
The American Midwest saw signs like this in April 2020. In some places, gas was selling for under $1/gallon, which hadn’t been seen in decades.

The first of the year saw nearly the whole of Australia ablaze, killing something like a billion animals. Then, people were stunned by the death of Kobe Bryant, at a mere 41 years old, in a helicopter crash. Then came the ‘Rona. With the lockdowns, business shutdowns and curfews, the Las Vegas Strip became a ghost town. Pictures of a deserted Las Vegas Blvd were posted on social media. Casinos were closed, their doors boarded up. The “light dome” that normally looms over Las Vegas was ominously absent. The Strip was eerily dark and quiet. Restaurants closed for indoor dining. Fast food chains had the luxury of maintaining the drive-thrus open, while other restaurants continued by offering curbside or delivery options. Still others, like the mom-and-pop establishments and buffets, had to close entirely. I spent several weeks without a job, surviving on unemployment benefits.

As illustrated in this map, January 2020 saw a myriad of fires in Australia.
An ominous and eerie sight was the normally-bustling Las Vegas Strip reduced to a veritable ghost town during the height of quarantines and lockdowns in March and April 2020.

As the year progressed, things seemed to calm down, and more places began to open at limited capacities, requiring six feet of space between tables. Until this year, I’d never seen “one-way aisles” at a grocery store. The idea behind this was to get people to only walk one direction in an aisle to avoid people getting close to each other. The funny thing about this? No one abides by it, not even store employees.

To attempt to encourage “social distancing”, grocery stores began designating one-way aisles. Ironically, no one pays attention to it, not even store employees.

Facemasks became ubiquitous in 2020. Some places immediately laid down a mask mandate. Others still haven’t instituted one. Of course, there are the dumbass “anti-maskers”, claiming that mandating face coverings is infringing on their rights, or that they refuse to do anything the government mandates. Unfortunately, these people have been the subject of many a viral video out on the internet. Whether these masks really work is subject to interpretation, as I’ve heard the argument go both ways. But seriously, is it that hard to put on a goddamned mask? I hate them myself. They fog up my glasses. They’re annoying. Many don’t fit quite right. But, you know what? I still wear one. My work requires it, and Utah has a mask mandate now. I don’t understand why there’s a mask mandate if businesses don’t enforce it. You walk into Walmart without a mask, they’re told not to confront the people. I’ve even seen a cop go into a convenience store maskless once. But hey, it’s not my problem. I see people all the time go into one place or another without a mask, and I have yet to see them get kicked out because of it.

Then there was the election. Up to the election, everywhere you looked, you were getting the “register” and “go vote” messages rammed down your throat. It was everywhere; you couldn’t go anywhere on the internet or social media without a barrage of voting garbage. It reminds me of a meme I saw once, but can’t find anymore. It was a cartoon of a guy, labeled “me on social media”, and a bear, labeled “have you registered to vote?” The head of the guy was in the bear’s mouth. Yeah, the voting message was shoved so far down our throats, it felt like the fist was coming out our asses.

For what seemed like an eternity before the election, you couldn’t do hardly anything on the internet without seeing a huge harangue over voting, registering to vote, etc.

Finally, the election came and went. Joe Biden was declared the winner by both popular and electoral votes. Donald Trump, in true-to-form fashion, refused to concede the election, and even into December, still hadn’t conceded. Acting like a petulant child, he has figuratively been stamping his feet and throwing a tantrum because he lost. He filed dozens of lawsuits for recounts. Some were thrown out, others still gave Biden his victories. Trump lost his re-election, and it seems like he does not want to go peacefully. Michael Flynn, one-time Trump security advisor, shared that he thinks Trump should suspend the Constitution, invoke martial law and hold a new election. Now, I honestly would not put it past Trump to want to do such a cockamamie thing, especially if it means he can stay in office longer. Whether or not he legally can is not something I am sure of. I do know, however, that Trump is a narcissist who can’t stay the fuck off his Twitter account, that he can’t spell for shit (what is a covfefe, and what the hell is a hamburder?), and he’s lucky to be able to write a coherent sentence. His demeanor on Twitter is that of a schoolyard bully and way below the dignity of the office of President of the United States.

Oh, let us not forget the “coin shortage”! During the height of the original lockdowns earlier in the year, there suddenly was a shortage of coins available to businesses, and therefore, people were asked—and in some businesses demanded—to pay in exact change or use debit or credit cards. What I don’t get is that there are literally trillions of coins in circulation; the government mints billions of each every year. How in the hell is there a shortage? I don’t think there was ever a shortage. I think this was a practice run for the eventual end of physical paper money, changing over to a cashless, electronic-only economy, whereby every single transaction made by every single person can be tracked. At least with cash, there is a bit of anonymity involved. There’s no electronic evidence of a transaction. With cards or Apple, Samsung, or Google Pay, there’s an electronic trail that leads straight to you. Call me paranoid, but I really feel that is coming in the not-too-distant future. Perhaps as early as this coming year, 2021. It would be very easy for the government to demand everyone take all their cash to the bank to deposit into their accounts, as cash will no longer be accepted at any business.

For a time in summer 2020, signs like this were at every business. Cash was discouraged and cards celebrated due to a supposed coin shortage.
Many people, including myself, believe that the so-called coin shortage was just a practice run for the eventual complete elimination of cash. The government cannot track cash transactions, but they can see every electronic purchase everyone makes.🕵️

People, especially those who are religious, speculate about the “end times” before Christ’s return, how in Revelation it mentions the “mark of the beast” whereby if you don’t have it you can’t buy or sell anything. Many think there’s going to be a microchip implanted in your skin. I’ve said, in jest, that it could be a facemask. Another possibility that I’m not sure has been contemplated is one that most people already have in their wallets. Whenever you get a debit or credit card, those cards have RFID chips in them. Maybe this is the chip people are thinking of, but mistaking for the implanted one? I mean, if society is cashless, you would not be able to buy anything without your RFID-laden debit/credit cards. Honestly, no one knows for sure what this Bible is talking about, so take everything you hear with a grain of salt.

I think it’s safe to say that everyone is happy this year is almost at its end. No one knows how next year will play out, but we can only hope it’s a damn far better year than this one was. As we enter 2021, I notice the century is now old enough to drink. After the dumpster-fire, shit-show this year has been, god only knows it’s gonna need a good stiff belt🤣.

My wish for the new year is that somehow, by some miracle, this whole coronavirus bullshit can go away, or at least lighten up so that people can get back to work and make the economy stronger again. Also, it’d be nice to get back to restaurants operating at full capacity and without the need for face masks everywhere we go (although, sometimes the mask is nice to hide or facial expressions). We need to be able to return to having our concerts, movies and other entertainment venues back up and running. People are going nuts without being able to have any kind of fun or diversion. Okay, the extroverts are bouncing off the walls wanting to be social and feed off others’ energy. We introverts are just living the life we always have; we’re just not getting judged for it🤭.

May the year 2021 be a positive one for you, joyous, prosperous, peaceful and successful. However you decide to celebrate and ring in 2021, do so responsibly. Also remember to be safe and be well.

One thought on “CXXVI – Good Riddance, 2020!

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