A lot has already been said about 2016, most of it unflattering. Icons of our youth (presuming you to be roughly the same age as I) were lost, seemingly en masse. And actually, it doesn’t matter if you are around my age or not. The year 2016 spared no generation when it comes to people moving on from this plane to their next adventure. But I’m here to tell you one thing, and this is super important:
2016 was actually no different from any prior year, nor will it be different from any ensuing year. It only seems like we lost more than our fair share because there are many more avenues for people to become famous in this era, not to mention stay relevant. Plus, word seems to travel faster than ever before, rightly or wrongly. And, to be be completely honest, there were some huge names lost. I’m not trying to downplay that. I’m just trying to put things in perspective so that we can all move forward. Together.
However, 2016 was not necessarily known for its togetherness. Brexit kind of set the tone, and the United States followed in grand fashion, not to be outdone. In America, suddenly hate and prejudice are fashionable again, knee-jerk reactions stronger than ever, and the phrase “love thy neighbor” comes with many caveats.
But it is not that bad, everyone. We are our own worst enemy, but we are also stronger on the whole than we give ourselves credit for. It is as trite as it is true.
So, without further alienating any group of readers, let me get on with this in the same way I have been doing these recaps for over a decade. Keep in mind that these are my lists, and not in anyway meant to encapsulate the general populace, though there may be some overlap while doing so. And I’m going to start with the bad.
Death is everywhere
There are flies on the windscreen
For a start
We could be torn apart
Moments to Forget: Personally, this was a pretty good year. So this is going to be a very short list. Sure, I would have liked for work to have been more consistently busy this year (especially the last half), but the company is still up and running, and it is allowing Peggy and I to continue to work from home and not get a “real” job. For now. But at the top of this list is the election. All of it. It was cocky, repulsive, vindictive, shallow, and disheartening. And, before I start hearing from people vested in one candidate or the other, I’m talking about both sides. It was a low point for this country, for sure. And if you don’t agree, then you surely have not seen Idiocracy. Also on the list, the Rangers getting swept by the hated Blue Jays in the ALDS.
Moments to Remember: My first baseball Opening Day in forever (wrote about that here). A simple happy birthday message that grew into something far, far more than I would have ever imagined. Good news on the health front from the family. A bucket list band crossed off the list. (More on that later.) Getting a tan again, first time in years. Putting miles and miles on the Jeep for good reason. The Rhode Island trip with the siblings to finally put mom to rest in her forever home. (I wrote about that in 8 installments. I won’t link them all here, but here is the first entry.) Going to a Rough Riders game with some good P1s and meeting Grubes. Many Rangers games, and many new bobbleheads. Treating my family, including my Aunt Donna and Uncle Rick in town from Rhode Island, to a Rangers vs. Yankees game in the “all you can eat” seats on Nomar Mazara’s 21st birthday. Rangers with the best record in the AL, the Cowboys riding the rookies Dak and Zeke to a 13-2 record as of this writing. Rougned Odor vs. Jose Bautista. That will never get old. Brother Day (written about in two parts – here and here) that extended over into Thanksgiving. Frankie MacDonald following me on Twitter.
Concerts: This was a pretty good year for concerts. I finally crossed The Cure off of my bucket list after seeing them twice – first in Austin, then in Dallas. (Not to mention I fell in love with “A Night Like This” and that affair still remains.) Saw the Violent Femmes at Stubb’s in Austin with Jen and Barrett. Saw Bob Schneider at the Nutty Brown Cafe in Dripping Springs before they raze the place to make room for a Central Market. Great place, too. Pretty sad that it is moving to Round Rock. Totally missed out on seeing Echo & the Bunnymen late in the year because I lost track of the date, but I have seen them before so it was not a huge loss.
You Will Be Missed: Not an all inclusive list, just mine. Davie Bowie. Prince. Alan Rickman. Glen Frey. Abe Vigoda. Harpet Lee. George Kennedy. George Martin. Rob Ford. Ken Howard. Garry Shandling. Merle Haggard. Dorris Roberts. Chyna. Guy Clark. Muhammad Ali. Gordie Howe. Garry Marshall. Kenny Baker. Gene Wilder. Arnold Palmer. Shimon Peres. Leonard Cohen. Leon Russell. Florence Henderson. John Glenn. Alan Thicke. George Michael. Carrie Fisher. Debbie Reynolds. Jose Fernandez. John Barfield. And late edition William Christopher.
In closing, I’m reminded of something my friend Cliff said not too long ago about this past year in an email to all his friends and I’m hoping he won’t mind if I share it here today:
“We said goodbye to a lot of people and I think it’s time we started saying hello.”
The simple truth is that my year changed for the better – exponentially – because I wished someone a happy birthday. Seriously. That happened.
Eleven months or so before Cliff sent out those simple yet eloquent words, I basically said “hello” and it changed my entire year.
You know, you can do the same in 2017. It’s your turn.
Come here (touch me)
Kiss me (touch me)
Now (touch me)
– Depeche Mode, “Fly on the Windscreen”