You know the saying: if it was a fish, I’d throw it back in. Well, 2017 is history, and what a stinker it was.
Truthfully, it wasn’t a total loss. Unemployment is down, the stock market is up, and gas prices are low. Prince Harry got engaged. The total eclipse was better than advertised, and I saw it up close in Spring City, Tennessee.
In baseball, the American League’s Most Valuable Player was Jose Altuve of the Houston Astros. Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees finished second. Altuve is generously listed as 5’6”. Judge is more than a foot taller. This gives hope to every “regular guy” who has dreamed of athletic greatness.
We got better at catching criminals in 2017. I’m surprised the word hasn’t gotten around to thieves, but those tiny surveillance cameras are everywhere. Every night on the news, I’m able to show some creep breaking into a home. The next night, I get to show his mugshot!
2017 was another good year for medical breakthroughs. I have several friends who are surviving illnesses and diseases for which there was little hope, not that long ago.
That pretty much concludes your 2017 highlight film. This year is not leaving with its head held high. I have tried to forget a lot of it, but the stench still lingers.
In the entertainment world, the Academy Awards had one job, and failed miserably. They couldn’t even present the Best Picture award to the actual winner. When we did attend a movie, there were cheers for Wonder Woman, but they were outnumbered by tears for Princess Leia.
There were more goodbyes. Adam “Batman” West and Roger “007” Moore proved that superheroes and secret agents don’t last forever. Jim Nabors joined his pals in Mayberry heaven, leaving Opie as the last man standing. We lost Don Rickles, Glen Campbell, Mary Tyler Moore, Rose Marie, Jerry Lewis, Gregg Allman, and David Cassidy. We said goodbye to rock n’ roll founding fathers Chuck Berry and Fats Domino. All those great entertainers had been battling illness and advancing age. However, Tom Petty left us just days after playing a series of triumphant concerts. That one really hurt.
It was not a good year for once rock-solid businesses. The Ringling Brothers Circus folded its tent for the last time. Sears, K-Mart, and Radio Shack left more empty buildings behind. Equifax violated our privacy, and United Airlines discovered it might not be a good idea to drag a paying customer out of a plane.
It was the year Matt Lauer, Kevin Spacey, Bill O’Reilly, Al Franken, Charlie Rose and many other respected names disappeared from our TV sets, and the halls of Congress. Meanwhile, O.J. Simpson is back on the streets.
In 2017, we began worrying about our safety while in a house of worship. We learned to live in fear when attending outdoor music shows, or riding on a bicycle path. We now have new concerns about the safety of Amtrak trains. It was the year shots were fired inside the Fort Lauderdale airport, and at a Congressional baseball practice. Hurricanes hit Texas and Puerto Rico, and wildfires devastated California. An earthquake rocked Mexico City. In each catastrophe, at least we were able to cheer the heroes who unselfishly gave of themselves to help others.
In the NFL, the focus shifted from concussions, to players who chose to take a knee before taking a snap. Early in the year, the Atlanta Falcons thought they had the Super Bowl in the bag, with a 25-point lead over the New England Patriots. As the Falcons somehow snatched defeat from the jaws of victory, we should have known 2017 would not be our friend.
On the international front, we close out the year on good terms with Russia. We hope. North Korea gives us ample reason to be afraid. The Middle East is unsettled, to put it mildly. Terror attacks were rampant worldwide in 2017.
Techies will recall the year of smart homes, self-driving cars, and iPhones that recognize your face, even in the dark. I have difficulty identifying people I met yesterday, in broad daylight.
At the White House, people named Papadopolous, Scaramucci, Spicer, Omarosa, Comey, and Flynn were in, and then suddenly they were out. There is fear in some quarters that a prosecutor named Mueller may escort some others to the door. This isn’t what we were expecting when we first heard the term, “draining the swamp.”
Amid all this chaos, we argued about Confederate monuments, Roy Moore, tax cuts, the Vols’ coaching search, President Trump’s tweets, travel bans, protesting on the streets, fake news, and alternative facts.
And through it all, there’s an eerie feeling that 2017 was just a warmup act for 2018. Buckle up, my friends!