The Nays Have ItOpinion
OPINION — So far, 2020 has shaped up about like what you’d expect if Newt Gingrich and Rush Limbaugh made the finals on that dancing with stars show. Which frankly wouldn’t surprise me anymore, although I’ve never watched the show, nor will I. There’s a limit to how bored a person can get, and watching people dance is about three notches below ‘comatose.’
But if I were asked to offer an example that epitomizes the year to date, I would go with the story about Randy Cooper and Kristen Begue, who both had plenty of luck recently. Unfortunately it was all bad.
Randy stole a Land Cruiser and was in the process of trying to escape capture, with police hot on his tail, when he collided with Kristin, who was driving a Buick Regal. Once the cops sorted everything out, Randy was arrested for stealing the Cruiser, assault, evading arrest, and some other sundries. Kristin was also arrested, for driving under the influence, and grand theft auto. It turns out the Buick was also stolen. So I nominate Randy and Kristin 2020 Couple of the Year. And it should come as no surprise that the incident in question occurred in Portland.
Above: Randy Cooper and Kristen Begue
Individual of the Year would be a little more difficult to pin down, since there are so many credible nominees. The protestor who did the fire dance after being set aflame by a Molotov cocktail thrown by his own compatriots would be pretty high on the list, but I’ll have to pass on him. That wasn’t necessarily his fault, although if you plan to commit felony violence in a group setting, it would probably be a good idea to vet your fellows a little better. Maybe play catch with them, or something.
David Blaine is a strong contender, after his recent impressive display of incredible impressiveness, when he, and you ain’t gonna believe this, floated into the air over the Arizona desert under some helium balloons. CNN called it his ‘most ambitious feat yet,’ and said he had ‘managed to do what so many can only dream of.’ I’m wondering if anyone has informed David, or CNN, that people have been floating around underneath balloons for about three centuries. I guess not.
David’s remarkable accomplishment, which was live streamed on YouTube, was called ‘Ascension.’ It must’ve taken him the better part of a six-pack to come up with such an astounding title for the float. He said, ‘Every single stunt that I’ve ever done is about endurance and pushing past what I thought would be possible.’ Which makes you wonder. Next he’ll probably pull out all the stops and live stream himself making a grilled cheese sandwich, or something. We all wait with breathless anticipation.
But David was definitely upstaged August 31, when a couple of airline pilots waiting to land at LAX reported a guy flying around in a jetpack. He was cruising at about 3,000 feet, and one of the planes passed him within about 300 yards. The pilots reported the sighting, and air traffic control thanked them, and calmly informed another plane in the landing pattern to watch out for the Tony Stark impersonator. The fellow hasn’t been identified, but he’s definitely in the running for the individual 2020 honors.
Above: Ander Christensen
Then there were the two Italian flat-earthers who set sail from Sicily to try to make it to the end of the world, for some reason. And for another reason, they didn’t succeed. Go figure.
Their goal was to cruise down to Lampedusa, which they seemed to believe was the ‘end of the earth.’ I guess they planned to go over the edge, or something. Their intentions seem to have been a little vague, even to them. But flat-earthers are evidently not known for their stellar sense of direction, and our two intrepid voyagers went north, instead of south, and ended up on the island of Ustica. When they got there they were ‘tired, thirsty, and risking shipwreck,’ according to Italian media.
But that’s not the interesting part. The pair attempted to navigate their way to Lampedusa using a compass, which works on the basis of terrestrial magnetism, a principle flat-earthers universally refuse to acknowledge. I guess we all make compromises in life, one way or another. Sometimes both.
But my choice for 2020 Individual of the Year goes to Ander Christensen, of Lincoln, Nebraska, who went before the Lincoln city council to plead his rather grave case. Ander looks pretty much like he just stepped into 2020 from Woodstock, except that he was wearing a shirt and tie during the event in question.
Ander’s request to the Lincoln city council was that the city should become ‘a social leader in this country,’ by removing the term ‘boneless chicken wings from our menus, and from our hearts,’ because boneless chicken wings don’t come from the wings of chickens. He said they’re chicken tenders, which are already boneless. His argument was that we don’t order boneless tacos, or boneless Subway sandwiches. Those things are expected to come without bones, just like chicken tenders.
His impassioned plea was made, of course, for the sake of the children, who need to learn where meat comes from. He said, ‘We need to teach them that the wing of a chicken is from a chicken, and it’s delicious.’ He concluded, ‘We’ve been living a lie for far too long, and we know it, because we feel it in our bones.’
Some heroes don’t wear capes.
But maybe I should hold off on picking my Individual of the Year for 2020. You never know, Newt or Rush could end up on Wheel of Fortune . . .
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