Once upon a time, when I was a ambitious young know-it-all moron in New York, I worked at the Strand Bookstore. The slogan for the bookstore was Eight Miles of Books (no relation to the Eminem movie. I know, I was disappointed too). My job was to shelve books along with an army of other ambitious young know-it-all morons. The Strand was constantly buying used books for resale. Every day New York’s Desperate Class would line up with hungry eyes, hoping to trade books for cash and, like an eight-mile long coiled python, the Strand would spit out loose change, devour the books and deposit them in some corner of its endless belly. Our job was to help the serpent digest.
Every day we walked in to work with dreams in our hearts and crumbs in our beards and were assigned a section of the store. No matter what the section was, there was a waist high stack of books lining the aisles. Our job was to find room for these books in the alphabetically correct position on the already bulging shelves. After a few hours of this, when we were about half way through the stack, we’d go to lunch. And when we returned 30 minutes later, the stack was exactly as high as it had been in the morning and while there were more crumbs in our beards- the dreams were gone. When I asked my boss if I could put “Sisyphus” on my nametag, her cold, dead eyes told me that she’d heard that joke. A lot. I didn’t last.
Anyhow, I bring up this unpleasant chapter of my work history as way of explaining why I haven’t written much in 2016.
Every day last year, I woke up with my head crammed full of information in various sections- Family Tragedy, Syria, Celebrity Death and, of course, Election. And just as I was in the midst of formulating a coherent (by my standards) reply- another load of horrible news would be dumped in the section I was working on, and I had to start over. And so my mind is filled with fragments of posts that chart the mood of 2016- grief, numb horror, outrage, frustration, exhaustion, cautious optimism, fleeting hope, crushing disappointment, grief, daily mortification, rage, terror, grief, grief.
And now I find myself wanting to write something funny and wise or at the very least comprehensible (again, by my standards) which will wrap up this terrible year- but what to say? Usually, one can rely on Top 10 lists in these situations- but what kind of list would suit 2016? “Top 10 Deaths that Ripped the Heart Out of My Chest Still Beating Temple of Doom Style”? Or maybe “Holy Crap! These 10 People ACTUALLY Survived!” or maybe the “Top 10 Totally Inappropriate Tweets that Demonstrate the Terrifying Degree to Which Trump is Not Suited to be President Sent Since 3:35 This Morning”?
I mean, sure- all good- options- but I think I’ll cut right to the chase and go with the “Top 10 People or Groups in 2016 Who Can Seriously GO FUCK THEMSELVES”
- Who Else? The most dangerously underqualified person to ever be elected to any public office in the entirety of human history since Og beat Zog by a landslide promising to “make cave not stink again.” Even though Og failed to keep this promise by constantly farting in the cave, his supporters called his shameless flatulence “refreshing” and said “his butt say what people are thinking”. And he was still soooo much more qualified than the brainless hateful demagogue who won. And so before he fucks the country like he wishes he could fuck his daughter- he should go fuck himself.
- The idiotic idiot racist idiots who voted for Trump and are also idiots. Now – I know that you Trump voters resent us coastal liberal elite types for looking down on you and thinking you’re dumb. But the only reason we think you’re dumb is that you actually are. And the way we know for sure you’re dumb is that you’re TRUMP VOTERS.
Also – I know that you get upset when we accuse of being racists- but….I mean…..you did vote for the dude who was endorsed by the Klan. Which is….you must…admit…kinda racist. I mean, if he was endorsed by My Little Pony, I’d say you were Futtershy fans, but it’s the fucking KLAN. And it wasn’t just some half-assed, obligatory “oh, I guess he’s the lesser of two evils for the white race” kind of endorsement. No- they gave Trump their full throated, whole hearted support. Hell, if the Berniecrats supported Hillary like the Nazis supported Trump we would have WON THIS GODDAMN THING. So- yeah- I’m calling you racists and worse. Cause if you walk like a duck and quack like a duck and Sieg Heil like a duck and degrade women like a duck and support conversion therapy like a duck and rip of Hijabs like a duck and deface synagogues with feces and Swastikas like a duck AND VOTE LIKE A DUCK then yes, yes you’re a misogynistic, xenophobic, gay bashing, hate mongering, anti-Semitic RACIST ASSHOLE DUCK and that’s exactly what I’m gonna call you (also- I’d like to apologize to ducks- not sure why I dragged you guys into this). Oh- and- yes- as I mentioned earlier- you’re also quite dumb.And don’t give me any of this cutesy-pie “Alt-Right” nonsense. This isn’t “Alt Country”. You’re not Wilco fans- you’re Nazis and you should all go fuck yourselves. Oh- and- right- did I mention already that you’re all very dumb?
- Anyone over the past few months who uttered the phrase “Clinton and Trump are basically the same”- especially if you didn’t vote or voted third party.I know that in America we’re often asked to choose between two products that are basically the same- but let’s be very clear- Clinton vs Trump was NOT Coke vs Pepsi. No- Clinton vs Trump was Coke vs shoving your face over a streaming geyser of raw sewage and holding it there with your mouth forced open by Kellyanne Conway for four years – taking breaks only to go bobbing for bullshit in a tub full of Mike Pence’s puke. Boy – I bet that can of Coke sounds pretty refreshing right about now doesn’t it, sugar, carcinogens and all? Well- it’s too bad- you didn’t think it mattered- so it’s sewage for everyone! So- yeah- thanks a lot. When nobody has healthcare, Russian tanks roll over Europe, Exxon is drilling in Yosemite, Muslims are rounded up, Planned Parenthood has been replaced by a wire hanger and a punch in the gut and you shake your fist at the heavens (Facebook-wise) and say “oh- if only there was something I could do to stop all this!” – just remember- there was – and you didn’t. So go fuck yourself.
- Hillary bashing liberals. Hey guys- remember the Primaries? Weren’t those fun! Posting all those memes about how lame Hilary was, spreading right-wing Clinton basing propaganda repurposed for the left, crucifying her on Facebook because she gave a couple of speeches to stock-brokers and GASP helped raise money for Malaria drugs, lambasting the DNC for being annoyed with your petulance. Sigh. Good times. So many fine memories to look back on between waterboarding sessions at the internment camp. Oh- but wait- I forgot- you’re a white, straight male- so you won’t actually experience any consequences for the reckless role you played in destroying American democracy. Why your 401(k) might even go up! Hell, the closest you’ll come to internment camps is reading about them while you’re in the doctor’s office waiting for the free physical that comes with your employer sponsored health insurance. But boy you sure will be outraged when you find out about them! You’ll sign all sorts of petitions on Change.org and share links from USUncut and DemocracyNow! And all your little Bernie Bro Buds are just gonna be so impressed with you that they won’t be able to resist responding to your post with Outrage Face Emoji. There’s sticking it to the man! The power elite is simply shaking in their boots thinking about how many Likes you get from your skinny-jeans friends and I can’t wait to hear all about it while I’m busting up rocks in Jew Camp and thinking just how much you should all really go fuck yourselves.
- The thieves who steal email, the crooks that put them up to it, the sleezeballs who publish the emails and us suckers for lapping it up. So- you know how like 44 years ago a couple of burglars broke into the DNC headquarters to steal some documents and the nation was so aghast when we discovered the President was involved that he had to resign in shame? I know right- how adorable we were! Clearly we hadn’t yet learned that the right way to react when confidential information is stolen is to scrutinize it for petty, irrelevant nonsense scandals while totally ignoring the criminality of the act committed and rampaging corruption behind it.
Let me put this differently- let’s say your credit card number was stolen and used fraudulently. Which of these two responses would you prefer?
- Bank contacts you immediately asking to confirm charges. If you can’t, the account is closed and flagged in case there are any future uses, the fraudulent charges are reversed and a new card is sent out with an apology.
- Credit card thieves publish your entire purchase history which is promptly scrutinized by everyone in America. Outraged imbeciles share click bait headlines with fake scandals (“These FIVE purchases by Eric will PUT HIM IN JAIL FOR SURE!” like there’s some law in this country against a 44 year old man visiting the American Girl Store and Build a Bear Workshop which of course there only is in North Carolina and we’re hoping it gets repealed). The credit card company does nothing cause they don’t want to seem like sore losers and the scumbags who ripped you off are hailed as folk-heroes and “whistle blowers.”
Oh, shut up, you would pick A and you know it. But that’s not the choice we made during the election, is it? We chose to be outraged by the stolen emails so now we get to be terrified by Donald Trump’s tweets- lucky fucking us. And for that we should all go fuck ourselves.
- James Comey. Oh, go fuck yourself
- Vladimir Putin. Oh- you- SERIOUSLY go fuck yourself
- Jimmy Fallon. This one hurts. I really liked you but you just couldn’t stop humanizing Trump. I mean – bringing him on the show during the height of the campaign after all the terrible shit he said, so you can ruffle his hair like a lovable golden retriever? That’s like bringing Hitler on after kristilnacht and doing Movember bits about his mustache. And I know you don’t want to live in Trump’s America any more than the rest of us – you just can’t help yourself. Ass kissing is heroin to you. So now make it up to us- use your show for the next four years to spread the message of love, equality and acceptance. Show us with joyous enthusiasm how great this country can be when we celebrate our diversity and play together. Or just bring Billy Ocean back on. That would be cool too. Meanwhile, I’ve sadly got to ask you to go fuck yourself.
- Colin Kaepernick. So let me get this straight- you kneel during the anthem to protest injustice but you can’t even be bothered to vote? Fuck that. It means nothing to be “woke” when you sleep through election day. You want to be a leader- lead to the polls. Now you might as well take pride in your choices and stand tall during the anthem- cause like it or not- this is the country YOU made through inaction. Thankfully you’re a terrible quarterback and nobody’s gonna care next year if you kneel for the anthem while you’re eating Cracker Jacks in the stands. Meanwhile, please go fuck yourself.
- The Grim Reaper. Dude- you were off the chain this year. How about giving us a fighting chance next year? Like maybe instead of chess, we could play vintage Atari? Cause you may be able to checkmate us into the grave- but we will kick your bony ass in Frogger.
And I’m not just talking about all the beloved childhood icons you took or the artists and leaders whose voices will be sorely missed during the difficult years ahead. I mean, that all sucked, but I’m particularly referring to the two people I love that you took within a week of each other.
Mike & Sheila – you each deserve a much fuller and more articulate tribute (by any standards) than I can give you right now 2000 words deep in this post. Suffice it to say that we love you, we miss you, and we feel you absence every day. The world is a better place for the time you spent here, but God, it could be so much better if you were with us still.
And so Mr Reaper, for everyone you took this year and all the sorrow you left behind, you can seriously go fuck yourself.
So, yeah- that’s my list. There are a lot more people I could have put on- Kellyanne Conway (the answer to the SAT question _____ is to Ann Coulter as W. is to Trump), the Fox News Legion of Doom being considered for the cabinet, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz for mostly sucking at her job and, of course, GFY list perennial Bill Belichick – Trump’s pick for the Director of the Bureau of Weights and Measures. But I’d like to wrap this up on a positive note and I need to finish before the end of 2017.
So….here we go:
Ending on a positive note!
This past Hanukkah, I lit candles with my parents on Facetime every night. This may not seem like such a big deal- but my dad’s had Parinkson’s for 25 years, and this year was particularly difficult (cause of course it was.) There were times back in the spring that I doubted that on December 31st we’d be singing the blessings together. And yet- there we were. And it was a miracle. That we’re lighting candles together while thousands of miles apart. That another year has passed and we’re singing the blessings off-key- thanking God for the gift of the candle lighting ritual, for making miracles, for sustaining life. And I was, in that moment, truly thankful for the miracle we were experiencing. And I will be thankful for it always.
Yes, there are many lights which are extinguished much too soon. But Hanukkah we remember: sometimes there’s only oil enough for one day but it miraculously lasts for eight. Enjoy it while it lasts.
Alright- so 2016- we’re done with you- go fuck yourself. Bring it on 2017- death, injustice, love and miracles. We’re ready for you. No matter how bad things get- they could be a lot worse. I could still be working at the Strand.