Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Decade From Hell Ends -- Life Begins at 40?

Time magazine called 2000-09 the Decade From Hell. Sounds better than "The Aughts" or "The Naughties."

It began, for me, with hope for a golden new Millennium in January, a Stanley Cup in June, and a Subway Series in October (and you Met fans still have nothing to say), but then came a stolen Presidential election in November, certification of that in December, and the following September, after the ignoring of several warnings, the day when the phony President in question said, "Oh, no, I thought the Presidency was just going to be giving nice speeches, waving from the airplane and throwing out the first ball -- now I actually have to govern! To lead! Help! Dick! Condi! Daddy!!!!"

To paraphrase a line from The West Wing, to sweep all 50 States in 2004, George W. Bush only had to do two things: Blow Osama bin Laden's brains out in the middle of Times Square, and then walk across the street to Nathan's and buy a hot dog. In other words, the hot dog wasn't necessary. And he had the bastard cornered. Then he let him get away, and focused on Iraq, which had nothing to do with it.

Then he violated nearly every Amendment in the Bill of Rights at Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib. Then he stole another election in 2004. Then he completed the first four-year term of any President with a net loss of jobs since Herbert Hoover. Compared to that, the Yankees' collapse against the Red Sox was a trivial matter.

Then he sat on his preppy, faux-Texas ass (I figured the use of the French word "faux" was appropriate here) for 5 days, doing nothing, while New Orleans drowned. Then he let the economy collapse. Five thousand American military personnel, dead for nothing. Meanwhile, the environment suffered as well.

We whined about whether we could ever get out of this. Then a White Sox fan, who knew what it was like to triumph over suffering (see the 2005 World Series), told us, "Yes we can, yes we can!" And we did.

And, while the 2001 World Series provided some thrills, and the Devils won another Stanley Cup, and East Brunswick High School finally won a football State Championship after 32 years of heartbreaking finishes, 2009 came along, and, while rough at times, was very rewarding: A President with the brains to figure things out and the heart to give a damn about his country before himself, a World Series win and a comfortable new place in which to watch it (which now feels like "Yankee Stadium"), another State Championship for E.B. Football. And while the recession and the Iraq and Afghan wars aren't over yet, it does seem like the worst is over, and the guy in charge of fixing them actually seems to want to fix them, instead of wanting merely to look like he's fixing them.

No, the 2000s were not the 1960s all over again. After all, on December 31, 1969, for all the gains of the previous 10 years, things were getting worse. Even if I had been born 13 days earlier.

On December 31, 2009, for all that we lost in the previous 10 years, things are getting better.


In 2010, at the age of 40, I resolve to...

* Do a better job at my new job, which looks like it will be a whole lot better than my old job: Real estate brokers are very tough to work with.

* To continue to enjoy being Ashley and Rachel's uncle. Nobody has ever made me happier. A few people wearing Pinstripes, or Scarlet and Black, or Green and White, have come close, but none has topped them.

* To get to a few more Yankee games at the new Stadium.

* To come up with the money to make a trip to Europe. It's about time I visited. It's also about time I stopped talking about Arsenal, and watching them only on television from 3,500 miles away, and actually saw them in person.

* To treat people better. I don't regret many things I've done, but I do regret many of the things I've said. (Not on this blog, though.)

Happy New Year, Happy New Decade, and may the next 10 years be brighter and safer for you all.

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