Thursday, December 31, 2015

Well Hello There, 2016!

Hey 2016, nice to meetcha.

I know, you're new around here, and people are going to have a hard time remembering your name for a few weeks, but by February we'll have it down. And by this time next year, we'll be referring to your successor by your name for a month or so anyway, so it all washes out in the end.

I'm sorry if we don't all get up to shake your hand and clap you on the back, but most of us stayed up pretty late last night and may have overindulged just a bit. Not me, of course. I decided to stay home with my husband and the dogs last night, because I've finally reached that age where a night of partying followed by a morning of regretting it doesn't sound worth it. Instead, we decided to clean out the freezer, barbecue whatever wasn't too freezer burnt, and catch the early showing of Star Wars so that we didn't have to wait in a line that snakes along for two city blocks like I did back in 1977. Again, some things just aren't worth it anymore.

I just want to let you know that you've got some big shoes to fill this year. There's a lot of stuff you've got to help get done, and you've only got a year to do it. That's all the time you get. Sorry. At least you've got an extra day at the end of February, which is more than 2015 had.

So here's your mission, 2016, should you choose to accept it. Well, a couple of missions:

#1: Politics. This country is going to get a new leader. It's not until next November, so we've got a lot of time to figure out it's gonna be. But until then, most of your reign is going to be filled with commercials and billboards, and speeches full of empty promises trying to sway voters. I just hope that by the end of your time here, we'll end up with someone that we can get behind (and I don't mean to push off a cliff). My hope is that we can, together, elect someone to lead this country for the next 4 or 8 years who can pull us together so that we can get stuff done.That's been an issue plaguing this country for a while now that the years haven't been able to change so far. We elect a president who spends the next 8 years trying to undo whatever the person before did, and whichever party didn't get elected spends the next 8 years trying to stop the other party from getting done whatever they promised they'd get done. It's downright embarrassing.

#2: Daesh. Since that election isn't until November, pretty please 2016, do you think you could spend a little of your time putting your nose to the grindstone to figure out a way to neutralize radical islamic extremists? I know this is asking a lot, because hating hate with hate is oxymoronic, but omygosh is there a way to get rid of a group of people committing genocide without committing genocide? I'm just going to leave that on your plate, because I'm overwhelmed and exhausted just thinking about it, but you're still fresh. You might have a whole new perspective on this issue I haven't thought of yet. And since you're new, not stuck in old habits yet, could you please do me a solid and not call them by the name that those other members of the media keep using? As I understand it, Daesh is the term we should be using, not the name of one of my favorite kick-ass Saturday morning cartoon superheroes from my youth. If you need to bone up on why this is so important, check out this great piece that explains it from the Boston Globe.

#3: The Walking Dead. No, not my favorite TV show, I'm talking about the growing population of humanoids shuffling around this town that seem to have no permanent home, no means of employment, and a penchant for pajama pants, face tattoos and either baby strollers with no baby, or bicycles made for little boys. My complaint isn't with their appearance or lack of a place to call their own. My complaint is that 2015 didn't do much to help deter this segment of the population from a life that seems to be solely focused on taking things that don't belong to them to either fund a drug habit and/or to continue to exist below the radar. And they're getting more and more thuggish by the day. Just calling it like I sees it. There is a herd (as they're called in my aforementioned favorite TV show) that seems to be only motivated to find ways NOT to contribute anything positive to the world. Even worse, there's a growing number of Walking Dead who roam the streets at night looking for something, anything to take at the expense of the people who rightfully own it. Waking up to find your car window smashed in for a tin of altoids and some spare change? Going to work to find a huge pile of trash (or maybe a smaller pile of poop) in front of your door? Come on. Let's work on handling this.

I feel like 2015 really failed us. So did 2014, for that matter. But please. 2016. Don't let this get worse. Let's work on finding a solution. And since I'm asking a lot, let me help you out a little bit with a word that - if used correctly - could do so much to help thin the herd, so to speak. Accountability. You've heard of aversion therapy? Behavior modification? I'm talking about simple psychology. Good moms and dads will also recognize this as basic parenting.

In super simple terms, this is like when you snap a rubber band on your wrist every time you want to eat a piece of fudge or smoke a cigarette. Here's how it applies to this situation: If someone commits an unacceptable behavior, then there needs to be a consequence. Accountability. Otherwise, there's nothing to deter the behavior. Currently, this segment of the population is learning that the rubber band is broken. Occasionally there's a minor slap on the wrist, but most of the time a person could get away with causing a pretty decent amount of damage or mayhem without much concern of receiving an equal amount of punishment. 2016, you're going to have to get together with law enforcement on this one, and you might have to work in conjunction with 2017 before things really turn around.

2016, I'm here to help you make friends. I want your name to be remembered fondly. I guarantee that if you can accomplish those 3 simple tasks I outlined above, this could be a pretty awesome year for you. In the meanwhile, here's some music worthy of your time. This is your year 2016, make it a good one!

For those of you who don't know how this works, click on the play arrow in the upper left corner of the Spotify playlist box below, and enjoy!

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