2016: A Selective Year in Review

2016 has been a difficult year, in particular for music. This year witnessed the loss of David Bowie, Leonard Cohen, Maurice White, Sharon Jones, and Prince, to name a few. It sort of begs the question: God does realize that Justin Bieber, Chris Brown, and Kanye West are still down here, right? More proof that God wants to see us all suffer—Drake still has a flourishing music career, too.

If God did love us as much as he appears to love the New England Patriots, Tyler Perry, and Donald Trump’s pannus, he’d help us find a way to get Bieber, Brown, and West onto a chartered airplane and cut the fuel line. I realize that this would also take the life of the pilot and crew, but that is what we call collateral damage in the service of a greater good.

So in the throes of this difficult year, I choose to cope, as I’m sure many of you do, by retreating into the warm embrace of YouTube videos, which can be a source of great entertainment. And far and away the best video of the year is that of a Japanese pole vaulter. If you have not yet seen this, you owe it to yourself to do so because when you Google “Japanese pole vaulter” you will watch as a Japanese pole vaulter’s Olympic gold-medal dreams are dashed as his penis first hits and thereafter dislodges and knocks off the bar over which he vaulting. And you will get to see this in close-up in slow motion so as to remove any doubt as to what actually transpired.

Now, after discovering this video, I did exactly what any gentleman would do: I ran home and immediately showed it to my fiance. A little background on her—she’s from Nigeria, and after watching the video she turned to me and said, matter-of-factly, “See? This is why you don’t see African pole vaulters.”

My reaction to this may have been similar to yours: I laughed.

That is, I laughed until a haunting realization descended upon me: “Wait, she didn’t tell me that I couldn’t be a pole vaulter.” Point in fact, she’s recommended it to me many times in the past. Things like “You know, you would make an excellent Olympic pole vaulter” and “You should really try pole vaulting,” which until that point I had taken as a compliment but which I now see was totally passive aggressive on her part.

Anyways, this was a particularly exciting year for me, as I only recently moved to Los Angeles from the San Francisco bay area, and since moving here, I’ve learned a lot about STDs. Not in the “fun” way you may be imagining—no, I’ve learned about STDs from the many public service announcement billboards that fill Hollywood’s downtown skyline, which often feature clever turns of phrase. For example, at the time of the release of Straight Outta Compton in late 2015, I saw a billboard that read “Straight Outta Condoms,” which seems a little insensitive given how Eazy-E died.

syphillis-is-seriousBut my favorite of these billboards is one that read “Syphilis Is Serious” and featured a blind-person’s can along the bottom, the message being that one of the consequences of contracting syphilis is that you go blind. However it is sort of a mixed message because now I just assume that every blind woman I see is a whore.

As a newly minted resident of Los Angeles, I tend to wear nothing but shorts throughout the year, regardless of the occasion and whether the funeral is for someone I care about. This has the tendency to upset my fiance, although to be fair to her, mine is not a good look for any occasion. Wearing shorts only exposes everyone to the fact that my hairy legs look like someone dropped a piece of uncooked veal onto the floor of a barber shop, and this explains in part why I choose to mate almost exclusively with African women—I am doing my best to weed this out of the gene pool. Undoubtedly, it’s going to be tough going for a few generations, and my immediate children will likely end up looking like a cinnamon stick with an SOS pad glued to it, but a few hundred years from now it will all have worked itself out and it will be smooth sailing from then onward.

More importantly, having recently moved here, some of you in other cities may be curious as to how Los Angeles has been coping with the recent election results. Therefore, allow me to explain that here in L.A., we are a little too concerned with something called “ourselves” to be bothered with whether the rest of America elected a narcissistic proto-fascist to be its next president. That very much pales in comparison with pilot season and which boutique cafe on Melrose serves the best gluten-free kale salad.

Although this doesn’t change the fact that it was a tremendously entertaining campaign. The number one highlight was of course the Access Hollywood video, and I was just as shocked and appalled as all of you were to discover that Access Hollywood has a bus. I would have guessed a rickshaw at the least, but a bus seems like overkill for a show hosted by the least talented member of the Bush family.

Say what you will about that video and its now infamous tagline, but “Grab ‘em By the Pussy” is sort of an excellent title for a motivational self-help book. It may not go over well with the Tony Robbins crowd, but there are likely a slew of Larry the Cable Guy fans in need of some well-articulated life coaching who could benefit from it.

But in the wake of the release of this video, Donald Trump’s excuse for his vocabulary was that is was all “just locker room talk.” It was “locker room talk, just locker room talk,” he insisted. Well, that may be true if you’re sharing a locker room with Ben Roethlisberger, Ray Rice, and Bill Cosby, in which case, yes, I suppose that would be a viable topic of discourse, but otherwise not so much.

By the way, for someone who claims to be as familiar with locker rooms as Donald Trump claims to be, you would expect him to have a lot slimmer figure. Donald Trump seems less the paragon of athleticism than he does the posterchild for man-boobs.

And say what you will about Donald Trump’s alleged relationship with Vladimir Putin, at least Donald Trump has the decency to keep his shirt on. Most days Putin wouldn’t be allowed inside 7-Eleven to purchase a Moon Pie and a Big Gulp, although he would be welcomed in most Rest Area men’s rooms and any one of John Travolta’s massage parlors …

Anyway, here’s to a better 2017. No doubt it will suck either equally or more than 2016.

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