Morris: It’s 2020 — What’s Next?
It’s such a perfect little story to illustrate this awful, awful year of the pandemic, cities overtaken by anarchy and an election from hell.
A deer jumped through a window into an empty classroom at Blackhawk Middle School in Fort Wayne. After trashing the room for 45 minutes, the deer jumped back through the window and ran away. Spokeswoman Krista Stockman said that while the situation was surprising, “it’s 2020.”
That should be added to the catalog of verbal shrugs we use to stoically accept our fate in an indifferent universe where anything can happen.
“That’s the way the cookie crumbles.”
“C’est la vie.”
“Que será, será.”
“Forget it, Jake, it’s Chinatown.”
“Well, it’s 2020.”
Oh, no, the virus is back, bigger than ever!
Well, it is 2020.
Harry and Meagan left the royal family but won’t shut up!
What do you expect in 2020?
Dear God, now we have murder hornets!
Hey, it’s 2020.
Can you believe this, Indiana actually stomped Michigan in football!”
Oh, sure, it’s 2020.
I’m thinking of the scene in the great American movie “Groundhog Day” in which Phil the self-centered weatherman is bitterly complaining about the day that won’t ever end.
“I was in the Virgin Islands once. I met a girl. We ate lobster, drank piña coladas. At sunset we made love like sea otters. That was a pretty good day. Why couldn’t I get that day over and over and over?”
For us, this is the year that won’t ever end
I remember a year fondly – it was 1974.
I was a newly minted journalism graduate, fresh out of Ball State University and winning two first-place awards from the Hoosier State Press Association. My wife and I had a small house with a big garden on the south side of Wabash. My parents came to visit us from Fort Wayne, and my father was still vigorous in middle age.
That was a pretty good year. Why couldn’t I get that year over and over and over?
But, no, it has to be 2020, in which every day is the same as the last day, only a little worse, and the next day will be the same as this day, only a little worse.
I imagine all of us waking up on Jan. 1, eager to get a reset and start with a blank slate on a brand-new year. But we will hear the same song on the radio we heard yesterday morning and realize 2021 has not arrived as scheduled. This year will just go on and on until, like Phil the weatherman, we learn whatever lesson the universe is trying to teach us.
We will be better people, kinder and more tolerant. We will respect each other’s differences and search for common ground. We will strive to build up, not tear down.
Yeah, sure, if we were born yesterday, which was really today.
Personally, I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop. I think there is one more unbelievable, unprecedented, stupendous event to come. When it happens, the logjam will break, and we can leave this awful year behind.
A surprising number of people agree with me, but we differ on what that event might be.
Some think it will be a natural disaster so big it will devour a whole country or cause California to break off and fall into the ocean. Some think a terrorist group might finally use a nuclear weapon, touching off World War 3. Some religiously motivated think it might even be the Second Coming.
Me, I think aliens will land.
Sure, be skeptical. But the Pentagon this year officially released three videos showing compelling footage of UFOs, and it was announced that the UFO task force will start doing more in public instead of in the shadows, This, after decades of strident denials. I think they’re trying to soften us up for the big day when we discover We Are Not Alone.
But the aliens – or Undocumented Extraterrestrials, if you will – will land, some will say to enlighten and guide us and some will say to conquer and enslave us, take a quick look around, decide it isn’t worth the trouble, and take off in less than an hour, like . . .
. . . well, like a deer crashing back through a classroom window and escaping into the woods. Forty-five minutes is about as much of 2020 as an advanced civilization might be able to tolerate.
Leo Morris, columnist for The Indiana Policy Review, is winner of the Hoosier Press Association’s award for Best Editorial Writer. Morris, as opinion editor of the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel, was named a finalist in editorial writing by the Pulitzer Prize committee. Contact him at email@example.com.