2016: The Year We Stopped Having Nice Things


UPDATE 12/27/16: George Michael and Carrie Fisher have died. There are three days left.
UPDATE: 12/28/16: Debbie Reynolds has literally died of grief over the passing of her daughter Carrie Fisher. There are two days left.

I’ve never been big on parades.

But there’s something about the 115-year-old Philadelphia Mummers tradition that just gets me. Thousands of blue-collar South Philly guys and their families work tirelessly to create the most magnificent costumes, sets, and choreographed musical performances rivaling the best of Broadway. It’s always been one of my favorite things about living just two blocks from Broad Street, and we make it a family tradition to watch as much of the parade as we can.

But when we walked out the door on January 1, 2016, things took a dark turn. There were mummers in brown face and “Frog Lives Matter” signs featuring Kermit pinned to a crucifix. There was a full transphobic performance mocking Caitlyn Jenner. Somebody yelled, “F%^& the gays!” into a camera, while another person violently assaulted a gay man in the gayborhood. 


2016 rang in with a national embarrassment transpiring in my own backyard.

In May 2016, I was still mourning the death of Prince when I almost died myself – from Septic Shock. Yep, 36 and healthy as a horse, I spent four days in the ICU and had to learn to walk again. It was gnarly.

As I was recovering three separate friends apologized for not being more helpful as they were suffering from shingles. SHINGLES. Another good friend couldn’t quite hop on the meal train as she was watching her mother slowly die from pancreatic cancer.

One dear friend of mine woke up on the first day of 2016 with rectal cancer. Two friends spent half of 2016 on crutches with broken feet. One gym buddy caught viral meningitis. My husband’s cousin died unexpectedly at 39. Lots of other friends of friends died unexpectedly at 39. And this was all just happening within my relatively small circle of friends.

The Syrian Refugee Crisis. The Flint Water Crisis. The North Dakota Pipeline Protests. Massive terror attacks in Paris. Nice. Brussels. BREXIT.

Dozens of unarmed black men killed by police for no good reason. Dozens of police officers killed in the line of duty for no good reason. People using their grief and anger to turn “Black Lives Matter” into “Blue Lives Matter” without realizing the deep, fundamental difference. The use of said ill-advised slogan plastered on minion T-shirts available along the New Jersey boardwalks.

Poussay got killed off on Orange is the New Black. Downton Abbey just up and left for good. The new Britney Spears video makes me feel ashamed in ways I can not articulate. And Kanye West has simply imploded.

David Bowie died. And the only thing that made me laugh was when Tiffany Pollard (“New York”) on Big Brother thought it was David Gest who died. And even though it was f%^&ed up to laugh we couldn’t stop because her reaction slayed us. And then David Gest actually did die shortly after.

And then the unthinkable happened – or at least unthinkable for the 75% of the country who did not vote for Donald Trump. For me, that low point coincided with a botched sinus surgery so it was a super special day.

And since that day…well, let’s just say that David Duke is having the best 2016 ever.

As I am typing this, there is, inexplicably, a bull running loose on I-95. Forgive me Shawn Colvin, but it feels like we are all just “riding shotgun down the avalanche.” (Update: the bull was shot.)

2016 has set the bar so low it is actually underground. You would actually need to SET UP A FRACKING OPERATION to even gain access to the bar.

And don’t just trust me on this, watch John Oliver’s take on 2016 below. And remember – it’s still just November.

Another brilliant take from the Brits:

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