The Year in Review

year in review2012 departs at midnight and, evidently, that means we’re supposed to look back and reminisce. I’m not exactly sure why, but who am I to question the prevailing paradigm? 2012 was pretty eventful. Oh sure, not as much as 2001 or any of the WWII years, but it is the most lively one in a while. I mean, we had another historic election, the Republicans tried to show us just what a bunch of nimrods they are, a guy tried eat another guy’s face, North Carolina decided to codify discrimination into it’s constitution while four other states rejected such douchebaggery, Hurricane Sandy paid a visit to the northeast, Chik-fil-a showed it’s ass  and we found out the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and the banks were all in bed together to crush the Occupy movement. There was the Arab Spring, the Syrian uprising, Benghazi and the Israelis and Palestinians renewed their competition to see who can be the biggest asshole in their little corner of the world. Shooting incidents in Colorado, Michigan, Kansas City and Connecticut brought sadness and outrage as did Penn State’s cover up of Jerry Sandusky’s disgusting activities. Some sports heroes had a rough year, too, with the revelations of Roger Clemens’ and Lance Armstrong’s lies about doping. It wasn’t all bad news on the national front, though. In September, someone with the whimsical online handle of “european_douchebag” posted a photo on Reddit of a Sikh woman with a little more facial hair than usual, evidently thinking it would be funny. It wasn’t. Amazingly, though the guy who posted the picture was a colossal ass hat, no one was. And, “european_douchebag” even apologized. Who’da thunk it?

As eventful as the year was nationally, it was even more so on a personal level for me. In February, a CT scan found a lump in my abdomen which turned out to be a recurrence of the colon cancer I’d been treated for in 2007. While I was undergoing surgery in early March, my father was ending his journey here on earth as a result of the lymphoma he’d been living with for 9 years. We lost him in April and, I’ll tell, it still hurts. At the end of April, I started 6 months of adjuvant chemotherapy to make sure the cancer was gone. All in all, this round went much better than what I remembered from ’07. Unfortunately, one of the drugs in that lovely little cocktail causes peripheral nerve damage and after two rounds of it, my arms and legs don’t work so good anymore. It mostly manifests in a general weakness, which isn’t so bad. It was bad enough, however, that I had to retire from the fire department on disability. I wasn’t sure how I’d handle retirement, but this morning, I slept in and I’m sitting here writing this in my pajamas at 12:15 on a Monday. I can get used to this.

It’s been a good year for some of my friends, too. Diana, my girlfriend (which kinda transcends the friend thing), continued working on her degree and she’s almost finished. I’m proud of her hard work and can’t wait until she finishes up in the spring. We my mom took Florida, something I had wanted to do while Dad was still with us, but it just didn’t work out. She loved it as much as thought she would. She loves anything plant and garden-related and Florida is a different world when it comes to that stuff. After years of struggling, Hugh Hollowell’s Love Wins has finally getting some traction. They’re a great bunch of people, doing wonderful work and even though things are going well, they can always go better. If you’re looking for someone to give a little cash to, you could do a lot worse (Chik-fil-a and their biblical family buddies come to mind). There are others, but these are the only ones I can think of right now.

I learned a lot this year: that while the return of my cancer was sucky, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be (I survived);that losing your father leaves a huge hole in your life; that just when you thought politicians couldn’t be bigger assholes, they’ll prove you wrong; that people can still surprise me; that sitting at home in your pj’s well into the day is just as freakin’ awesome as it sounds and, finally, that while the nature of change is neutral (it can suck or it can be good), it is not inevitable . Change happens whether you want it to or not. If you’re lucky, it all evens out.