Guest Columnist

Mr. Cranky has seen 2022; he was not impressed

Lapsing into 'full-bore Madame Defarge mode'
December 28, 2022 at 5:10 a.m.

By ALAN RHODES
Guest Columnist

This past year was one in which many folks decided to pretend that COVID-19 was over, toss their masks in the dumpster and plunge bare-faced into Costco. I, on the other hand, being a cautious fellow (paranoid, actually, seeing COVID as out to get me personally) continued masking indoors. I felt safer doing that and I also like the way that masking makes me feel like a desperado up to no good, a pleasant fantasy that gets me through the mundane chores of everyday life.

Meantime, we're heading into a new year, and I’ve been reflecting back on 2022 and jotting down some observations.

Indulging My Dark Side. My principal pleasure of 2022 was watching the House committee hearings on the Jan. 6 insurrection. Not only did I view them all, but I recorded them to savor again and again as rainy-day entertainment. Each time a new piece of damning evidence for Trump’s criminality emerged, I went into full-bore Madame Defarge mode, rocking back and forth, chortling gleefully and muttering, “Guillotine … guillotine!”

To get even farther into the Defarge spirit, I started knitting while viewing. To be honest, I don’t really know how to knit, so I just clicked my knitting needles together and pretended.  Well, okay, I don’t have any knitting needles, so I used plastic chopsticks.

“What are you knitting with those chopsticks?” my wife inquired, eyeing me askance.

“A kimono,” I replied. “You certainly wouldn’t knit a kilt with chopsticks, or a serape, would you now? I think that would probably be some sort of cultural appropriation.”

I returned to my knitting. “Guillotine … guillotine,” I whispered, rocking and smiling.

Economics for Dummies. These were my three best financial decisions of 2022:

1) I did not buy any cryptocurrency from FTX — an easy decision, as I don’t buy cryptocurrency from anybody. I can’t figure out how it differs from purchasing thin air. If you got conned into a scam real estate development deal and ended up owning swampland, at least you would have something tangible, and could probably catch a few crawdads so you wouldn’t starve.

2) I did not lend Elon Musk any money to buy Twitter. This was also easy since he never asked. Besides that, this guy totally creeps me out.

3) I passed up the opportunity to purchase a resale ticket to Taylor Swift’s upcoming concert tour for $28,000. (No, seriously, that figure is real.) My advice to anyone who would pay $28,000 to go to a Taylor Swift concert: Get a life.

Word Weary. There were a bunch of words and phrases I got tired of hearing in 2022, especially these: (1) “Supply chain problems.” I dunno, does this sometimes seem a clever ruse to jack up prices? (2) “Election irregularities” — the default mantra of sore losers. And (3) “Groomers.” In their fever dreams, homophobic wackos see public school teachers and the LGBTQ+ community as evil perverts “grooming” children for sexual exploitation. This is nutty, of course, and I hope it doesn’t also inadvertently cast aspersions on people engaged in the noble profession of canine beautification.

Wonders Will Never Cease. There are certain events I never thought would occur in my lifetime and then, to my amazement and delight, they happened. Up at the top of the list are the end of South African apartheid, the collapse of Soviet communism, and the fall of the Berlin Wall. And now another astonishing cosmic shift has taken place: Whatcom County’s 42nd Legislative District has gone all blue! Yep, in November’s election, Democrats took the two legislative seats and the Senate. 

This spectacular sweep couldn’t have occurred without the assistance of Whatcom’s Republicans, whose three candidates included an apple-cheeked stripling not long out of his teens, an anti-vaxxer and a MAGA bloke with a talent for making stupid and offensive remarks. The Democratic party really should send the Republicans a thank-you note.

Good News/Bad News. The bad news: Crime rates have, for the most part, risen in Bellingham over this past year. For example, your opportunity to have your car stolen has increased by 45%. The good news: Violent crime rates have actually decreased a bit. I suppose this should make me feel better. Someone may attempt to steal my car, but at least they might not kill me in the process.

And a Closing Note. A quick comment on national politics before I get back to my ocarina practice. The state of Georgia partially redeemed itself in December by returning Raphael Warnock to the U.S. Senate, thereby rejecting his opponent, a serial impregnator who is not burdened by a surfeit of analytical skills. This nod toward sanity does not, however, get the Peach State off the hook for Marjorie Taylor Greene. 

Happy 2023, folks.


Mr. Cranky contributes to CDN when he feels the need.

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