Seriously, if years were body parts, you'd be Donald Trump's ass. If they were colored body parts, you'd be Donald Trump's grey, vein-marbled ass, and if they were textured, colored body parts, you'd be Donald Trump's saggy, grey, vein-marbled ass.
A year ago, so many giants still lived among us as we entered 2016—Prince, Harper Lee, David Bowie, Muhammad Ali—only to dissolve from our presence one by one, as we made our way through one of the most discouraging years I can remember.
Our planet was ravaged by cataclysms both natural and otherwise. Unprecedented flooding, drought and blizzards racked North America. Iraq and Syria's war-torn populaces fled for somewhere, anywhere, and were received with little more than fear and suspicion. Simultaneously, the the western world retreated to levels of xenophobia and nationalism not witnessed since the advent of the Cold War 70 years ago.
Wow, okay, I'll just stop there. Obviously I wasn't the only mortal beast left reeling from Shitstorm '16—you were, too, for Pete's sake. How about if we try and take a little of the edge off, eh? Since gratitude is a quality I've never been exactly stellar in recognizing in myself, maybe it's time I celebrated some of humanity's accomplishments over the past year rather than constantly dwelling on the worst we have to offer.
Here's just a sampling of the positive events that helped shape our year:
On May 10, an Indian fertility clinic announced that a 70-year-old woman had given birth to a baby boy. I'm not sure why this needed to happen, but how awesome is it that now we can wait until Social Security kicks in to start a family. Plus, thank God people can finally lay off elderly new parents like Steve Martin, Mick Jagger and the spry Scotsman himself, Rod Stewart:
Apparently, a few of those British are still invading.
On February 17, the oldest known case of human-Neanderthal sex (100,000 years ago) was revealed by the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. Using complicated computer modeling, the humanoid's appearance has now been simulated to a reliability level of 99.9%:
It's never easy to act completely human when deep down, you know you're only half.
And finally, December of this year saw the wedding of my nephew, Andrew. Here's a shot of me with my sister and foster grandpa, obviously still thrilled about his recent murder acquittal:
While it's no secret that attending a friend or relative's nuptials accounts for some of life's most joyous events, this one packed a little extra oomph. You see, here's what Andrew looked like when he entered the scene in the autumn of 1984:
The little guy was smaller than a freaking crusty pup. He was delivered ten weeks premature, weighing two pounds, twelve-and-a half-ounces. Even now, neonatal care is a dicey proposition, and you can imagine how much more so it was thirty-two years ago.
Necessary that he remain at the hospital through his full-term date, Andrew's lungs were so underdeveloped those first weeks that his brain forgot to make them breathe a few times. Thankfully, the University Washington isn't merely one of the best football schools in the earth's history, it's also home to a world-class neonatal facility, and the amazing doctors and nurses at UW Medical Center proved adept at meeting the multitude of challenges inherent in a lad this tiny.
I'll never forget when he finally came home and eventually learned to rock any type of cable knit sweater thrown his way.
When Andrew married Jen earlier this month, I'm sure his parents had a moment, because I sure did. Here he is with his cousins:
And new bride:
He's grown into one of my favorite, 100% human beings...
... I guess 2016 wasn't such a bad year after all.