Who thinks we should just put up our Christmas trees, give each other presents, drink some champagne, and ring in the New Year? As I try and wrap my head around this thing we call ‘2020’, I realized that I couldn’t even remember all that has happened so far this year. So, let’s take a little trip down Things I Want to Forget About lane.
I think for the country, the year started with Nancy Pelosi refusing to deliver the articles of Impeachment to the Senate. So much has happened since then, that I’ve forgotten why she did it, and I don’t care enough anymore to look it up. Eventually, she turned them over on the 15th, which launched the third Presidential impeachment trial in our country’s history. The trial started the next day.
For me personally, the year started by taking possession of my new store location that went into effect at midnight on January 1st. Moving your business is stressful (and expensive) to say the least. Even after the movers have left, and leave your wallet a lot lighter in the process, there are still a million things to do, like actually unpack all of those boxes sitting in the middle of the floor.
January 8th saw the Duke and Duchess of Sussex walk away from about a billion dollars. That had to be our first warning that this was gonna be a bad year. The 19th of January saw the first mentions of the coronavirus being leaked out of China as it reported its 3rd death from what would eventually become a worldwide pandemic. On the 22nd, the entire city of Wuhan was locked down. The World Health Organization declared it a public health emergency on the 30th.
January was also the month we learned of the tragic loss of Kobe Bryant, his daughter, and seven other people. On the last day of January, the President shut down travel from China, long before we knew what was about to happen. I remember people just wishing January would hurry up and end because things had to get better in February, right? Then it got worse.
I completely forgot about the locust swarms that inundated East Africa that was reported on the 1st. But, on a lighter note, the 2nd was a palindrome day where the numbers read the same backwards and forwards; 02022020. Then things got much, much worse…the Kansas City Chiefs won the Super Bowl.
On the 5th day of the month, the impeachment trial ended with the President being acquitted. The next day was the first reported US death associated with the coronavirus.
After 5 days of deliberations, Harvey Weinstein was found guilty of lots of evils. On the 27th, the DOW Jones Industrial Index suffered its largest single day drop in history. This one hit home for me because I was closing on the sale of my house the next day, and the buyers were financing the sale. Nervous would not be an accurate description of what I felt. Fortunately, the sale went through, and now I had to put the organizing and unpacking of my new store on hold and start packing my house of 17 years. It had been a crazy year to this point already. Then it got worse.
March (when it all hit the fan)
March started out with Flavor Flav getting fired from Public Enemy for supporting Bernie Sanders. I mean, really? The next morning, just after midnight, I was awakened by tornado sirens. My home town, Nashville, Tennessee, took a direct hit in the middle of the night. Luckily, I wasn’t hit by the storm, but as a first responder I was in the middle of the disaster zone for about 14 hours right after it hit. Holy cow, what a trip. That was my 5th or 6th tornado to be in, but my 3rd major one.
On the 9th, Italy went into total lock down. On the 10th, the governor of New York deployed the National Guard to New Rochelle to try and contain the outbreak. On the 11th, the WHO officially declared the coronavirus a worldwide pandemic.
As the coronavirus was exploding around the world, and shutdowns were looming, I’m trying to move out of my house. As colleges and universities started closing and sending students home, moving companies, moving trucks, and storage units became impossible to find. Then, on the same day, we all found out about the toilet paper shortage.
March Madness gets cancelled. The NBA season gets suspended. The NHL season gets suspended. The PGA season gets suspended. NASCAR gets suspended. The MLB season gets suspended. The French Open gets postponed. The Olympics get postponed. And then, just when you think it can’t get worse, Tom Brady signs with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Yikes.
Countries all over the world, in March, closed their borders to outsiders. Massive lock downs had been ordered all over the world by the end of March. Record numbers of Americans filed for unemployment. Three out of four Americans were issued Shelter-in-Place orders.
Concert tours, conventions, and travel plans were cancelled. March was the pivotal month for the worldwide pandemic. It could only get better from here, right? Then it got worse.
April was pretty much Net-flix, day drinking, overeating, and napping.
The month started on April Fool’s Day when I was ordered to shutter my business by order of the health department. Damn. But I wasn’t alone. Millions and millions of others around the country got the same order. But on the bright side, Walmart, Target, Costco, and Sam’s got to stay open and do what every small business in America was told they couldn’t do.
April was the month where unemployment claims rose to the highest levels in history. The stock market was crashing. The GDP was tanking. New York became the epicenter of the pandemic, surpassing Italy and Spain. April also saw the commanding officer of a nuclear powered aircraft carrier being fired. Bernie Sanders dropped out the Presidential primary in April as well. If only Flavor Flav could have held out his endorsement he’d still have a job today. Oh yeah, this was also the month that oil turned negative for the first time in history and producers began paying people to take it off their hands.
But, there was a bright spot in April. Although the first half of the month was just an extension of March, the second half of the month was when lock downs and restrictions started easing.
Netflix, day drinking, overeating, and napping continued as a national pastime.
Unemployment claims hit 20% in May. Two months earlier, unemployment was at a 50 year low at 3.5%. Dang. But, greenhouse gasses dropped 17% during May, proving there is always a silver lining if you look for it.
The rest of the month was a mix of good news and bad news. One bright spot was Space X launched astronauts into space for the first time in 9 years from American soil. On the bad side, May was the month George Floyd was murdered, setting off protests around the world.
Uh…we don’t talk about that one!
Due to publishing deadlines, that’s where I’m at right now. As I’ve written here many times during this pandemic, don’t listen only to the experts, listen to your gut as well. Most of them are only experts because some media talking head calls them an expert. Unless you know them, and their work, personally, take it with a grain of salt. The next steps in this disaster are all about personal accountability. Find your comfort level, and operate within that framework. If someone infringes on your comfort level, walk away. And mostly, remember this:
You do You!
Stay safe everyone. And don’t forget, those murder hornets are still out there waiting to be released.