I’ve made several attempts over the past couple of days to write a pithy, humorous, bemused yet insightful retrospective of the year now ending, but nothing came out except hiss. I can barely remember 2018. It’s all a blur. I had to ask Kathy last night whether something that happened last April actually occurred this year, or 2017, or what? 2016? I couldn’t tell you any more what went on yesterday, let alone last frigging April. It’d be dead easy to pin a murder on me. Ever see those crime shows, like Dateline, when the cops get a poor chump in the box and grill him on his exact whereabouts on a Tuesday morning a year and a half ago? Where were you at 8:30 AM on Tuesday, February 7, hairball?
I’d just sit there staring at them. The fuck should I know? Am I absolutely sure that in the early morning of February 7, a Tuesday by the way, I wasn’t in a parking lot in front of a 7/11 on the corner of 5th and Main, whacking a guy named Alfredo, who used to work in the same warehouse as me, back when? Beats me. I doubt it, on general principles, but all I could do to prove it is offer that I never get up that early any more. That, and according to my iPhone I never strayed more than 28 feet from my sofa all year, but to be honest, I’m usually not carrying it, because nobody ever phones me.
Try it yourself. What happened in 2018? Are you sure? For example, I note that here in Toronto, Canada, this guy is running my Provincial Government:
When did that happen? I thought we had an unpopular lesbian in the Premier’s office. Was there a coup? Or worse, an election? Shit, nobody asked the general population to pick a new government, did they?
Wasn’t it this year that we had this whiny little bitch vying for a slot on SCOTUS?
He didn’t get the job, did he?
Try this: which of the following didn’t happen in 2018:
a) Trump gets out of Air force One in Tel Aviv and tells Bibi Netanyahu that he just got back from the Middle East.
b) Trump vows that the U.S. Army will shoot any women and children who throw sticks and stones at the Border Patrol.
c) Paul Ryan bragged that his tax cut was adding enough to a constituent’s paycheque every week, a whopping $1.50, that now she could pay for a membership at Costco.
d) The Mooch came and went.
e) The President of the United States, in an official statement issued on White House stationery, intended to serve as US Government policy, deals with the charge that a Saudi potentate ordered the murder of a Washington Post columnist by allowing “maybe he did, maybe he didn’t”.
f) The Trump Official Certified Lie Counter ticked past 5,000.
Don’t look at me for the answers, I couldn’t tell you. They all happened a while back, I’m guessing, or maybe not quite that long ago, OK? Why’re you giving me the Third Degree here? You got a computer, don’t you? Google it.
Luckily, for mnemonic purposes, one of the most wonderful feats in the history of political sleight of hand, one of the things I’ll always, always be abnormally keen to recall, it’s just that stupendous, happened only yesterday. I only heard about it today, so I should always be able to state, with atypical confidence, something along the lines of “oh yeah, that happened right at the end of the year, pretty much the last day in 2019, or 18, something like that”.
What on Earth happened, that could possibly get me so excited? Oh, sweet Mother of God, it’s so choice: all at the same time, all across the media landscape, Republicans, desperately shucking and jiving as their President pouts his way through a government shutdown, insisting that either he gets his border wall or he’ll hold his breath until he goes blue in the face, started spouting a new talking point. The best ever talking point. Brace yourself, now:
The Wall is just a metaphor.
Holy shit! It is? Why didn’t you say so in the first place?? I can get happy with that. I can get behind a wall that’s just a frigging metaphor, you bet I can. Wow, I mean, you guys really had me going, like when you planted all those formidable and very three dimensional material objects south of San Diego and called them “prototypes”, remember those?
I thought you were serious! Really! I took you literally! Then you come out in front of the mic and blow gales through the blades of the windmills in my mind, like the kid in the Matrix who tells Keanu Reeves there is no spoon.
Geez, guys, you know, this could have saved us all a lot of time and needless hassle. I doubt there’s a weak-assed liberal snowflake anywhere who’s not up for funding a metaphor, hell, metaphors don’t actually cost anything, do they? They’re purely conceptual, isn’t that the idea? Or maybe you buy them, all right, but with a crypto-currency of your own invention? Look, you can have two metaphors. Have three. And hey, now that you’re in a mood to explain things more clearly, which other planks in the Republican platform are metaphorical? The Muslim ban, say – was that just a metaphor for better airport screening or something?
This changes everything. This is fantastic. This is a great way to end 2018. The wall is a metaphor. Genius! Twenty years from now, I’ll be nattering to some stranger on a park bench about the great revelation of the last day of the year, in 2018, or 19, I think, when the Republicans revealed all to be nothing but semantics, metaphysics, and things that go poof.
Oh, and happy fucking new year.