If 2017 was better than 2016, it was only a matter of degrees. We didn’t have to relive the skullfuckery of Election Night, but we had to confront its spray-tanned aftermath. Travel bans, tax bills, neo-Nazis…all things 2016 doomed us to deal with. But not everything was shit, and it’s worth remembering what made life a little easier as we wait for Little Rocket Man and the Dotard to kill us all.
10. Moonlight won Best Picture.
I can count on one hand the number of times the best film of the year actually won the Oscar for Best Picture. That is good news enough, but the surprising wrong-envelope defeat of bland La-La Land was doubly satisfying. The adrenaline rush from that moment carried me through at least a week of bad news.
9. Our new cats.
Last December, we had to euthanize our beloved cat Alfie. At the time, it felt like we were done with felines, but the year brought us two new friends–the 11 year old Sophia and a kitten named Olivia. Nothing gets me to sleep faster than a purring cat in my ear, so their arrivals made my nights so much easier.
8. Bicycle rides.
If I had a dollar for everyone who has talked to me about that blind guy who rides a bike and clicks his tongue for echolocation, I could buy a driverless car from Google and give them all the finger. I did go one a few bike trips this year, though, thanks to my friend Tony and his tandem recumbent bike. I can sit in the back and enjoy the breeze, without having to worry about running over anyone. I don’t even have to click.
Kendrick Lamar’s dense, lyrical masterpiece is by far the best album I listened to this year. “LOVE.” and “DNA.” are standouts, but it holds together as a conceptual whole, tuneful and provocative.
A lot of scumbag guys had a bad year in 2017. Some men had to apologize for bad behavior, while others lost their jobs and may be facing criminal repercussions. The surprise here isn’t that women have been staring down awful behavior–of course they have–but that for the first time their assailants were being held accountable. Now, if only we can deal with the creep at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue…
5. Doug Jones joined the Senate.
Speaking of which, fuck Roy Moore and everything he represents. Seriously, this pedophile bigot would have been the worst senator since Caligula’s horse.
4. I saw Hamilton.
This might seem like bragging, but I got my tickets at face-value, so I’m not trying to assert my status here. I took my daughter, and she loved it. Highlight: meeting director Thomas Kail, who could not have been nicer.
3. My sister got married.
For a brief moment and for the first time in years, we were all together again. Molly lives outside of Atlanta, so our face-to-face interactions have been limited recently. It was nice to have all three of my sisters and my parents in one place, even if only for an afternoon.
2. Our children.
Mia learned to swim and ride a bike in the same week. Ian learned to read. Both of them smiled and laughed and hugged and got on my nerves (but not too much). Parenting is hard, but the rewards are amazing.
1. My new job.
For almost two years, I was a stay-at-home dad taking two naps a day and eating ice cream sandwiches for lunch. Now, I’m the historian-in-residence at the Presidential Pet Museum. I’ve written (and published) a children’s book, been interviewed by CNN and the BBC, gone ghost-hunting, and I still eat ice cream sandwiches for lunch. Life is good.
Happy New Year!