Opinion: Goodbye, 2016: May you eternally rot

Matt Poe

Let me start the final column of the semester with two things: first, some inspiration for this column came from a segment during talk show host John Oliver’s “Last Week Tonight” in the final episode of the year, titled “— 2016.” Obviously, a more colorful word was substituted for blank, but I’ve been informed we can’t put it in print.

Tragic, I know.

Second, I’d like to thank everyone for their continuing support and readership of this column. Remember, we do this for the people. Now, on to business.

To categorize this year as beyond strange would be a great disservice and underselling 2016 entirely. In my short time on this planet, I can’t remember a wackier, more odd or downright rotten year than this one. What started as a year filled with hope, in many areas, suddenly turned into a fizzled year filled with more controversy, violence and negativity than in recent memory.

This year saw many influential figures depart from the world far too soon: David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Gene Wilder and Prince in the entertainment world. Gordie Howe, Muhammad Ali and Arnold Palmer in the sporting world. Respected journalists like Morley Safer and Gwen Ifill. All icons in their own rights who behind great legacies. And all gone far too soon.

There’s plenty of other influential people I’m forgetting, but I digress.

It wasn’t just notable deaths that made 2016 so lousy. Police brutality, incidents of mass violence, racial tension and a national divide in this country that hasn’t been felt in decades all clouded the year in a fog of pessimism.

The election itself caused a massive hangover (both metaphorically and literally) that seemed to sludge its way to an end most of us didn’t see coming. Now-President-elect Donald Trump’s victory of the presidency alone made this entire year feel like something out of “The Twilight Zone” or a George Orwell novel. Continued political tension in the Middle East and Russia certainly didn’t make matters any better this year.

My own 2016 experience wasn’t much better: I got rejected on almost every internship and job offer, my love life completely fell apart and I struggled with periods of anxiety and depression, coping in ways only a stubborn mule like myself would do instead of seeking proper help. Most of those problems pale in comparison to problems others face in this country and around the world — believe me, I know.

Suffice to say, this entire year felt off and I think most of us would agree. If your 2016 was nothing short of incredible, well, congratulations! I’m happy for you, truly (sticks potato in person’s car muffler).

There’s still a lot to look forward to and be positive about; after all, an entire year can’t only be mired in misery. Sure, there’s a lot that’s going to feel strange (like the orange guy in the Oval Office), and we could easily suffer from the same mistakes and problems that plagued us in 2016 on so many levels.

But for me, I’m ready to wash my hands of this year. I’m looking forward to 2017 — maybe more than any year in my life. So, join me as we walk in unison and say a big, fat goodbye to 2016.

Instead of trying to forget those problems, let’s do all we can to learn from them and solve them socially, politically and individually. Oftentimes, we make things harder than they should be, and I think that was evident in 2016.

I leave you with this: keep doing what you love and I’ll talk to you in the new year.

It’s with that thought I say this: I am ready to fully embrace 2017, and I hope you’ll do the same. After all, it can’t be any worse than 2016 was, right? Right? (Nervous chuckle).

Matt Poe is a columnist, contact him at [email protected]