To start, I hope each and every one of you had a wonderful, peaceful, safe, and fruitful holiday season. I know I certainly enjoyed mine, though it was mildly bittersweet knowing that it was my last, ‘baby’s first Christmas’. I know some of you are saying right now; “Yeah, he’s said that before.” This time I really mean it. In fact my Christmas present from Me, to Me was a procedure to ensure that I will no longer be swimming laps in the gene pool. And just because it was performed in the back of a van with no windows parked behind the Wal Mart loading dock in the middle of the night by a guy wearing a hoodie with only a bottle of cheap gin and a Swiss Army knife as his equipment, I’m pretty confident it took. He seemed like an honest guy and his homemade business card made him seem pretty reputable. Well, the price was right, and I was already at the store anyway, so what the hell.

Kidding aside, watching four of my five children enjoy Christmas morning reminded me of why I exist. Even the little guy, who being only 3-months-old couldn’t fully grasp what was going on, still had excitement glistening in his little ice blue eyes and in his cherubic smile. And what’s cuter than a 15-pound human in a Santa outfit?

Next, I’d like to apologize for being a bit sporadic and a little behind with my recent posts. To say that I’ve had a lot going on would be about as gross an understatement as saying that the movie Waterworld came in slightly under its initial projected earnings. Or that Hurricane Katrina was a mild meteorological inconvenience. Two examples is enough, moving on. Between my two jobs, my five kids, the holidays, my completely neurotic personality, and my almost daily bouts with domestic mutiny, I’ve been essentially, metaphorically running a triathlon in quicksand for the last month or so.

This is around the time that I do my annual ‘year in review’ piece. That’s another reason I’m a little behind. I don’t think I’ll garner much resistance or arguments when I say that the year 2015 can best be described as “forgettable”. I’ve written, and rewritten this one already a few times to try and not make it so dark and depressing. Now while there were in fact some really great things that happened this past year (not the least of which was the birth of my aforementioned son), on the whole, I won’t look back on it as one of the better ones globally. To put it in perspective, I believe that when my newborn son is a grown man and looks back at the top 50 headlines from the year he was born his response will be something along the lines of; “dude, what the hell were you guys thinking?!” Fortunately for me, at that point, I’ll just stare blankly at him, crap my pants and reply; “who the hell are you and where is my giraffe?!”

I could spend the rest of this piece writing a macabre recount of the events of the last 12 months while the Simon and Garfunkel song “Bookends” plays in our heads as the soundtrack. But instead, I’ve opted to employ my last remaining marketable resource, which is of course my innate gift of sarcasm. So while I review the highlights from a year’s worth of some of the most ridiculous shit any of us have ever heard of, I’ll try to find the twisted, dark humor in each example.

It was another year of mindless, pointless terrorist attacks worldwide claiming thousands of innocent lives in the name of whatever psycho-babble bullshit they saw fit. Each with groups of cowardly, Barbaric scumbags stampeding over each other to claim responsibility like bulls in the streets of Pamplona.

We saw the rapid and seemingly perpetual ascension of that cute little group of humanitarians we now know as ISIS doing things routinely that we couldn’t imagine in our worst nightmares. These spineless clowns are such huge assholes that if Atilla The Hun himself could be reincarnated for just one day he’d plead to them; “man, you guys are way out of control. Why not reel it in a bit?”

We got to see the New England Patriots get yet another Super Bowl victory. Sort of. After stumbling backwards into the Championship game, cheating their way into the Super Bowl, and not winning the game by any means, just watching the other team give it away with arguably the worst play call in the history of professional football. And who could ever get tired of seeing such sportsmen and class acts as Tom Brady and Bill Belichick hoist another Lombardi trophy? The fact that these two pieces of garbage will both be in the Hall of Fame sickens me.

Keeping with the theme of sports, I watched one of my childhood heroes decide that he wanted to be the first person to grace both the front of a box of Wheaties and the cover of Vanity Fare. A move which evidently in 2015 was enough to garner the Arthur Ashe Courage Award from that laughing stock network that once reported sports. I’m also trying to still wrap my head around how someone with the same reproductive apparatus as me can be named “Woman of the Year”.

We saw racial tensions return to a peak they haven’t hit in 50 years as the result of a series of events.

We saw riots, violence, destruction and just rampant pointless lunacy in cities and towns across America in the name of “peaceful protests”.

We learned that while our teachers, soldiers, fire fighters, nurses, and law enforcement officers are working their tails off and struggling to feed their own families while quietly making better lives for the rest of us, a baseball pitcher can earn $24,000,000.00 a year to come out and work about every 4 or 5 days (during the season).

What a great message to send to our youth. Do I make my kids study, or teach them to throw a splitter? Welcome to America, land of mixed messages and hypersensitivities.

Natural disasters ravaged the globe once again also claiming thousands of innocent lives. But at least there always seems to be someone around to soften the blow with phrases like; “the Lord works in mysterious ways”, or “it was God’s will”. That always makes me feel better.

We lost B.B. King, but we still have Michael Moore. Yippeee!

Kim and Kanye were kind enough to soil up the human race with yet another unfortunate byproduct of their ill advised copulation. Because the first compass directionally monikered spawn wasn’t enough, they had to pour all of that stupid and arrogance into the murky gene pool again.

Workplace and school shootings continue. We now have “Common Core” in our schools which is the complete opposite of “Common Sense”, the phrase “reputable news outlet” is now oxymoronic, and we as a species have completely lost our ability to think for ourselves. The movie Idiocracy was intended to be a comedy originally, but is now rapidly proving to be a prophetic documentary. And Thomas Jefferson has to be spinning in his grave screaming; “why didn’t you people listen to anything I said?!”

And yet we persevere. As perpetually cynical and consummately bitter as I seem, I’m secretly a an unwavering optimist. People will tend to be stupid, Mother Nature will get a little bitchy from time to time, and violent jackasses will find ways to justify their actions. But I see glimmers of hope each and every day. There are diamonds in the rough to be found everywhere if you’re willing to look. I have a bright hope for the future which I see every morning in the eyes of my own children and in so many other places. If every one of us started each day by looking in the mirror and saying; “I’m not going to be a jerk today”, it would be a pretty good start. So if any of you were still deciding on a new year’s resolution, I’ve just provided you with one. I could have gotten about 10 more pages out of this diatribe, but I’m going to wrap it up there.

I welcome 2016 with open arms and having nothing but high hopes for it. Thanks for playing along.

Until next week, Syd Nichols