Let’s shut down 2018, a doozy of a year
Many people have described 2018 as a terrible year. According to the latest polls, the only thing Americans agree on is that Americans do not agree on anything. At the top of that list is The
Wall. This was also the year there seemed to be much confusion about whether America’s former enemies are now allies, and vice versa.
We also argued about fake news, Robert Mueller, global warming, President Trump’s tweets, Stormy Daniels, collusion, North Korea, Roseanne, Kanye, Comey, Putin, tariffs, and kneeling NFL players.
The midterm elections will be remembered for a nasty Supreme Court nomination battle, and even nastier political commercials. In many cases, the nastiest candidate won, ensuring we will see even more such ads in 2020.
Looking back, it’s hard to get sentimental about a year that brought us hurricanes, wildfires, floods, volcanoes, tsunamis, bombs in the mail, journalists killed, school shootings, scandals, Facebook spying, America’s “favorite Dad” Bill Cosby behind bars, an unstable stock market, and a White House with a staff turnover rate higher than most fast-food places.
Each year, we mourn the loss of loved ones, even those we don’t really know. We lost musical icons like Roy Clark and Aretha Franklin, who had both been ailing. When Aretha sang “You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman” at the Kennedy Center Honors a couple of years ago, we were reminded of how a great entertainer can bring the house down.
We were saddened by the deaths of those we watched in our living rooms, and on the big screens. Burt Reynolds’ rugged-but-charming persona kept us entertained for decades. Penny Marshall’s “Laverne Defazio” would do anything for a laugh, and then she turned her attention to directing some outstanding movies.
We lost leaders like President George H.W. Bush and Senator John Mccain, who had both been struggling with health issues in recent years. The tributes we heard at their memorial services described men who fought for our freedom, and then came home to lead our government with a spirit of compromise and decorum. We also lost former first lady Barbara Bush, who stayed “down to earth” even at the pinnacle of power.
We said goodbye to Tennessee 3rd District Congresswoman Marilyn Lloyd, a trail blazer who won ten consecutive terms on the Democratic ticket. Ironically, her favorite president was “Bush 41,” a Republican. She too, prided herself on country above party.
The voice of college football for my generation was Keith Jackson. The moment we heard him speak, we knew we were about to see the biggest game of the week.
Billy Graham, “the preacher to the presidents” died this year at 99. He couldn’t last forever, although we began to think he might.
I have met only one major league baseball umpire, and he passed away in 2018. Doug Harvey was so good at his job, players referred to him as “the voice of God.” He spent his post-retirement years visiting schools. He urged young athletes to avoid chewing tobacco, citing his own battles with throat cancer. He told me if he convinced just one kid to kick the habit, it was all worthwhile.
2018 was also the year self-driving cars hit the highways, Saudi Arabia finally allowed women to drive, and water was discovered on Mars.
Smartphones were priced at a thousand dollars, at the same time Apple became the nation’s first trillion-dollar company. Clint Eastwood made another movie, making everyone under the age of 88 feel really lazy. Keith Richards somehow made it to 75, giving us all hope. Canada legalized marijuana for recreational use, renewing the call for more states in the US to do the same.
My favorite story of the year was this one. A Norwegian flight from Oslo to Munich had to turn around due to a busted toilet. Ironically, there were 85 plumbers on board, flying to a company convention. You would think these plumbers could take a crack at repairing it, but after seeking clues to the malfunction, they realized they had nothing to go on.
On a personal note, I’ve been blessed with good health, and a terrific family that makes me smile each day. I work with some great people, and my faith in them is affirmed constantly, when I meet folks who tell me how much they appreciate our work.
This column is now carried by fifteen newspapers. I’m grateful for each of them, and the response I get from readers.
2018 was a year like no other, and I have a feeling 2019 will be a doozy as well. Here’s hoping our wounds will heal, and our moods will brighten. Yes, we have our problems, but there’s still no place on Earth I’d rather be.
David Carroll, a Chattanooga news anchor, can be reached by mail at 900 Whitehall Road, Chattanooga, TN 37405 or by email at [email protected]