The other day I asked some people to describe the year 2020 with a comparison. Here were my favorites:
“2020 is an itchy rash, but one that you can’t resist scratching because you need some relief. That few seconds of feeling good then causes your skin to bleed and burn for hours.”
“I’ve said it a thousand times: it’s a dumpster fire.”
“It’s like diarrhea got elected to control the world for a year. We should have known that s&*! would move fast.”
“It’s what the gutters feel like during Mardi Gras. The trash just keeps coming.”
I’m not the only one asking strangers mask-to-mask to solidify the unfamiliar sensations of this year into an understandable, and possibly universal, comparison or phrase. Dictonary.com completed the same task, but they limited their participants to a single word (omnishambles is my personal favorite from that list). Others played on the whole 2020 pairing, such as medium.com that curated their responses into 20 words that represent 2020.
It’s not surprising that words like “hellacious,” “anti-woke,” “woof,” “hindsight,” and a lexicon that lends itself to the pessimistic are in the popular lead for descriptive reactions to the year. No matter if we take the chance of travel or isolate ourselves for yet another month, it sucks. In fact, it led me to my own encapsulating metaphor of 2020.
It’s a turkey’s wishbone. Think about it: first the turkey is hung and has its throat slit. Then its feathers are plucked from its body. After its probed and stuffed, it’s cooked on high, hellish heat for hours. Yet, that’s all done for the sake of eating, so we can make some sense of those actions. Well, let’s get to that wishbone. Standing over the consumed corpse of this turkey, people pull out the wishbone and break it. Like killing and eating the bird wasn’t enough; now we want to break its bone for a wish that we know will never come true. Imagine being that wishbone and surviving all of that to just end up broken for a vaporous wish. Voila, there you have 2020, and an analogy just in time for our favorite turkey holiday.
So what if we lean in? Rather than letting the suck take over our lives, which it will inevitably continue to do, what if we grab the suck by the reins and steer it where we want to. We have all been told the topics of conversation to avoid during the holidays: politics, sex, religion, and personal lifestyle choices. Do we really need to walk on eggshells after the year we’ve had?
Before 2020 we avoided conversations about sex or lifestyle choices because there was a fear of being ostracized and isolated from our families. Thanks to Covid-19 and 2020, that fear has already come true . We avoided political conversations because we were afraid that we’d learn someone in our family really is a bigot. Thanks to this election season of 2020, we now have come face-to-face with the political divides in our families.
In other words, let’s get into it, and we are going to help. This whole week we’ll be coming at you with topics you should absolutely usually avoid during the holidays, but hell, it’s 2020, so the gloves are off, even if the mittens are on. It’s time that we took control of the suck, and here’s a few ways to get you started:
Suggestion One: If you live in a tropical area with palm trees, volunteer to put up the lights and spark a conversation about how deep patriarchy goes in this country.
Suggestion Two: If you’re having a Zoomgiving (Yes, I hate that word as much as you do), have some fun with it. Here are my two favorites on how to be your own Zoom-bomber:
Suggestion Three: Take the form of Yoda for the holidays. Maybe you aren’t usually the tea-sipping, everything-is-going-to-be-fine sage in your family, but it’s 2020; none of us know who we are anymore! With that wise seat at the table you can just watch the drama unfold. *Pro-tip, though, don’t be Jar Jar Binks; that’s just unforgivable.
Suggestion Four: In all seriousness, we wish you the best of holidays. Be safe. Be happy. And enjoy this week of holiday conversations that we no longer need to avoid.