"2020 Rated Worst Year Ever, Provided You Never Lived At Any Other Time In History"

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From the Babylon Bee. And trust me, the Babylonians know about bad years.

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  1. I get that it was a humor piece. But, if one were to take it seriously, I think the response would be, "Hey, the way normal people speak; when they say, 'Worse year ever!' . . . what they really mean is: 'Worst year ever IN MY OWN EXPERIENCE.' " (i.e., "Worst year ever for me.")

    2020 was the worst year ever for me. It wasn't terribly bad for me, compared to people who, well, died. Or got horribly sick from Covid19. Or got horribly sick from cancer, etc., etc.. Or lost a child to Covid or to cancer or to a car accident or . . . . But, compared to my previous half-century of life on Earth, this one did suck big-time. Covid's influence, and Trump's (almost-)daily shitstorm led to 10 months (and counting!) of bad and depressing news.

    I doubt I'm alone.

    Sorry to end the year with linguistic Grinchiness.

    1. (I'll point out that the linked piece is worth reading. It was [intentionally!] funny that the writer included--in the list of true horribles--mock travails like having to use rotary phones and having to look up words in physical dictionaries.)

      1. I'd have added using the Sears catalog for toilet paper...

    2. People might think they mean IN MY EXPERIENCE but they are lying to themselves. We easily forget bad things There are probably people alive now who forget how hard and long they spent looking for a job after the Y2K or 2006/7/8 busts, or went through a nasty divorce and are now so happily married again that the divorce is just a dim memory.

    3. I get that it was a humor piece. But, if one were to take it seriously...

      Then one would be completely missing the point of humor.

      1. Heh. Fair point, I guess.

    4. Just wait till the President Xiden dementia administration.

      1. Better that than an administration led by a malevolent, narcissistic, compulsively lying moron leading an army of poltroons.

    5. I didn't think it was too bad, and I had a good excuse for not having too interact with other people which is just gravy.

      But I've had a lot worse years to compare it too. I remember 2008 especially when my wife and I both got cancer diagnosisi in the same week. Her 2nd in 2 years, my first, but we both lived thru it even though the treatment was tanamount to torture.

      My mother I'm sure could top any of my travails, her father died of TB in 1931 leaving her mother with 5 kids to raise, that couldn't of been a picnic. Of course my mother had to do it all over again when she was widowed in '57 with three kids and pregnant with another. She's 92 now and always sees the bright side of everything. But she'd probably kick someone's ass if she heard them complaining 2020 was the worst year ever.

  2. Yeah, but it wasn't just "walking miles to school", it was UPHILL BOTH WAYS! The Bee blew it.

    My wife and I are both retired, so no income lost. We have lost no relative or close friend to Covid. Our grandchildren are in private schools that seem to be functioning fairly well.

    As usual, it's the folks in the middle and down to the bottom who suffer the most.

    But, yes, we can always use a laugh. So thank God for the Bee! I recommend Dave Barry's year-end review for further laughs.

    1. link to it???

      1. Er open your browser, go to a search engine, type "dave barry year in review 2020"

        Choose your favorite link. Also it was linked to here at Volokh a couple of days ago.

    2. Eh, my wife has you beat: She grew up in the rural Philippines, she had to ford a river each way going to school, carrying her school clothes over her head, and then dress in the bushes before continuing on her way.

    3. Yeah, but it wasn’t just “walking miles to school”, it was UPHILL BOTH WAYS!

      Barefoot, in the snow!

      1. Oh, and....we used to dream of living in a corridor!

      2. The worst part was the wolves. To get to school, we would invite the girls to walk with us. When the wolves attacked the slowest among us, usually the girls, would be eaten. That's how we assured when we grew up, we would only be surrounded by fast women

  3. Human happiness/misery seems a lot more about change of circumstances than the absolute quality of the status quo.

    1. There is a fantastic book, 'Five Years to Freedom' by James Rowe. He was captured by the VC in 1963 and escaped five years later. He was one of the few (only?) POW held in South Vietnam to survive.

      Anyway, they kept him in a bamboo box, about 3 ft wide, 3 feet tall, and 6 feet long, and at night clamped his legs in wooden stocks. He talks about the pain from laying all night on the bamboo slats. And he was on starvation rations, beri-beri, dysentery, mosquitos, torture, you get the idea. And he made friends with a rat, which he used to feed from his meager rations. Then one day the rat stopped coming! He was distraught ... he had lost his only friend. He writes how happy, even joyous, he was when the rat returned. It's an extraordinary story.

      So yes, we key on the delta-happiness a lot more than the absolute happiness.

      1. Reminds me of "A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich" when he manages to get back to the six ounces of bread he'd hidden, it's a pretty ecstatic time.

  4. There have definitely been worse years. Even sticking with the human disease theme, the 1918 flu with which we so often compare COVID is really no comparison - we'd have to have 50x the COVID deaths which have occurred so far to be in Spanish Flu territory in terms of global per capita mortality for the pandemic as a whole.

    Getting less parochial as to era and species, the year that the Chicxulub impactor hit the Yucatan peninsula about 66M years ago was definitely not a good one for non-avian dinosaurs - every last individual was wiped out. (On a brighter note, it was a boon for our mammalian ancestors.)

    But there are bad years and there are bad years. If life is widespread in the cosmos, there are likely life-bearing planets that have found themselves in the path of a nearby gamma ray burst, which are potentially lethal from a distance of hundreds of light years. And given that the most powerful GRBs are many times brighter than the most powerful supernovae, and (as xkcd famously noted) a supernova 93 million miles away would deliver a *billion times* more energy to your eyeball than would a hydrogen bomb exploding *while touching your eyeball*, it seems a safe bet that any life on a planet lucky enough to be orbiting a star as it emits a GRB in the direction of the planet (GRBs are narrow-beam) would simply become plasma. In other words, essentially none of its atoms would survive intact. Which in a certain narrow sense must qualify as the ultimate bad year.

  5. Sadly, a lot of people believe, act and live as if history only began the day they were born. So things like our everyday miracles, like clean, safe water, pretty much everywhere they go, is lost on them.

    Maybe a week or two in a "S.E.A.R." course should be added, to the College or Senior High School curriculum to help them with a more practical perspective?

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