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Worst. Year. Ever.
By Gloria Diaz
Check out Gloria's Blog — Edge of Gloria!
Fort Wayne Reader
I think most of us can look back at certain years fondly, or not fondly. Certain years may have been great for some of us, but for others, not so much. They look back and say, “yeah, that was the year I gave birth to a serial killer/got married for the third time to yet another jerk/got cancer/lost the house/had root canal/totaled my new car/got fired for photocopying my bare ass/got divorced/busted for selling meth, but I think a lot of us can agree that in general, 2016 was an awful year, especially for several of the world’s icons.
The carnage started in January—some might say, it started a year and a half ago, but I’m getting ahead of myself. I can’t list everyone who died (it would be too damn depressing) but lots of them were legends—people who came into our homes via television every week, or through our radios.
It started with Bowie, I think. We also lost Robert (manager of the Bee Gees) Stigwood, and Long John Hunter, a blues guitarist, before Bowie passed, but damn, David Bowie.
We all have to die sometime, but it’s an uncomfortable fact of life. And to see our icons fall gives us pause. But this year, it was relentless, and as I type this, there are four weeks left in the year. It’s not over yet. The last time I remember so many celebrity deaths occurring, it was 1982.
I’m scrolling through Wikipedia (I know, I know) looking at the people who died in January. There were quite a few from all walks of life: porn actresses, politicians, poets, novelists, musicians, gerontologists, the famous and infamous passed. Some young, some old. Dan Haggerty, Grizzly frickin’ Adams—gone. Sitcom icons from the 1970s: Abe “Fish” Vigoda, Indiana natives Ron “Detective Harris” Glass; Florence “Carol Brady” Henderson. Prince protégé Vanity. Novelists Umberto Eco and Harper Lee—on the same day, no less. Intikhab, a racehorse who died of heart disease. HEART DISEASE. When a racehorse dies of heart disease (okay, he was 22 years old, but still) it makes you want to say, “screw it, he RAN for a living and still died of heart related illness; forget exercising, I’m just going to curl up on the couch and eat potato chips for the rest of my life.”
Garry Shandling. Merle Haggard. Will Smith (the football player, not the Men in Black one).
Nancy Reagan, American blues singer Karen Carroll, mathematician Verena Huber-Dyson, baseball player June Peppas, of the Kalamazoo Lassies from the AAGPBL, Montana politician Carolyn Squires, actress Patty The Patty Duke Show Duke, actress Doris Everybody Loves Raymond Roberts, professional wrestler Chyna, actress Julia Mead, Canadian writer Jo Beverley, Holocaust survivor Hedy Epstein, Holocaust survivor and writer Lois I Know What You Did Last Summer Duncan (trust me, the book is much better than the movie).
Then, there are the animals: Arturo the Argentine polar bear, Pierre the penguin, Harambe the gorilla, several racehorses— Arch, a racehorse, died at 21 from a heart attack. Homeboykris, Leroidesanimaux, Kentucky Derby winner Monarchos, Preakness Stakes Winner Timber Country, and for us, it hit home. Bill the Lion, in April.
And recently, another local legend died. Bob Chase, whose voice I remember as a child, coming out of my dad’s radio, during away games (we had season tickets). I didn’t realize that he’d taken his wife’s maiden name, because his original one was considered too long for broadcasting. That makes him the coolest, in my book.
Then, there’s the presidential election. I refrained from saying anything about it in my column, because frankly I was disgusted that it had come down to this. Two shit sandwiches were pre-selected for us and we had to choose. In a way, I don’t blame the people who didn’t vote out of principle, but on the other hand, we did prove, in a strange way, that color doesn’t matter when it comes to electing a president. White, black, orange? No problem! A part of me was thinking I’d be witnessing history—after the first African-American president had been elected TWICE, I might see the first woman president. No such luck. I’m not happy with having a fuzzy human Cheeto as president, but after doing some reading on the internet, I am understanding why Trump got elected.
But I’ve got plenty of snacks in the house, and some potato chips out in the car. I’m contemplating curling up on the couch for a while.
Maybe the next four years.