Requiem for a Year

2014 died this week; it was 1 year old and it kind of sucked

Requiem for a Year
Allison Bayley Illustration

In the waning seconds of Dec. 31, the year 2014 passed away. In accordance with its wishes, 2014's death was commemorated on national television with cheap champagne and squeamishly awkward interactions between Kathy Griffin and Anderson Cooper.

2014 was born on a winter night in January and got off to an unassuming start, accomplishing little of note before making its first splash by bringing us the Winter Olympics. The games were held in Russia, where warm temperatures, weird toilets and the realization that the host country was going to start annexing sovereign nations in a matter of months put a damper on things. But also in the sports world, around this same time, 2014 delivered upon us a moral rightness in the Seattle Seahawks' Super Bowl victory. The year would struggle to top that accomplishment throughout the remainder of its short life.

In a harbinger of things to come, 2014 lost a plane in March. Like, literally lost it. It had no idea what happened to an entire airplane full of people. To cement its status as one of the more irresponsible years on record, 2014 managed to misplace another commercial airliner in December. To 2014, airplanes were just random socks in the dryer.

The year's ineptitude was evidenced by multiple conflicts throughout the world. There were mass kidnappings and the killings of innocent children and other atrocities, which 2014 thought it could make up for by giving us the World Cup, which America learned is "a soccer thing." The year made us think that maybe our country should start caring about soccer things. You know, in a metaphorical sense.

But then 2014 got Ebola and started spreading that shit all over the place. Well, mostly in Africa, and all that World Cup goodwill went out the window. American folks lost their minds, and their collective sense of basic scientific fact, when someone in Dallas came down with the disease. Then everyone in America forgot all about Ebola, right around the time of 2014's half-assed, sparsely voted-in midterm elections. We didn't need to be afraid any more, apparently. Meanwhile, Ebola remained very much alive in Africa.

Realizing that perhaps people needed to chill out a bit, 2014 experimented with marijuana retail stores. Suddenly, scoring some bud didn't require you to know a buddy whose brother knew a guy. The process merged the wonder of a toy store with the please-follow-the-velvet-ropes protocol of a very chill DMV. Not coincidentally, fast food menus threw up their hands and said. "Screw it. You stoners want burritos with Fritos inside of them? F--- it, give us a dollar at the next window."

To give credit where credit is due, 2014 did accomplish some cool things in outer space. It gave us proof of methane on Mars and saw some scientist land a spacecraft on a comet. The latter was the result of a drunken night in which 2014 made a series of outrageous bets with a group of rocket scientists.

The last few months of the year were marked by racial unrest sparked by the killing of unarmed citizens by police officers across the U.S. You would think 2014 would have used this as an opportunity to bring together divergent viewpoints for an educated and thoughtful discussion on the state of race in America. Instead, because it was busy with Tinder or helping Seth Rogen mess with the North Koreans, among other distractions, 2014 let this racial tension serve only as a chance to reveal how racist your friends are on Facebook.

2014 was preceded in death by its siblings, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008 and so on. It is survived by its recent offspring, 2015, which is expected to be a lot like 2014 but with a lot more Republican influence. In lieu of flowers, 2015 asks that you celebrate the life of 2014 by just shrugging and trying to forget it ever existed. ♦

Polar Bears and Global Warming: Connecting the Dots to the Rest of Us @ Gonzaga University Hemmingson Center

Wed., Sept. 28, 6 p.m.
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About The Author

Mike Bookey

Mike Bookey was the culture editor for The Inlander from 2012-2016. He previously held the same position at The Source Weekly in Bend, Ore.