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In short, 2016 really sucked.

Saying Good-bye and Good Riddance to 2016

new-year-2017

Let me start by saying that I have always hated New Year’s Eve. Of all the potentially depressing nights of the year, it rises above the rest as the cream of the crop. When I was younger I went to parties on this night with my family and then as I got older with friends, but it just seemed like insanity to me to wait until that ball dropped in Times Square (and no matter where I have been over all these years someone always manages to have a TV on with coverage of the ball dropping) and then scream, shout, and sing the song “Auld Lang Syne” for which I know not the words or the meaning of them.

I have never understood the reason why everyone was celebrating the fact that we all got a year older; however, since 2016 has been such a depressing year for everyone, I might spin a noisemaker or toot a horn just to get 2016 out the door because in my lifetime I have never wanted a year to end more than this one.

The losses of famous people this year have been staggering – sometimes it seemed like one after the other like dominoes. These deaths have affected people in different ways, but mostly it is the sense of our inability to process how so many icons could be lost in such a short time span. However, an interesting CNN report breaks down the 2016 losses in categories like sports, music, acting, etc. and shows how there have been some worse years for losses than 2016.

Since we lived through this year most recently and are dealing with emotions here, these facts don’t seem to matter that much. The losses of 2016 have taken a toll on our collective consciousness, and it is difficult to see how we can be assuaged with thoughts of other years being worse. The reason why the loss of these very public figures hurts so much is because each of us sees their passing away in a deeply personal way.

newyears7The year kicked off badly for me with Wayne Rogers passing away. He played Trapper John on the TV series M*A*S*H for the first three seasons of its run, and I felt this one especially since I had been a fan of the show and of Rogers particularly. Even though the series would go on eight more seasons without him, I always enjoyed the episodes that he appeared in the most.

I suppose that the loss of Rogers was a foreshadowing of the losses to follow. I could put a list here of all the people who passed away since January 1, but there are many of these lists available online that give details about each person lost, and this makes it easier for people to search for those lost who mattered most to them.

In a year with so many people lost, the accumulated heft of their passing weighs on our minds. We realize mortality is for everyone – even those we hold in such high regard. Some of these losses hit me harder than others, so here is my very subjective list of losses that affected me the most:

Acting

 

new-year1Kenny Baker: played R2-D2 in Star Wars films

Carrie Fisher: played Princess Leia in Stars Wars films

Anton Yelchin: Chekhov in recent Star Trek films, gone way too soon

Gene Wilder: star of one of my all-time favorite films Young Frankenstein

Alan Rickman: Snape in the Harry Potter films and Hans in Die Hard

Florence Henderson: played everyone’s favorite Mom – Mrs. Brady

 

new-year-5Music

 

George Martin: more the “5th Beatle” than anyone else

Glenn Frey: creative force behind The Eagles

David Bowie: iconic and innovative singer

Paul Kanter: of Jefferson Airplane and Starship

Prince: the one and only

 

newyear2Sports

 

Jose Fernandez: Marlins’ pitcher gone way too soon

Muhammad Ali: truly the “Greatest” boxer of all time

Arnold Palmer: indeed the master of the golfing world

Tray Walker: NFL player – another gone way too soon

 

newyear3Writers

 

Harper Lee: her To Kill a Mockingbird is one of my favorite books.

W.P. Kinsella: his book inspired one of my favorite films Field of Dreams.

Elie Wiesel: Holocaust survivor and recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize

Edward Albee: legendary playwright

 

newyear6Public Figures

 

John Glenn: astronaut and U.S. Senator

Gwen Ifill: newscaster

John MacLaughlin: newscaster

Morely Safer: legendary 60 Minutes reporter

 

I know that we lost many more people this year, but these were the ones that stopped me cold each time I heard the news of their passing away. Some of them I looked up to as a kid or admired as an adult. In some cases the things they accomplished in life impressed me or left an impression on me, and some of their work changed me or touched me forever.

Now that they are gone the world is a darker place. Besides losing so many amazing people, we had the acrimonious presidential campaign, the post- election rancor, the ongoing horror in Syria, the continuing battle against ISIS, and plenty of assorted other matters to worry about. In short, 2016 really sucked.

Tonight at midnight I will say nothing like a fond farewell to 2016; instead, I will kick its ass out the door, while welcoming the little infant 2017 with all the warmth I can muster. Here’s hoping that 2017 is an infinitely better year for one and all.


About Victor Lana

Victor Lana's stories, articles, and poems have been published in literary magazines and online. His books 'A Death in Prague' (2002), 'Move' (2003), 'The Savage Quiet September Sun: A Collection of 9/11 Stories' (2005), and 'Like a Passing Shadow' (2009) are available in print, online, and as e-books. His latest books 'If the Fates Allow: New York Christmas Stories,' 'Garden of Ghosts,' and 'Flashes in the Pan' are available exclusively on Amazon. He has won the National Arts Club Award for Poetry, but has concentrated on writing mostly fiction and non-fiction prose in recent years. He has worked as a faculty advisor to school literary magazines and enjoys the creative process as a writer, editor, and collaborator. He has been with 'Blogcritics Magazine' since July 2005 and has written well over 500 articles; previously co-head sports editor, he now is a Culture and Society editor. Having traveled extensively, Victor has visited six continents and intends to get to Antarctica someday where he figures a few ideas for new stories await him.

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