Asked to summarize 2020 in one phrase, humorist Dave Barry wrote “Four Seasons Total Landscaping.” Perfect. Donald Trump’s wacko coup attempt, along with the Covid-19 plague, dominated the news late in the year, and nowhere was the Trump legal team’s surreal stupidity showcased more vividly than at the Four Seasons news conference in Philadelphia.
“What’s stupid about the Four Seasons?” Swamp Rabbit said regarding Barry’s dispatch. “I thought it was one of them luxury hotels.”
“That’s the Four Seasons in Center City,” I said. “Four Season Total Landscaping is near the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge, in the middle of nowhere, next to Fantasy Island Adult Books and across the street from the Delaware Valley Cremation Center. Rudy Giuliani and some other Trump flunkies scheduled a news conference to challenge the reality of Trump’s electoral defeat, but they got confused and booked it at the landscaping business instead of the hotel, and that’s where it was held. “
As Barry wrote in his year-end review for Washington Post, “We are not making this up. Nobody could make this up.”
Swamp Rabbit wanted to hear some happy stories from 2020, but the news was all bad:
+ Despite advice from medical experts, right-wingers everywhere refused to wear masks to help protect themselves and others from Covid-19, which had killed almost 350,000 Americans by New Year’s Day. “They’d rather die than put on a mask and be mistaken for a Democrat,” Swamp Rabbit explained.
+ Despite widespread hardship caused by Covid-19, Senate Republican leaders blocked a measure to increase direct stimulus payments from $600 to $2,000.
+ About 74 million Americans voted to re-elect Trump despite his impeachment and his election-related decision to deny the seriousness of Covid-19. Despite his suggestion that ingesting bleach might kill the virus!
+ Overpopulation, deforestation, wet markets and the illegal wildlife trade continued unabated despite evidence that these problems expose humans to pathogens like Covid-19.
+ Record-breaking wildfires, heat waves and hurricanes battered the United States and the rest of the world. A 100-degree day in Siberia was recorded. Meanwhile, Republicans continued to deny the reality of climate change and the importance of slowing it by investing in clean energy.
“Enough, I don’t want to hear no more,” Swamp Rabbit said. “Why don’t you just wish everybody Happy New Year and tell them the dark days are over and done?”
“Okay, the dark days are done,” I said, handing him my sunglasses. “The future’s so bright, you better wear these.”
Clarification: Mark Twain actually wrote “Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn’t.” The shorter version of this quotation (see above) is catchier and thus more commonly cited, even though Twain probably never said it.