This week, 2020 will come to a close and I, like most other people, will be glad to see it go. It has been the most aggravating, annoying, grief-inducing, depression-invoking, lousiest year ever. It’s unprecedented.
Many things were unprecedented. The fires in the western US were unprecedented. The numbers of acres burned and homes lost were unprecedented. COVID-19 was unprecedented. Its vaccine development was unprecedented. Some of the president’s actions were unprecedented. Congressional fighting was unprecedented. The number of hurricanes this year was unprecedented. The number of deaths in the country was unprecedented. The number of times the word “unprecedented” was used was unprecedented.
The places that wildfires ravaged were described as looking like war zones. The places ravaged by hurricanes looked like war zones. The places where riots occurred looked like war zones. Where tornados hit looked like war zones. Flooded areas looked like war zones. Where the camper exploded in Nashville looked like a war zone…well, maybe that’s an accurate description. It was bombed after all.
Along with masks and lockdowns, this has been the year of the small vocabulary. Every news event was unprecedented, and every disaster area looked like a war zone. Broadcasters really need to learn some new synonyms. For those who don’t remember, synonyms are words that have similar meanings.
For example, synonyms of unprecedented are unparalleled, unequalled, extraordinary, exceptional, record-breaking, and atypical. There are more, but even using these would help. It would liven up the broadcasts to hear something has never been seen before rather than hearing it’s unprecedented. My ears can’t take any more unprecedented anythings.
Same with describing every disaster area as a war zone. Have you been to a war zone to actually know? Flood areas could be described as water ravaged areas or places where uncontrolled water washed homes away. Burn areas could be black expanses of destruction, the fires consuming all in their paths. Hurricane and tornado areas could be described as high wind devastation, flattened and blown apart by high velocity vortexes. Anything but war zones. Use some imagination in these descriptions.
I don’t mean to trivialize the events of 2020, but if we don’t laugh a little, we’ll go crazy. Maybe some of us already have. Hundreds of thousands of Americans won’t see 2021 because they died alone in hospitals, unable to breath with their Covid-infected lungs. The social unrest has torn this country apart, maybe even deeper than it did in 1968. A lot of people cannot pay their rent or buy food because of what the pandemic has done to the economy. This has been a year of suffering for many people. It’s time to stand together and help those who need help. We need the peacemakers to lead the rebuilding of relationships and unity.
Here’s wishing we move into precedented times when no records are set and nothing new is found under the sun. Here’s wishing the pandemic comes to an end. Here’s wishing there are no war zone areas needing to be reconstructed and restored. Here’s wishing a much tamer and calmer 2021 for all of us.
Happy New Year!