On the eve of the new year 12 months ago, I called 2015 a turbulent year. I was so young. So innocent. So naive.
If only I knew what was coming.
It’s only normal to recap a year and realize how crazy it was. But it’s safe to say that, even in decades from now, we’ll be looking back in time and remembering how extraordinarily bonkers 2016 was.
The celebrity deaths. The terrorist attacks. This freaking presidential election. And we didn’t even get a new Taylor Swift album to ease the pain.
Damn you 2016. Damn you to hell.
But before we finally turn the page in about 48 hours from now, let’s take a few minutes and reflect on the year that was. Remember, we must closely chart history so that we never make the same mistakes again. (Hint: vote differently in 2020, America.)
So what happened this year?
Well, the year began by giving us a new villain to hate: Ethan Couch, the spoiled 16-year-old brat from Texas who stole beer, then illegally drove drunk and killed four people, never saw jail time because of a bogus “Affluenza” defense, and then two years later in early 2016, he violated parole and fled to Mexico with his mom.
Then David Bowie died.
President Obama delivered his last State of the Union, seemingly unifying America for what only lasted for about an hour. Then Sean Penn somehow managed to interview El Chapo, one of the most wanted drug lords in the world who had magically escaped prison.
Shortly after that, the Iowa caucuses began, giving us upset wins for Ted Cruz and Bernie Sanders. It was the start of a Bernie frenzy that, sadly, would not last. Fortunately, Ted Cruz’s presidential hopes met the same fate.
The threat of the Zika Virus emerged in South America and parts of the U.S. Hey, it’s a lot less scary then Ebola. So if that’s the worst we got, then I’ll take it!
In early February, the most overblown non-news event of the year happened when Beyonce horrified people to their core with her statement-making Superbowl halftime performance. (If only this stayed the most serious issue of 2016.)
An unofficial eighth Harry Potter book was announced, bringing us a nice distraction.
Then Antonin Scalia died, bringing us a months-long saga to fill his seat that still has not ended.
Next, the Apple vs. FBI showdown — deriving from the FBI’s request for Apple to open a locked phone — though it ultimately ended with a whimper.
But it was all OK, because Leo finally won an Oscar!
Erin Andrews won a ton in cash in her peephole lawsuit in March, the Pope joined Instagram, and President Obama became the first sitting president to visit Cuba in more than 60 years.
Brussels was attacked by terrorists on March 22. North Carolina then began its downward descent by limiting transgender rights, a legal mess that is still ensuing today.
April brought us a Villanova championship and the Panama Papers. Oh, and Kobe Bryant retired.
The wonder over who would go on the new $20 bill ended when the U.S. Treasury picked Harriet Tubman.
Then Prince died.
Puerto Rico went into debt, Canada went on fire, and London elected a Muslim mayor.
In late May, Harambe was killed in a Cincinnati, capturing the world’s attention until…
Muhammad Ali died.
Sexual assault on college campuses was brought to the nation’s attention like never before when a Stanford student was given a light sentence for a rape that was viewed by eye witnesses.
Maria Sharapova was suspended shortly after that for using an illegal drug. it made me sad. Later in the year, the suspension was shortened significantly. And I was happy!
In mid-June, tragically, 50 people were shot to death inside of a gay nightclub in Orlando. The mass shooting reignited the gun control debate in dramatic fashion, culminating with a sit-in on the Congressional floor.
Lebron James gave us a nice distraction by bringing a title to Cleveland. But around the same time, a Member of the U.K. Parliament was murdered, underscoring the wild tension in the country surrounding Brexit, a vote that began a populist wave across western democracies.
Terrorism continued into the late summer, with suicide bombings in Turkey killing 42 people. Police shootings in Dallas followed.
But hey, in July, there was something fun! Pokemon Go excited us for like … two weeks.
The fun didn’t last long though with more police shootings in Baton Rouge. After that, there was a terrorist attack in Nice, France.
In my opinion, August brought us the happiest time of the year on an international level — the 2016 Summer Olympics. For two weeks, we were captivated by Simone Biles, Michael Phelps, Usain Bolt, a refugee team and the idiocy of Ryan Lochte. Just writing about it makes me nostalgic.
Politics and sports continued to coincide, as Colin Kaepernick’s knee received a lot of attention.
The protest over an oil pipeline at the Standing Rock Indian reservation finally gained national attention in September, and ultimately resulted in a positive verdict for the indigenous.
Self-driving cars got here a hell of a lot sooner than we all thought.
A terrorist attack that resulted in no casualties in New York City caught the nation’s eye, especially when the government made the unique move of sending a text message alert to residents to make them aware of a suspect at large.
Those presidential debates began, which, to this very day, make me cringe until my teeth hurt.
Brangelina split; Kim Kardashian was robbed; and creepy clowns invaded America in October.
Bob Dylan won a Nobel prize, but didn’t care at all. Alec Baldwin and Saturday Night Live entertained the hell out of us. The Chicago Cubs defied the laws of nature by winning the World Series in early November.
And on Nov. 8, NOTHING HAPPENED. I REPEAT: NOTHING. If you’re reading this in the future, carry on. Nothing to see here.
Fidel Castro died in late November, making us reflect on how the leader of a small island nation had such a big impact on the world for nearly 60 years.
And that brings us to where we are now. A few more deaths followed — John Glenn, Craig Sager, Alan Thicke, George Michael, Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds — and now we are two days away from this tumultuous year coming to an end.
Oh, and Russians hacked our elections.
I’m with you. 2016 sucked for the world. Can it get worse in 2017?
We will soon find out.
See y’all next year.