Beliefnet
The Deacon's Bench

One of my annual pleasures, on the last Sunday of the year, is sitting down and laughing until my sides hurt from reading Dave Barry’s annual round-up of the year-in-review. If anyone missed it this year, it’s at the link. Here’s a choice nugget, from his preamble:

It was a year that strode boldly into the stall of human events and took a wide stance astride the porcelain bowl of history.

It was year in which roughly 17,000 leading presidential contenders, plus of course Dennis Kucinich, held roughly 63,000 debates, during which they spewed out roughly 153 trillion words; and yet the only truly memorable phrase emitted in any political context was “Don’t tase me, bro!”

It was a year filled with bizarre, insane, destructive behavior, an alarming amount of which involved astronauts.

In short, 2007 was a year of deep gloom, pierced occasionally by rays of even deeper gloom. Oh, sure, there were a few bright spots:

• Several courageous members of the U.S. Congress — it could be as many as a dozen — decided, incredibly, not to run for president.

• O.J. Simpson discovered that, although you might be able to avoid jail time for committing a double homicide, the justice system draws the line at attempted theft of sports memorabilia.

• Toward the end of the year, entire days went by when it was possible to not think about Paris Hilton.

• Apple released the iPhone, which, as we understand it, enables users to fly, cure cancer, read minds and travel through time.

• The plucky, lovable New York Yankees once again found a way, against all odds, to bring joy to the literally billions of people who do not root for them.

• Dick Cheney did not shoot anybody, as far as we know.

But other than that, 2007 was a disaster. American consumers came to fear products manufactured in China, which covers pretty much everything in the typical American home except the dirt. Global warming continued to worsen, despite the efforts of leading climate experts such as Madonna and Leonardo DiCaprio, who emerged briefly from their private jets to give the rest of us helpful tips on reducing our carbon footprints.

On the economic front, the dollar continued to lose value against all major foreign currencies and most brands of bathroom tissue. There was a major collapse in the credit market, caused by the fact that for most of this decade, every other radio commercial has been some guy selling mortgages to people who clearly should not have mortgages. (”No credit? No job? On death row? No problem!”) It got so bad that you couldn’t let your dog run loose, because it would come home with a mortgage. The subprime-mortgage fiasco resulted in huge stock-market losses, and the executives responsible, under the harsh rules of Wall Street justice, were forced to accept lucrative retirement packages.

Read on for the rest. And remember to call ahead to the emergency room, so they can be prepared to treat you for a ruptured spleen and cracked funny bone.

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