The Deacon's Bench

The brilliant humorist’s annual look back at the Year That Was remains one of the highlights of the holiday season — almost edging out my mother-in-law’s incredible chocolate mousse — and he doesn’t disappoint this year, either:

It was a year of hope — at first in the sense of, “I feel hopeful!” and later in the sense of “I hope this year ends soon.”

It was a year that we will be happy to put behind us. But before we do, let’s swallow our anti-nausea medication and take one last look back, starting with …


History is made in Washington, D.C., where a crowd estimated by the Congressional Estimating Office at 217 billion people gathers to watch Barack Obama be inaugurated. There is a minor glitch in the ceremony when Chief Justice John Roberts, attempting to administer the oath of office, becomes confused and instead reads the side-effect warnings for his decongestant pills.

The No. 1 item on the agenda is fixing the economy, so the new administration immediately sets about the daunting task of trying to nominate somebody — anybody — to a high-level government post who actually remembered to pay his or her taxes. Among those who forgot this pesky chore is Obama’s nominee for Treasury secretary, Timothy Geithner, who sheepishly admits he failed to pay $35,000 in federal self-employment taxes.

In entertainment news, an unemployed California mother of six uses in-vitro fertilization to give birth to eight more children, an achievement that immediately catapults her to a celebrity status equivalent to that of a minor Kardashian sister.


Congress passes, without reading it, and without actually finishing writing it, a stimulus package totaling $787 billion. The money immediately is turned over to American taxpayers so they can use it to stimulate the economy.

No! What a crazy idea that would be! The money is to be doled out over the next decade or so by members of Congress on projects deemed vital by members of Congress, such as constructing buildings that will be named after members of Congress.

Despite this heroic effort, the economy continues to stumble. General Motors, which has sold only one car in the past year — a Buick LaCrosse mistakenly purchased by an 87-year-old man who thought he was buying a power scooter — announces a new four-part business plan, consisting of (1) dealership closings (2) factory shutdowns (3) worker layoffs and (4) traveling backward through time to 1955.

In sports, the Pittsburgh Steelers win the Super Bowl, defeating some team in a game we all have completely forgotten.

There are 10 more months in a similar vein. Check it out. We all need a good laugh, don’t we?

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