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A quick warm-up of advice to those on the left, the right, & elsewhere
Don “Deacon” Little and Lloyd Barbasol, also known as Santa, hamming it up during a past Christmas when we had never heard of COVID-19.

In like a lion, out like a lamb? Or is it out like a lion, in like a lamb? Whatever animal 2020 is, somebody please put it down. With impunity.

Never to be spoken of again. It didn't exist. The proverbial 13th floor. The last few seasons of MASH. Crystal Pepsi. MC Hammer pants. The idea of ownership at The Promenade Shops at Orchard Valley encouraging and allowing new business. My linguica debt to Lancer Eric Wohle.

Some things are better buried than forgotten. 

Much like the lion's share of 1999, the year in which I tried to convince a gal I was a huge fan of the band Phish in order to gain her favor and entrance into her multi-colored afghan life. A sufferable, and unfruitful expedition into the abyss, 2020 needs to be placed on that same arctic ice slab, pushed out to sea, and never spoken of again. The band Phish can be the bore du jour upon that death float. Man, they sucked.

Much like a woman I dated in the early 90's, haunting my memories, and never to be spoken of — except when spoken of.

Wait, what? Stupid holidays. Yet I digress.

Feeble attempts of "this year will remind us it's the little things that matter" or "count your blessings, there are bright lights upon the horizon" will abound as 2021 arrives.


Sometimes it's soul cleansing to just call a spade a spade. Any attempts to romanticize 2020, and find a silver lining in this polyester moth filled suit jacket of a year, should be met with contempt.

Zuzu's petals will not be found in our collective pockets. George Bailey should take that wobbly bannister ball and huck it square at the head of anyone trying to glean positivity about the last 365 days.

Dawdling away the day has become a professional pastime none of us wanted. Which, in turn, has ratcheted up the fun the streets of Manteca have to offer. Idle hands. The more things change, the more a guy riding a bike while towing a shopping cart has stayed the same.

In early November in the MRPS parking lot, I was approached by one of our town's finest pavement peddlers. He didn't mince words.

"You wanna buy a broken microwave?"

Such brevity and salesmanship are rarely combined on a cold Tuesday morning. I struggled for a response. Do people still buy microwaves? Aren't they just passed down through families and garage sales? I asked exactly what I would want with a broken microwave?!


And with the confidence of Leo DiCaprio in a room full of supermodels he said "Shoot. Take this bad boy, flip the lid topside, waterproof it — you got yourself a 'see-in' fish tank"

Best moment of 2020. By a long shot.

As for me 2020 was business as usual. Being stuck inside the cab of a tractor the last 30 years, had me prepped for this new quarantine life. I'm certain we've all become familiarized with potato chips — Lay's BBQ for quality, Frito's corn for quantity.

I'm still seeing the same woman I've been lucky enough to have around the last few years. It's not something a swinging bachelor advertises because you can't get hits if nobody wants to throw pitches your way anymore — and I like to keep an intimidating plate presence. Even if I'm forced to keep the bat on my shoulder these days.

Another Complaint: For the love of God, stop sarcastically saying "thanks for my invite" when friends and acquaintances make plans without you. Meekly complaining that you were left off the guest list is *the* reason you were. Stop being that person!

Dear Left – your dude won. At some point feel free to quit prattling on and on, about the monster you supplanted. It falls under standard Bad Breakup Rules 101: You have a month to publicly belittle he or she you left (or were left by) — after that it becomes uncomfortably repetitious for those around you. You wanted the stability of chicken breast and rice pilaf dinners three times a week but miss the thrill of Eggs Over My Hammy at 3 a.m. We understand. He who belly aches last loses. So, stop it.

Dear Right – it's over, you lost. We've reached the part of dinner where the dessert plates have been removed and you're on a second cup of coffee?! How many yawns does it take before you receive the hint? Stand up from the table, nod politely for the meal, and feel free to peel out in your Corvette as you leave. It's early enough in your night to hit a pub and make a few more regrettable mistakes. We've grown to expect nothing less.

The one steadfast and unfortunate part of 2020 has been people's tunnel-visioned desire to be right. Even when they aren't correct. Heels dug in like Violet Bick being dragged into the back of a Paddy Wagon. Unable to help their cause, when nobody cares. That's when the sublime nature of the 'quietest person in the room being the smartest' is replaced with "he who parrots what was said on CNN or Fox News the loudest —  gets his ego scratched by like-minded dolts the most."

I hope everyone took the time to reconnect with family. This virus, that election, social unrest, and 'thanks for my invites' have taken their toll. I spent Thanksgiving playing Trivial Pursuit with my family because we feel it necessary to point out the dumb ones.

My 9-year-old niece Lexi, (the one that undoubtedly will be choosing my eventual rest home) blurted out "Lima" when answering "What is the capital of Peru?"

Noting how impressed I was, Lexi retorted "even a blind squirrel finds a nut Uncle Chris!"

The room exploded with laughter, but I was unable to join in. She was on the other team, not to mention I hate when children use adages outside their comprehension.

"That's actually not true Lexi" I popped off.

"What do you mean?" she queried

"Blind squirrels don't actually find nuts. Their parents kill them shortly after birth, so they aren't a burden upon the family" I smirked.


Which was the wrong thing to say. As the tear slowly crept out from underneath the prescription glasses she'd just started wearing a month before.

The darts of hate from my family were piercing my soul. I sprang from the chair, remembering that I was holding one of her Christmas presents in my Jeep. Give it to her early dummy!!

I set the box in front of her still reddened eyes, and she tore into the box…

"What is this?" she said with confusion.

I replied — "Ohh, that's a broken microwave, but if you waterproof it, it might hold fish."

Then I was told to leave Thanksgiving.

2020 will always be a broken microwave. No need for reclamation, and certainly not goldfish. Set it outside and walk away. Maybe somebody, someday, will find a use for it.


"It's not Where ya do, It's What ya do"