I do not often use this space to brag, so I hope you will indulge me. I don’t think I am an extraordinary man- I put my tights on one leg at a time before my cape, just like my peers. But this Sunday, the New York Times made me think about myself differently.
The Times printed an article about things that happened for the first time in 2020, which was clearly a nod to my column in this space last month about the Church of Farris. Most of their Firsts were positive, although there were a couple of bummers tossed in because the paper is in New York.
While I try to be vigilant in giving credit where it is due, neither I nor Farrisism were mentioned in the Times. That is okay. I am sure they are busy, and as I often say when someone accuses me of plagiarizing an idea, what artist can truly point to the exact source of their inspiration? It is an honor to be mentioned, even anonymously.
If the New York Times is finding good things in a pandemic year, I need to rethink my perspective. After all, New York City isn’t paradise and this country boy doesn’t appreciate most of what it has to offer. If they go in an editorial direction, I should go the opposite way. It isn’t a stretch as I was a contrarian before contrary was cool. With no fanfare and less accreditation, I give to you three things that I have missed most about 2020, anti-happy edition.
Griping and complaining. As a man of a certain age, there are things to which I feel entitled if not required to enjoy. Yelling at kids to get off of my lawn, grumbling about weather, politics, bad rulings, or pretty much anything else is my age-given right, but I haven’t felt good about doing it this year. It isn’t just that no one wants to hear complaints, but that I feel guilty not embracing all of the good things that have come my way when I gripe. Given my limited interaction with other humans, I want to make a good impression and complainers are tiresome. Here I am in my prime grumpy old man years and the combination of Covid and Karens has sucked the joy out of them. I don’t like it one bit.
Truth and facts. The absurdist theater that was ours post election is merely a symptom of the real problem- after years on life support, the truth is good and dead. While we have long ignored the falsehoods that come from politicians, this new era has taken it up an order or two of magnitude. When your president tells over 30,000 lies and half-truths in a four year span, it should cause concern. Rather than storming the palace with pitchforks, however, we’ve just rolled our eyes and continued about our days. When did we become so tolerant of lies?
Even some judges are letting the truth slide. I don’t know any lawyers who would dare tell a judge a half truth, let alone full on lie for a client. Yet I have seen pleadings around the election that don’t begin to pass the smell test, and the judges involved haven’t thrown a single lawyer in the pokey. I am not wishing jail time on anyone, just saying that seeing it happen once would go a long way to reinstate honesty to the profession.
A friend from my youth reposted a falsehood on social media that obviously originated in a meme farm somewhere off the coast of Ohio. I sent her a link to the truth- that we already have a 25th amendment to our constitution and the Speaker of the House couldn’t amend the constitution by herself if she wanted to- and prepared to be gracious for what I thought would be an embarrassed retraction. Nope. My now former friend told me that she didn’t care if it was true or not, she had the right to post what she wanted and there was no need for debate.
Maybe 2020 didn’t kill the truth by itself, but our tolerance for falsehoods seemed to crescendo this year. We’ve discarded facts, science, and good manners all at once. I don’t like it one bit.
We still have pumpkin spice. My disdain for pumpkin flavored foods is nearly a diagnosable mental condition, I know. The fact that Americans can give up gathering in public and hugging family members and friends but still tolerate pumpkin flavored foods is beyond my comprehension.
Why did the Headless Horseman throw a pumpkin at Ichabod Crane? Because even a guy with no head knows that a stolen pumpkin won’t be missed. They are ridiculous orange abominations and their unholy alliance with nutmeg and other traitorous spices should end. We only tolerate pumpkin pie because it serves as a whipped cream delivery system.
This morning I found myself trapped behind a guy who took ten minutes to order a double half caff pumpkin spice soy latte with just a pinch of cinnamon. Even though we were at the drive through and I couldn’t see his face, I sent hate energy at the (presumably) mustachioed polo wearing pretentious hipster dirt bag driving the Volvo in front of me. I wanted to throw a pumpkin at him. It almost made me cancel my order for a triple bacon and egg biscuit with a side of sausage and a black coffee. Instead I persisted, and I liked it a little bit.
As the year ends, I want to thank all of you who have read and followed along with me. You have probably done it thanks to a much more honorable newspaper than the New York Times, who refuses to return my calls and emails asking for proper credit. Church of Farris counts the blessings, not the accolades of course. But an occasional “atta boy” wouldn’t hurt.
©2020 under analysis llc. under analysis is a nationally syndicated column. Spencer Farris is the founding partner of The S.E. Farris Law Firm in St Louis, Missouri. Every time he types 2020, it makes his scar hurt. Comments or criticisms about this column may be sent directly to Under Analysis via email at email@example.com.