Today we present the feature that always occupied this space on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving: The Irritation Invitational.
This year we move it to the Sunday before Thanksgiving because I no longer write a Tuesday column.
Today marks the 24th such column to appear on this occasion. In what is normally the season of high school and college invitational basketball tournaments, we offer one more invitational.
In order to fully appreciate and be grateful for all we have on Thanksgiving, we must first do a little comparison and contrast.
We compare and contrast by making a list of annoying things and putting it in the newspaper just before Thanksgiving.
Only then can we truly realize how good we have it when we make the list of things for which we are grateful on Thanksgiving.
This column combines aspects of the monthly Outrage Column and the occasional columns of one-line random thoughts.
I’m not sure, but I think a few names have made the list all 24 years: true champions of irritation.
To this year’s list:
The year of our Lord 2020. Irritating does not begin to describe that. SARS-COVID-19. Ditto.
Al Gore. Fires and power outages (which, unfortunately, have become perennial entries). People hording toilet paper and paper towels every time there is talk of a full lockdown — seriously? Sean Hannity. Christianne Amanpour. Brian Stetler (the CNN media expert who once suggested with a straight face that creepy porn lawyer Michael Avenatti would make a good candidate for the Democratic nomination).
Jane Fonda. “Saturday Night Live” — entire generations have now grown up without ever having seen a funny episode. Rachel Maddow. Rudy Giuliani, once a national hero and now a national joke.
Facebook. The people who run Facebook. The virus. All the conflicting reports from renowned institutions about the virus. All the Facebook virus experts who became experts by seeing posts on Facebook.
Pro sports, which used to be the one unifying respite from politics and division and is now unwatchable. Reporters who are political activists and don’t even really try to hide it.
Chuck Schumer. Lindsey Graham (beautifully captured in the fictional Sen. Squiggly Biskitt in Christopher Buckley’s satire, “Make Russia Great Again”). The eyeroll-inducing “Squad.” Extremely irritating.
What has become year-round fireworks at all hours of the night in some neighborhoods of the AV (including mine). The “Rona.”
Barbra Streisand (congrats, Babs, on 24 straight years)! Donald Trump (not 24 years, but close). Adam Schiff. The lack of any certainty on when or if we ever go back to normal.
The absolute morons who are giving an Emmy Award to Andrew Cuomo — for what, most nursing home residents killed?
Eric Garcetti. Alyssa Milano. Al Sharpton. Lawmakers in Sacramento who tell us to lock down while they fly off to Hawaii with lobbyists.
Lawmakers in Sacramento in general (our fine Antelope Valley legislators excepted, of course).
Gavin Newsom — who is in a tight race with Andrew Cuomo for worst governor in America — and his hypocrisy on Coronavirus restrictions: “Rules for thee, not for me.”
The state’s Medium Speed Rail boondoggle, which continues to waste billions. Road diets — local governments forcing bike lanes on populaces that will not use them.
Katie “I’m a Victim” Hill. People who ride bicycles on the narrow shoulder of Sierra Highway instead of using the bike lane that was intended for said activity. Bill O’Reilly.
Big cities who house mentally ill homeless in luxury hotels and wonder why it doesn’t go well. District attorneys who turn a blind eye to riots. Alec Baldwin.
Well, there you have it: the 2020 list. No doubt I’ve forgotten a few (hundred) things we could add. Or I could have just written “2020” 600 times.
Nonetheless, there’s a certain cathartic element to a listing of irritations.
Now, we’ll see you back here on Thursday for the annual Thanksgiving Gratitude List.
William P. Warford’s column appears every Friday and Sunday.