A List of Things That Thankfully Didn’t Happen in 2020

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Look on the bright side – it’s Not All Bad … Daisy Hickey has A List of Things That Thankfully Didn’t Happen in 2020 …

To our good fortune, human beings are supremely adept at forgetting traumatic events in pursuit of better times. Just ask any woman who has given birth on more than one occasion! And with the dawn of a new year, we can happily employ our selective memories and focus on the silver linings.

The devil, if he does exist, had the decency to hold back on a few of his ideas as he watched 2020 unravel at the seams from his comfy loveseat in Hell. Here is a list of things that thankfully Did Not Happen Last Year…

1 World War 3

Let’s be honest, this one was close. In January of last year, the hashtag #WorldWarThree sent Twitter a-twitter, as incendiary hashtags tend to do, following concerning news of a stand-off between the United States and Iran. President Donald Trump had ordered the killing of General Qasem Soleimani, and Iran had responded, by attacking US air bases in Iraq with ballistic missiles. Instantly, it seemed, a third World War was on the horizon. An appetiser-crisis for the year to come, the world responded to this very serious international event with maniacal laughter, in the form of memes and Tweets. While tension mounted, it never reached the violent peak forecast by half-joking social media posts, and luckily, #WorldWarThree in that form did not take place.

2 A Second Trump Term

Frighteningly, this was a possibility.

3 The Collapse of the Bee Population

The bee crisis reared its stinger in 2015, when researchers began to notice a shocking decline in honeybee populations worldwide. One third of the 98 bee species in Ireland are threatened with extinction, and this is mostly due to habitat loss and lack of wildflowers for bees to pollinate.

Happily, ecologists in Ireland had the foresight to develop the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan back in 2008, and coupled with efforts by eco-friendly bee-appreciators to raise awareness, the buzzers haven’t lost their battle. The advice? Go wild. If you love bees, don’t be so tidy with your garden – think Glenveagh, rather than golf course. Let some clover in in the summer, and go crazy with sappy sensations like lavender, catmint and heather.

4 The Strange, Unforeseen Deflation of the Wicklow Mountains

Picture this. You wake up on the 267th morning of our annus horribilis, the warm August sunlight pouring into your kitchen as you dump an extra scoop of ground coffee into the Big Cafetière. The end is nigh, you can feel it. Looking out of your kitchen window, you sigh happily at the thought of being in a room with more than six people, or the smell of buttery popcorn at the cinema, or the soft chatter of other customers at a café. Soon, is right!

But, your view is not what it always is. The familiar dark bump of the Wicklow mountains, topped with neat tufts of dark green trees, has disappeared. The news chatter turns from school reopening to the strange and unforeseen deflation of the Wicklow mountains that had seemingly occurred overnight! The landscape is now disturbingly flat! Many confused thoughts strike you at once. Where will we all walk in wintertime? What was the point in buying those expensive hiking boots? Will we have clearer signal now, or nonexistent, given the disappearance of the cell tower? These, luckily, are questions we don’t have to answer.

5 Snow

I don’t mean to tempt fate, as it remains a likelihood for January 2021, but shouldn’t we be relieved that those menacing little hailstones didn’t stick around to evolve into lumps last month? Okay for the first day or two, it might entertain bored children to pelt each other with snowballs – nostalgic, cute, wholesome. But the second day would bring footpath accidents and damp shoes – uncomfortable, cold, bothersome. Big thanks to sound old Jack Frost for resisting the urge, as our quarantine concerns could have really ‘snowballed’ this year (sorry).

6 The Endurance of the Houseparty App Trend

Imagine, if you will, living and interacting with people through the medium of Snapchat, except with twice as many garish colours, and zero boundaries whatsoever. Everybody you know is online and staring at their screen as the screen stares at them. You try to talk but at any given moment this tubular yet private conversation with your friend (or friends) might be interrupted by the arrival of a completely random third party. It is likely that such a concept already exists, but only as the written description of a social anxiety sufferer’s lucid nightmare. One woman I know tried the app for a mere five and a half minutes before ‘storming out’ of a chatroom with eight of her (very nice) friends, before logging off and deleting it forever without saying goodbye to any of her chatmates. That woman was me. The name, too, offends – what kind of a house party involves sending each other stupid doodles? Anyway, nobody enjoyed it, and we are glad nobody uses it anymore.

7 A Joe Wicks Number-Two Haircut

The only man from the United Kingdom that has demonstrated any modicum of reliability and enthusiasm throughout this year has been the likeable version of Russell Brand, PE teacher to the world, Joe Wicks. Part of Joe’s irresistible charm is, aside from his unconditional faith in the mental resilience of his viewers, his wonderful mane of chocolate brown hair. It is an emblem of freedom, of lion-like leadership, of hope. Odious is the notion that Joe, exasperated by having to flip his bouncy curls over his shoulders before every push-up, could have gone all Full Metal Jacket on us and chop it off. It could have happened, once the barbers had reopened in the UK. I think I speak for the millions of people who tune into Joe’s videos every day, when I say – it would have been the last straw to break our aching backs.

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