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    2021: The ‘Trash Can Fire’ Year in Review

    By Louise “Lou” Fischer–

    Welcome to 2022; last year, I deemed 2020 the “Dumpster Fire,” and while 2021 included some fiery incidents, it wasn’t as bad as 2020. On the “refuse containment inferno scale,” I’ve upgraded 2021 to “Trash Can Fire.” Other than a few horrific incidents and a global virus that won’t go away because tens of millions of irrational people stubbornly refuse to acknowledge that diseases such polio, smallpox, measles, mumps, rubella, chicken pox, HPV, shingles, diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, hepatitis, tuberculosis, cholera, typhoid fever, yellow fever, and more were eliminated by vaccines, in general, 2021 beat the crap out of 2020.  

    Here’s a look back at some noteworthy events of 2021: 

    January – In the worst violence at the U.S. Capitol since 1856 when abolitionist and Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner was beaten to a pulp by pro-slavery South Carolina Congressman Preston Brooks, pro-Trump sycophants stormed the Capitol while Trump gleefully watched on TV. Republican lawmakers clutched their pearls and denounced Trump; this lasted for 15 minutes once the reality set in that going against Trump meant a primary challenge in the next election. GOP House Leader Kevin McCarthey rose to the level of “Grand Supreme Hypocrite” by rushing to Mar-a-Lago to kiss Trump’s ass after earlier claiming that Trump “bore responsibility” for the deadly riot.  

    February – A devastating winter storm hit Texas and was deemed the single-costliest natural disaster in the history of the state. In the worst “weather-related decision” by a leader since Napoleon waited for the ground to dry after a rainstorm before attacking Waterloo, Senator Ted “Cancun Cruz” decided that sipping margaritas on the beach beat freezing with his poodle and the 29 million Texans he was elected to serve. The social media explosion caused Senator “Frumpy Dad” to frantically hightail it back to Texas.

    March – COVID vaccines were finally available for teachers, first responders, and essential workers. The chaotic rollout resulted in a real-life Hunger Games/Lord of the Rings mash-up that caused California residents to crisscross the state for vaccine appointments. San Franciscans who had never traveled further than Oakland went to Stockton, Sacramento, and other locations in search of the elusive “my precious” vaccine. While it didn’t extend life like Gollum’s ring, it gave people a fighting chance to keep the life they already have.  

    April – Major League Baseball got “woke” and pulled the All-Star game from Georgia to protest a then-new voting law that suppressed turnout among Black voters. Not all sports were so woke: the Masters Tournament (golf) remained at Augusta National where the tagline by the founder and “Chairman in Memoriam” could well have been: “All the golfers will be white and all the caddies will be Black.”

    May – The FDA authorized vaccines for adolescents 12–15 years of age; the Bar/Bat Mitzvah and Quinceañera industries rejoiced.  

    June – My partner Amy and I, along with millions of others, booked a trip to Hawaii for our first real vacation in over a year. In response, Hawaii instituted an intelligence and perseverance test composed of illogical tasks, COVID testing, and elusive QR codes that might not always have been delivered. When we checked in at SFO, the agent denied boarding due to a missing QR code for the connecting flight. After several frantic minutes of arguing that we followed every arcane step, another agent leaned over to say, “That got changed yesterday; they can board.” Way to almost ruin our vacation before it even began, bub.

    July – Gazillionaires Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos boarded their own rockets and launched into space. Bezos’ flight originated and terminated in Texas, which required him to wear an oversized and ridiculous-looking cowboy hat. The successful missions were proof-of-concept that someday mere multi-millionaires will be able to fulfill their dream to spend 3 minutes in space.

    August – The CDC announced the Delta variant as the predominant strain of COVID in the U.S. Anti-vaxxers and Republican puppet-masters held the country hostage by refusing to get a vaccine that will stop the virus from mutating its way through the Greek alphabet. Current and former fraternity and sorority pledges believed that the pandemic would end at Omega when the Greek alphabet runs out of letters. Scientists warned that we’ll eventually need to expand to other adaptations of Phoenician alphabets such as Hebrew or Aramaic. If we ever get to “COVID Gimel” or worse, “Tzadik,” then we might as well admit defeat because, without vaccine mandates, this pandemic will never end.     

    September – Governor Newsom, whose approval numbers were circling the drain earlier in the year, survived a major political crisis and routed the opposition in the recall election. What started out as a potential $54 billion budget deficit for California that reduced state workers’ pay by 9.23% ended with a surplus of $31 billion. So, while my colleagues and I sacrificed over 9% of our pay for a year, it all turned out OK in the end (although we never got any of that lost salary back, sigh).

    October – Major League Baseball faced a PR nightmare when, against all odds, the Atlanta Braves advanced to the World Series and played their home games in the same stadium from which the All-Star game was pulled. Members of the Ku Klux Klan and 40 other hate groups in Georgia felt vindicated while Braves management shrugged because perpetrating synchronized racism is on-brand for a team whose celebratory gesture is a motion known as the “tomahawk chop.”  

    November – Due to the impact of climate change that resulted in a shorter and warmer spring, the government agency known as the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers released 50 million pounds of syrup from its emergency stockpile. This reminded Americans that Canada has bested us once again because, at the height of the pandemic in 2020, Trump couldn’t be bothered to release life-saving supplies from the national stockpile, but in a crisis, Canada protected its residents from the scourge of dry pancakes.  

    December – The FDA authorized antiviral treatments in pill form by Pfizer and Merck; both companies touted the remedies as a “game changer” to combat the spread of COVID-19. The medication was (and still is) as scarce and hard-to-find as vaccines were in the early part of the year. The medical community applauded this discovery while reminding the approximately 150 million unvaccinated people in the U.S. that they could walk to the nearest pharmacy, farmers’ market, pop-up clinic, and thousands of other convenient locations and get a vaccine for free and not have to worry about treatment for COVID.  

    Here’s hoping that 2022 is further upgraded to the level of “Kitchen Counter-Sized Compost-Bin” fire.  

    Louise (Lou) Fischer is a Former Co-Chair of the Board of Directors of the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club and has served as an appointed and elected Delegate for the State Democratic Party. She is a proud graduate of the Emerge California Women’s Democratic Leadership program, was a San Francisco Commissioner, and has served in leadership positions in multiple nonprofit and community-based organizations.

    Published on January 13, 2022