2019 was a weird year.
You know who had a weird year? Volodomyr Zelensky. When this Ukrainian standup comic got elected president of his country, I bet he probably thought, "Okay, this is pretty weird." I also bet he had absolutely zero idea how weird 2019 was going to get as he and his entire former Soviet nation got sucked into the vortex of impeachment proceedings in Washington, D.C., where he would play a role in the fate of another entertainer in high public office.
The thing is, the weird isn't just radiating out from circles of power across the globe. It's everywhere. I mean, even the animals are getting involved. Example: our No. 1 story of the year was about a group of snakes at the New England Aquarium that managed to produce baby snakes... without the involvement of any male snakes.
Supernatural? No. There's a scientific explanation for it. Weird? Absolutely.
It also led to the following A+ tweet, which I truly wish I'd written myself:
The snakes weren't the only critters doing it for themselves. Consider, for example, Miguel Wattson, the electric eel who decided to switch careers and get into the booming field of home electronics. Here he is lighting up a Christmas tree all by himself. Does this count as green power?
Yaks in Western Mass. decided they'd had it and rushed a couple of hikers. Really, that velcro noise IS annoying, who can blame them.
None of this cross-species namaste did anything for Julian Assange's cat, though. Despite his natty attire, Assange's feline ended up getting evicted from his home in the Ecuadorian embassy after complaints that Assange was a lousy roommate that didn't clean up after himself.
Crime was also weird in 2019. Consider, for example, the daring hijack theft of... gold? Bitcoin? Pharmaceuticals? Pricey electronics? Nope, thieves in Miami boosted $2 million worth of Spanx-like silhouette smoothing undergarments and got away with it. A bank robber from East Boston could have benefited from a consult with his Miami colleagues: they might have told him that an MBTA bus was probably a bad choice of getaway vehicle. Actually, anybody in Boston could tell you that the MBTA is a bad getaway vehicle, except perhaps for Gov. Charlie Baker, who has only ridden the T once.
The weirdness of everything in 2019 can just get exhausting. The mental effort involved in the ongoing "Onion article? Actual news?" calculus just seems to get harder all the time. Like, why did Irish vandals steal only a mummy's head? It's enough to make you just want to stop for a snack, which is what a fugitive wanted for murder did at the Ben and Jerry's in Harvard Square. He got arrested. No word on his favorite flavor.
As 2019 wore on, we did see some encouraging signs that we might be pulling back from the gravitational pull of Planet Weird. For instance, some cities floated the idea of changing the date of Halloween trick-or-treating, but many, like Worcester, Mass., came to their senses andleft it where it belongs: on October 31. Residents of Fall River, Mass., re-elected Mayor Jasiel Correia even though he was under indictment for fraud charges, but then refrained from doubling down when new charges were added to the pile. They now have a new mayor-elect, who isn't actually under indictment for anything at all.
The pendulum of balance appeared to be swinging back on other fronts, as well. The Supreme Court decided not to hear a case on whether it's okay to have laws against sleeping in public, or a car, pulling the country back from the weird idea that we can solve the problem of homelessness by simply moving homeless people around. Notre Dame burned, but efforts began to restore its glory. Boston struggled through the spectacle of Straight Pride, but the city ended the year announcing that a former middle school would become the city's first elder housing specifically for LGBTQ people. When the development's new residents emerge from the building into the streets of Hyde Park, they can complain about the death of the double cup at Dunks, just normal residents doing their normal thing on a normal day in their neighborhood in America.
Farewell, 2019. It's been weird.