The Reluctant Townie: A tough year to find humor in things

The Reluctant Townie: A tough year to find humor in things

Well, folks, it's the holiday season, Mariah Carey is on the radio informing her would-be paramour of what she would and would not like under the Christmas tree, which means the year is almost over, and none too soon, because I am exhausted.

2017 has been an exceptionally long year. We've made it through 12 months, but it feels more like five seasons of a television show nobody wanted to watch, and as winter shortens the days and chills the bones, it becomes ever more clear that fatigue is here to stay, and no amount of Five Hour Energy is going to make up for it.

I'm jealous of Donald Trump's supporters. In a way, I wish that I could have been one of them. While the rest of us have been losing sleep and toiling away in existential anxiety — concerned about the apparent destruction of our country from within by a know-nothing, spoiled brat septuagenarian and his repugnant coalition of corporate raiders and ideologue trolls — a large swath of America's electorate has been living on cloud nine.

Imagine for a moment what it would be like to feel joy every time you saw Donald Trump's scowling orange face. To be filled with ease at the sound of his inane blathering on any given subject. To trust, unwaveringly, in his temperament and intellect to lead the nation.

Oh, how I wish I could have known the comfort of feeling that things were getting better and that the swamp was being drained! Imagine the quality of life I could have experienced from underneath my red MAGA hat.

If only as a thought experiment, I have tried to open my heart to the possibility that Donald Trump is right and good and truly making America great again. I have attempted to envision an omniscient god who presides over the lives of each and every human being, who believes in unconditional love and righteousness and who also not only supported, but willed into being, a Trump presidency.

But my mind is out of shape, and certainly not dexterous enough to perform the mental gymnastics required to accept such an obvious fairy tale. (If we're being honest, it makes my skin crawl just to type it.)

To believe America has improved under Trump requires one of three things: a fundamental lack of knowledge about current events, a severe head injury or full-fledged sociopathy.

How can anyone accept this man or his administration otherwise? How can one not feel the burning embarrassment any time he attacks someone in a seething, misspelled tweet or displays his deep ignorance on literally any issue unrelated to his own self-promotion and aggrandizement?

He speaks for us. He decides for us. On a world stage. The guy from "Celebrity Apprentice" who bragged about groping women to a tabloid journalist. God help us.

To be honest, I'm sick of writing about Trump. I'm tired of writing about how the GOP is trying to actively harm everyday Americans through cruel, unpopular policies. Can't they just cut it out already? Can't they find a way to HELP people? They seem fundamentally at odds with those they took an oath to serve.

Whatever this column used to be, it hasn't been so much this year. How to classify the Reluctant Townie is up for debate — I've described myself as a humor columnist in the past, but that distinction is looser than the president's ethics. I write PG-13 essays for a PG newspaper, and I have been doing it once a week for over a decade. When I started this column, I just wanted to entertain people for a few minutes every week and, I suppose, impress them while building some sort of mythology for myself as a "writer."

But it's been challenging this year to find the humor in things. Certainly writing the kind of featherweight fluff of years past seems offensive in its complicity to the status quo. I don't want to be a distraction from what's important.

The toll of living through this year has drained the joy out of many things. I've found it hard to sit still for long enough to enjoy a movie or a book. I cannot disable my instinct to avoid fiddles while Rome burns.

How much longer will we go on this way? What is the country going to look like on the other side of this turbulent period? When will Marty find the Sports Almanac and reset this alternate 1985 timeline?

And will Congressman Rodney Davis ever stop deleting his constituents' comments on Facebook?

Stay tuned for this and more, in 2018.

Ryan Jackson is donating his Christmas wish to Robert Mueller, and he can be reached at

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