January 11, 2017 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Well, another year has come and gone. That is to say: last year has gone, and this new one has come. That is, to be more precise, assuming you are reading this essay sometime after the annual transition and all of the associated festivities and repercussions. Frankly, it’s hard for me to know when anything is coming or going anymore, so let’s just agree that it’s 2017, okay?”

Last year really sucked. But then, most do.  I mean, nothing good happened at all, am I right?

Well, except the Cubs…they happened, and that was good. Even though allowances must be made for Cardinals fans, oh…and Cleveland fans, and maybe football fans, Cricket aficionados, purists of rounders, and other reprobates who hate baseball…So, I have to admit the Cubs winning might be considered a bad thing, and thus, part of a bad year…but for me it was good. I mean, the Cubs are World Champions! Who’da thunk it? I’m thrilled, and I hope that’s fine with you.

But except for the Cubs, last year really sucked.

Well, except for Bob Dylan winning the Nobel Prize for Literature. That was cool, though again, there are those who can’t stand Bob Dylan’s voice…or people who actually think Terry Jacks’ “Seasons in the Sun” is great stuff…or the few who dislike his stuff because it’s hard to dance to…Well, just remember Bob didn’t get the prize for his vocals or rhythms, but rather, for his poetic lyrics…and I memorized all the words to Highway 61 Revisited within 48 hours of buying my copy, so it was good for me. I hope that’s fine with you.

Anyway, except for the Cubs, and Bob Dylan’s Nobel Prize, last year really sucked.

Then again…the Kepler Space Observatory discovered a total of 1,284 new exoplanets in 2016—that is, hitherto unknown worlds beyond our solar system. As a space nerd, I thought this was pretty amazing, wonderful stuff. I’m always happy when I find out new stuff, though it does make some people uncomfortable when they realize how small this little ball of ours is, and how fragile and insignificant the vast universe can make us feel. Also the Flat Earth Society took this news hard…so, for them, not so good, I guess. But for me, the news sent me back to my bookshelf and Arthur C. Clark. I hope you understand.

Still, except for the Cubs, the Nobel Prize, and more than a thousand new planets, last year really sucked.

And come to think of it, if I take time to sit back and think…I didn’t fall off the roof. That’s a good thing that didn’t happen. I hauled out the old ladder, schlepped it out back, climbed it, and cleaned out the gutters with the leaf-blower I bought from a TV infomercial, and climbed down again without plunging to my death. I do realize that there are a few people in the world who would have taken great cheer from such a pedestrian end to my great career. I regret any disappointment I may have inflicted upon my enemies by surviving such a risky endeavor. Though it must be noted that none of my rivals died either, so in that sense, we broke even.

Yeah, except for the Cubs, the Nobel, all the new planets, and the fact that I didn’t die… 

Last year really sucked.

Otis XII hosts the radio program, Early Morning Classics with Otis XII, on 90.7 KVNO, weekday mornings from 5 a.m. to 6:30 a.m. Visit kvno.org for more information.

Otis XII hosts the radio program, Early Morning Classics with Otis XII, on 90.7 KVNO, weekday mornings from 5 a.m. to 6:30 a.m. Visit kvno.org for more information.