2016 – Mr. Charlton Looks Back

Wow, it’s been an entire year since last year. Well, that statement would have been true on New Year’s day, so technically it’s actually been four days since last year. And what a year! It was pretty tame compared to 2015. At least for me. Social media seems to think it was the worst year ever, for some reason. Let’s get to the bottom of why a lot of people think 2016 blew an enormous amount of chunks.

Reason #1: A lot of celebrities died

Slightly more than average, but it felt like it a lot. There was Muhammad Ali, Carrie Fisher, Prince, David Bowie, Lemmy Kilmister, Gene Wilder, and even Alan Rickman! Some other people died too, like John Glenn, Fidel Castro, and Nancy Reagan. But still, celebrities were dying left and right. Even ol’ Mr.Charlton tried to get in on the mix.

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Mr. Charlton trying to participate in social media in 2016 is like Mr. Charlton trying to participate in society in 1998; Awkward and forced.

Here’s the deal, though. I don’t know Lemmy Kilmister, lead vocalist of the greatest rock and rock band ever Motorhead, in real life. Me and David Bowie, a man who was on the waves edge of pop music for decades, aren’t friends. I’ve never actually been to a concert where either was playing. It’s sad they died, but not sadder than a bunch of other people who died. Dying is kinda something that happens to everyone eventually. Most of the people on the list had a good run. And most of them left some sort of impact on our culture. Shit, if I died tomorrow, the only thing I’d leave behind is a crappy blog and a couple of half finished books.

Reason #2: Politics were kinda crazy this year

Two really big things happened in western politics this year. First, Britain decided to Brexit the EU, sending a ripple throughout the world. Some people were cheering an end to globalization by tweeting on their iPhones manufactured in China. Some people watched as Britain’s pound got pounded. What was interesting is the polls showed Britain sticking around the European Union. Nobody thought they were going to leave until they did.

Which brings us to the next big thing; Donald Trump is going to be the next president of the United States. Nobody thought he was going to win the Republican nomination for his party, but he did. Then, no one thought he was going to win the presidency, but he did. Hell, nobody thought he was going to use nuclear weapons….

I mean, I DOUBT he’ll use nuclear weapons, but that’s kinda the big issue with Trump. You don’t know what promises he’s going to make good on. The POTUS isn’t an exactly great position for brash decisions. We still have another two weeks before he’s sworn in. My money is on Trump getting impeached before the end of his first term, though. We’ll wait and see.

So a bunch of people died and the President of the United States is a reality television show star who doesn’t want to stop running his business so he can run the country. But what was awesome about 2016?

Reason #1: The gene linked to ALS was found with Ice buckets

Not literally, mind you. But all those videos seems to have actually paid off. Also, the money that was actually donated paid off. Money helps with research too.

Reason #2: The Cubs won the world series

This is a big deal if you’re into sports, I guess.

Reason #3: Pokemon Go forces a bunch of nerds to get some actual exercise

The hit augmented reality game has taught me an important lesson; Nerds will walk miles to catch Pokemon. World records could be set if we had Pikachus at the end of finish lines instead of ribbon.

Reason #4: I started a Blog! (again)

Now these words are forever immortalized on the intertubes. Now I can look back on who I was like ten years from now and see exactly what kind of dumbass I happen to be. Seriously though, writing on a more regular basis has been a wonderful experience. Little by little I find myself getting better.

Reason #5: I moved into a place with my girlfriend Kat

I was well into my thirties before I actually lived with a girlfriend before. So this is new territory. I like it! Shucks, I’m more in love with Kat than when we moved in together almost a year ago. Plus, I only moved once in 2016, whereas I had to move several times in 2015.

With 2016 all wrapped up, it’s nice to know there’s a clean slate in front of everyone. I mean, as long as you believe in that sort of stuff. Personally, it’s another arbitrary rotation around the sun on the starship Earth. No resolutions besides the usual ones; eat better and write more. 2016 was a-okay with me. Here’s hoping 2017 is even better.

Sincerely,

The Illustrious Mr. Charlton

p.s. When I said I moved several times in 2015, I mean exactly that. I moved seven times. Seven times of putting my shit into boxes and moving it to another location.

Send in the Clowns

Clowns. They’ve been popping up in the media a lot more frequently than they used to. Clowns worldwide have been scaring the shit out of regular, honest folks. This new, viral, phenomena has taken the internet by storm, with people getting together, dressing up as creepy clowns, and trying to frighten others for the lulz. To give you an idea of exactly how bad the clown problem has gotten, there’s a Wikipedia page dedicated to clown sightings for 2016. Hundreds of clowns have been sighted over the world, most notably in North America. Clowns are now being banned from schools, from workplaces, and even entire communities. When did clowns become such a menacing part of our culture? Was it the Joker, from the new Batman films? Was it Stephen King’s IT? Or maybe it’s the fact a clown is currently running for president of the United States?

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Scariest Clown sighting of the year

Here’s the kicker, people. I don’t actually remember a time when clowns were popular. I’ve never heard of a clown actually doing a birthday party, except in movies from the 80’s. I’ve seen clowns at the circus, but the circus is something I’ve only been to a handful of times in my life. I’ve never sought out clowns. I’ve never said to myself, “You know what, Mr. Charlton? This day needs more clowns”. In fact, the only time I can remember using the word clown is when I derisively call someone a clown.

I did some research. When I say research, what I mean is I typed ‘when was the last time clowns were funny’ into a search engine. And what I found will shock you.

Clowns have never been funny.

There’s a bizarre notion people before our time weren’t funny. I never really imagined the Romans sitting around, laughing their asses off because Julius made a snide remark to Anthony regarding his footwear, but sarcasm has been around for a while. There were also clowns, but looking through the lens of time shows us clowns were performers showcasing demon tricksters. Clowns showed both the light and dark side of humanity through pranks. What I’ve learned is clowns have been jesters, fools, and pranksters.

You ever met someone who’s a “prankster”? They’re assholes.

“It was just a prank, brah” is the calling card of these jester jerkoffs. Youtube is filled to the brim of dickheads who have confused sadism and masochism with humour. That’s what these clowns are about. The point I’m trying to make is this; clowns are greasy performers, not funny people. We used to laugh at them because they’re terrible human beings, not because they’re comedians.

Why have these clowns started popping up? We stopped laughing at them cruelly, which is the only way to laugh at clowns to keep them at bay. We’ve ignored them for too long. Clowns were ridiculed for years, derided and called out for their foolishness. This was the natural order of things. It was the way to drive the demon spirits away. In our age of extreme tolerance, we’ve forgotten that if there is one group of people who should be laughed at, it’s clowns. We, unfortunately as a society, collectively decided to take clowns seriously. We said “Maybe clowns aren’t so bad, maybe we shouldn’t be spraying them with water, hitting them with pies, or forcing them to pile in clown cars. Clowns deserve every opportunity the rest of us do.” And that’s led us down the dark path we’ve taken. A prominent clown is running for president. The media surrounding him is now a circus.

We’ve stopped laughing at clowns. I guarantee if this clown gets into office, then no one will be laughing for at least the next four years. What can you do, dear reader? If someone is acting like a clown, then make fun of them. They’re the necessary punching bag we need. Clowns serve a very important function in society, and that’s to provide the rest of us an outlet to express our rage and disgust. It allows the rest of us to get along. To not just tolerate out differences, but to celebrate them. Because is some clown is going to spray his face orange and turn democracy into a crazy fun house, then maybe they deserve to be taken down a peg.

 Sincerely,

The Illustrious Mr. Charlton

p.s. This is going to be the last long form post I’ll be doing for the next month. November is NaNoWriMo, and every damn word needs to count! I’ll still be posting, but it’ll be more of a diary about trying to squeeze out a novel in thirty days.