My junior year in high school, I had World History with Miss Wilt, who was long and lean and always wore go-go boots. She would stand in front of the class with her elegant hands folded in a way that I’ve never seen since. She was always calm, always poised. I am grateful for Miss Wilt.
Miss Wilt taught me to write. She said we must always write five paragraphs: 1) an introduction of the social, political, and economic factors behind whatever we were writing about, 2) the social factors, 3) the political factors, 4) the economic factors and 5) a conclusion drawn from the above. The factors did not have to be in that order, but that’s how she taught them and I will always remember them that way.
I didn’t want to do it that way. I thought I should use my impressive and overflowing creativity to flaunt convention and write in my own style, which I did. Miss Wilt would graciously say that I had some good ideas but my writing was all over the place. To illustrate, had Mozart done that, his first concerto would have featured a lot of flat notes and jarring chords and audience members fleeing for the safety of a Salieri opera. In other words, if you don’t get organized, you’ll never find what you’re looking for, much less get your brilliant ideas across to your readers.
So one day I decided to swallow my pride and do it the way Miss Wilt suggested. I don’t remember what I was writing about, probably some aspect of World War II. (We spent a lot of time on that. Miss Wilt’s class once had a visitor, an old man with a number tattooed on his wrist. It was a little weird growing up non-Jewish in a predominantly Jewish neighborhood, but good for me overall. I knew next to nothing about the Pacific war before I lived here.)
The essay I wrote was clear, precise and to the point. I got my first A. Today, in that grand tradition, I would like to share a brief essay with you. It’s titled “2017 Sucked”.
The year 2017 can be characterized by total suckage. It would be hard to pinpoint any year in recent decades that sucked as much. Well, 1995 sucked. Actually, 2011 sucked even more. It sucked so much, I can’t even touch it. So let’s keep this on a personal level. For me, in 2017, politics, economics and society all sucked. Allow me to explain.
In 2017, a tangerine colored buffoon moved into the White House and has proceeded to undermine most of the social, political and economic progress that had been made in the past several centuries. If he has his way, the universe will be controlled by white male Christians and all other people will be illiterate, barefoot and pregnant, including black Muslim men. I don’t suppose he can see the impracticality of that. Despite it’s political stodginess, I find myself more and more grateful that I live in Japan. The suckage here is of a whole different genre, and much less embarrassing on a global scale. Still, overall, politics suck.
In the year 2017, I experienced medical challenges I barely managed to cope with, both physically and financially. The medical crisis culminated in having a tooth pulled on Christmas Day. That sucked, but in a way, it was funny. Imagine finding a dentist in the office on Christmas Day in the States. Here, I got a last minute appointment and zip-zap out it came. Quick and painless and only cost about $25; socialized insurance is a good thing. Overall suckage: 50%.
The social aspects of this year are harder to quantify. Pleasant for me is that I have developed some new friendships that I know will be with me forever; unpleasant is making plans with them and having to cancel, again and again, because I’m too beaten down to leave the house. That sucks, but at the same time, those friends have been warm and understanding and infinitely patient. To be fair, social suckage is only around 10%.
In conclusion, politics suck, medical problems and expenses suck, but on the social plane, people love me and I love them back. That pretty much doesn’t suck at all. Sadly, I think Miss Wilt would give me a C for this essay because I’ve contradicted myself so many times but I will always be grateful for what she taught me. And 2017 sucked.