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Simply Having Whatever The Hell This Is

O Tannenbaum translates roughly to "whoa, a tree."

Photo by Joseph Prezioso/AFP via Getty Images

For some time, now, every year has ended the same way for me. The process of getting there has narrowed with time, too, but the last stretch of it that's unfolding now generally unfolds as a groggy, exhausted, and oddly gratifying process of crawling towards the light. Every year right about this point I would tell myself that it didn't need to be like this—that the days of sprinting through the tape on various deadlines and frantic redressing of obligations not so much neglected as hidden from since Thanksgiving could and would be much easier to bear if handled at a leisurely jog over weeks instead of headlong over a matter of days. Every year right about this point, I agree that it's a compelling argument, and something that seems well worth addressing next year. Maybe in December. Maybe in the very last few days of December.

This year is not much different in that particular regard, but it is different in every other. For as multiply horrific and disheartening as it has been, and as long as it has been going on (it began in spring of 2017), and as more happily eventful as it has been for those of us at this site, it was inevitable that Drew and I would spend much of our last Distraction of 2020 talking about this incredible, stupid, saddening, and oddly heartening year. The alternative was like Week 15 of the NFL and one night of desultory NBA action, and there will be plenty of time for that.

As befits a year that was totally and miserably unstuck in time, we also jumped backwards to address our disgusting early adulthoods and looked tentatively forward to whatever brighter days might await on the other side of whatever's coming in the months ahead. With the exception of our Guy Of The Week, a truly delightful placekicking vision from the Bucco Bruce era, it is about as sports-free an episode of the podcast as you're likely to hear. It's shorter and lighter and features what I promise will be my only attempt at a Marlon Brando voice outside of some hostage/Cameo-request situation. Drew's characteristically got a bit more pep in his step than me, but neither one of us has a full tank at this point in the year.

And yet, as usual, I'm feeling more than exhaustion and apprehension at this point. Those, too, always, but the promise of a week or so in energy-saver mode, with a much smaller collection of family than usual and far from my everyday, is the thing that makes this annual last push worth making. Bad things are coming, and also lord willing some good things. In the nearest future, though, in the moments just on the other side of this one, I am going to try to remember to be grateful for what comforts I've got, and for the opportunity that you all have given us with this website and this stupid podcast, and for all the good luck that got me here, tired and worried, and somehow safe and sound, and as happily indebted as ever. It is a pleasure and a privilege to be able to keep up the crawl, and to owe like this. We are in your debt. Thank you for listening, and reading, and making all this possible.

If you would like to subscribe to The Distraction, you can do that at Stitcher, or through Apple PodcastsSpotify, or wherever else you might get your podcasts. If you’d like to listen to an ad-free version of the podcast, you can do so on Stitcher Premium; a free month of Stitcher Premium can be yours if you use the promotional code “DISTRACT.” Thank you as always for your support.

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