The year in review
by Leslie Shirley Nielsen
I’ve discovered that the news events that cause me to raise a glass for a toast or slam a shot to calm my nerves are pretty much the same year to year. Sports, politics, celebrity losses and just flat-out bad news—we all have different reasons, so I’ll speak for myself, but I encourage you to share yours on The Bar Crawler’s Facebook page.
Here are the top five reasons I drank in 2017:
- We lost so many icons and artists in 2016 that it was just brutal. 2017 was a bit kinder, but it’s never easy to say goodbye to our heroes and inspirational leaders. The untimely deaths of Chris Cornell or Tom Petty had me raising a glass in homage, for sure. I was sad about the loss of legends like Hugh Hefner and Chuck Berry as well, but the passing of Jerry Lewis and Don Rickles hit me the hardest because they were great comedians and I love to make people laugh. Sure they both lived long lives, but I never really understand their impact until they are gone. Lewis was flat out brilliant and relentless in his comedy. His performance in “The King of Comedy” still ranks as one of my favorites. And Don Rickles was a master smartass, a true inspiration. I can only aspire to be the insult genius that he was.
- I predicted the Browns were going to win more games this year than in 2016. Believe it or not, this is not the first thing I’ve been wrong about. It’s truly amazing how bad this team is. It defies every odd. Our Lady of The Elms might qualify to play them next year and the early betting line is Elms by a touchdown. They don’t drive me to drink because of nerves. It’s more out of boredom.
- We all knew that when the Warriors signed Kevin Durant, it slimmed the Cavs’ chances of winning it all. Didn’t stop my liver from screaming during the finals though. I like our chances more this year. I think Kyrie did us a favor with his departure by enabling us to bring in more talent. If we stay healthy, I will be pickled and buttered during the month of June. In other words, I like our chances.
- My biggest hangover of the year was the day after the Yankees knocked the Tribe out of the playoffs in game five. I still can’t believe they played so poorly. Attribute it to young players pressing to hard and some questionable coaching from Francona. In 2018, we have the talent to win it all. Hopefully with lessons learned, we will do better and end the longest championship drought in baseball. It would be so nice if October doesn’t require double vodkas.
- I was absolutely glued to the national news this year. Politics have run amuck as I had predicted. Bold prediction, I know. Never in my life (almost half a century) have I seen our country so divided and misguided. It’s unnerving to say the least. On any given morning, we could wake up, turn on the news and be at war. Our President could have been impeached. Someone could have taken the lives of many innocent people. A deal could have been struck to change our lives for the worse forever. I could go on and on, but I won’t. We both know this is a scary time to be alive. Of course, getting drunk solves nothing, but I believe that distilleries and breweries are benefiting from all this so-called “fake news.”
The only silver lining I can take from all this bad news is this: For too long, voices have been silenced. 2017 proved that they don’t have to be anymore. People that have experienced abuse are taking a stand, and their voices are being heard. I believe this kind of empowerment will continue in trend and will make the world a better place. Now, that is something to raise a glass to! I toast all who refuse to be bullied anymore. This is the best kind of hope, and I’ll drink to that.
Happy New Year!
Leslie Shirley Nielsen