“2016 is the worst year ever!” “Can we just get 2016 over with?” “Person of the year, 2016: The Grim Reaper”

STOP IT.

55.3 million people or so died this year. A few dozen happened to be celebrities. Some were people whose work I and others really liked, like Alan Rickman. Others played iconic characters, like Carrie Fisher; or were instrumental in musical trend like David Bowie or all? most? of Emerson, Lake, and Palmer.

But it’s highly unlikely most of you knew these people. Like the other 55.3 million, you never met them, or if you did, it was a singular encounter or two. You’re not mourning the other millions, nor should you mourn these folks, either.

Yes, some of them were good folks. Some were highly talented, creative, or prolific, and you still can enjoy their works. To paraphrase a character played by another dead celebrity, “They’re not really dead, so long as we remember them…”

This isn’t the worst year ever. We haven’t had the Soviet pogroms this year. Nor “the Final Solution” (and no, Trump isn’t bringing that back. But if he does, I’m sure he’ll tell us it’ll be big and beautiful; just ask everyone…) No Black Plague — hell, no polio. You can swim in most of the water in the US, despite the DAPL protesters. I remember when the creeks and rivers where I grew up were red and foamy with chemicals — thanks, Pfeizer! That’s pretty unusual today. The skies are not blackened from industry, unless you live in China.

The world’s poverty level is falling, even in crapholes like Africa and India. Many of us work less, have more, and are unlikely to be murdered by our government or neighbors than ever before.

Actually, 2016 — for many people outside of Hollywood — has trundling along about the same or a little better than past years.

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