If you have not noticed, this decade is coming to an end faster than Tiger Woods’ marriage. I started thinking about this while subjugated to reruns of ‘Hannah Montana’ and ‘Wizards of Waverly Place’ with my kids and ‘Jon and Kate’ episodes with my wife. Instead of listening to my iPod on my walk with the dog I thought more about it. It wasn’t that long ago people were scrambling for bottled water and generators for Y2K and now we’re adding ‘apps’ to our iPhones. It’s been quite a decade.
We elected George W Bush president…twice, almost elected Sarah Palin vice president, and made history by electing Obama. We discovered water on Mars, Elizabeth Smart, and thanks to the Mitchell Report and Jose Canseco, steroids in baseball (mostly all festering in Barry Bonds’ bulbous head). We panicked about SARS, Avian Influenza, Mad Cow Disease, snipers in DC, bombs in shoes, and the thought of our kids seeing Janet Jackson’s breast. We tried to save Terri Schiavo, Elian Gonzalez and Chrysler only to pull the plug, deport and file Chapter 11 on them respectively. We said happy birthday to Disneyland (50), Harley Davidson (100), Superman (70) and Batman (70). Suicidal gunmen attacked colleges and shopping malls. We sent Martha Stewart, Paris Hilton, and Scooter Libby to jail. We added Google, Wikipedia, and YouTube into our daily routines and lexicon. Blackouts rolled across the country, Earthquakes rolled around the world, Ken Jennings rolled through Jeopardy, and Blu-Ray rolled into our DVD players. We said goodbye to Walter Matthau, Chandra Levy, John Lee Hooker, and Jack Lemmon, miners in Utah, Sam Snead, David Brinkley, Queen Elizabeth, Ronald Reagan, Charles Bronson, Will Eisner, Jack Paar, Pope John Paul II, Heath Ledger, George Carlin, Charles Schultz, Farah Fawcett, Patrick Swayze and Michael Jackson, just to name a few. Shaq won a title without Kobe. Kobe won a title without Shaq. The Yankees, Patriots, Tar Heels, and Red Wings won a lot. After 80 plus years, the Red Sox finally won. After one hundred plus years the Cubs still had not. The Phillies won and Philadelphia was still unsatisfied. The housing market, domestic automobile sales, Glen Beck’s sanity, Don Imus’ career, and Ron Artest’s self control all burst. We communicated in texts, tweets, and Facebook. We patrolled our borders for illegals and patrolled the waters for pirates. We paid for rising prices of oil barrels, government bailouts, and war. We voted on who could and could not get married, who would win American Idol, and voted The Terminator, Jesse the Body and Stuart Smalley to our government. Killer toys from China stormed shelves of retail stores, Katrina stormed New Orleans, and Hollywood stormed out on strike. We played Wii, Xbox 360, and the Playstation 3. Hannah Montana and the Jonas Brothers became huge and so did Kirstie Alley and Oprah (again). Freddy fought Jason, Ross and Rachel ended up together, celebrities booked rooms at rehabs like reservations at Spago, we got a new James Bond, a Dark Knight, fell in love with Hobbits, and Bernie Madoff made off with lots of other people’s money. And in the end, the Energizer Bunny just kept on going…and going.
So in the face of such a monumental decade, filled with such monumental events, I felt like I should contribute to the parade of year end and decade end reviews sure to be playing on a constant loop across our cable boxes. After deliberating on all the happenings and going ons during the past 10 years, I found it remarkably easy to weed out people like the Gosselins and FOX news. Regrettably I had to cut the ‘Jersey Shore’ from my list but still remains close to my heart. And after all the clutter was cleared I was able to settle on 5. Five moments that defined the decade for me.
My top 5 of the past 10.
(Eat your heart out VH-1 and your nominally talented celebrity commentators.)
1. Getting married (2000). With all due respect to the holy and well publicized union of Heidi and Spencer, the day I walked down the aisle with my wife ranks in the top 3 happiest moments of my life. In 1998, ten minutes before picking up my future wife to go out to a bar with friends during Christmas break from college, I lamented about my feelings towards women to a friend in my car. I had reached my breaking point. I needed some Jimmy time. I was set to nomadically travel the world like Cain in ‘Kung Fu’. Find myself. Enjoy life without the weight of a relationship on my shoulders. My gaggle of friends and I picked up Alicia and went out that night. Two years later she and I were married. One look from her and I fell in love. Five minutes in her company and I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life in her company. It’s been one hell of a ride but it’s a ride we have always driven together. I could not imagine this decade or my life without her.
2. Hannah being born (2002). In the fall of 2001, Alicia and I thought it was time we became parents (I knew it was going to be fun trying to become a parent). In November of 2001, the pink lines showed up and we both knew our lives would never be the same again (I had never been so excited to see my wife pee). On July 23rd, 2002, after a lot of hard work from Alicia and questionable coaching from me, I held my daughter in my arms and was immediately in love. I can not possibly put into words what my daughter means to me except to say my life and all that I am belongs to her (and she knows it).
3. Emma being born (2005). As any parent will attest, there is no one you can love more than your child that is until you have another one. Alicia and I thought it was time to try for another kid (again I was up to the challenge of trying). Again in November (something about the leaves changing color really charged us up) we found out we would be welcoming a new baby. Sure enough, July 19th, 2005 my Emma Jolene was born. And now I have another tiny person that I give my life and all I have to. It has never been a challenge to love them both with all my heart. They are my two little ladies and they can make wiping crayon drawings off my kitchen walls a whole lot easier with one “I love you Daddy”.
4. Rest in Peace George (2005). 2005 was a crazy year. I celebrated Emma’s birth and mourned my father’s death. My dad was a huge part of my life and unfortunately I don’t think I realized his influence until he died. My mom, sister, wife and I were able to spend my dad’s last 12 hours on this Earth together, with him. The pain from the infection that was taking him from us was eased by hourly doses of morphine. He layed in an intensive care room hospital bed with us huddled around him. Yet even drugged with enough morphine to slow a rhino, my father retained his wit, humor and love that he had when he was very much alive. We laughed with him, we retold stories, we held his hand, we cried and we were able to say our goodbyes which in some strange way gave all of us some sensation of closure. I live my life in honor of him today, I remind my girls about their Pop Pop constantly and try to live up to the name I am so fortunate enough to share with him.
5. 9/11. Since Pearl Harbor, has there been an event on American soil that has carried with it such far reaching effects as the events of September 11th, 2001? I remember driving to work and listening to it unfold on the radio eager to get to a television so I could see what I was hearing. I pulled into work and shot directly to the television where customers and employees were already huddled around watching the tragedy happen live. When the dust settled, New York, the United States, an the entire world were changed forever. 9/11 unified our country under a veil of flag toting, slogan spouting, patriotism. We were hungry for our just revenge. We declared war on terror, Afghanistan and Iraq. We declared Mission Accomplished then fought some more. We were told of hidden WMD’s only to find out there were no WMD”s. Enhanced interrogation, we were told, was vital to our national security. We were warned terrorists wanted to kill our children. We all got just a little scared whenever the threat level on CNN was bumped up to Orange or Red. Our government spat in the face of the Constitution. The world felt our Shock and Awe. Whether you were there, were watching, or felt the shockwave ramifications afterwards, 9/11, like Pearl Harbor, has affected all of us.
What a decade it was.