2009: Goodbye to All That

So long, 2009, and thanks for all the fun.

I’m talking to you, Balloon Dad! Never mind that you wanted to name your next kid Mylar. (I’m totally making that up.) The truth is horrible enough: You forced your young son to hide, lie and then vomit on national television. OK, tut-tut to all that. But let’s look at the bright side: If your actions resulted in even just one future reality TV show getting its plug preemptively pulled, then we all owe you a giant bucket of gratitude.
That goes for you too, Jon Gosselin!

After standing every day at the fence of your former Pennsylvania estate (that TLC-supported palace that now belongs to Kate), hoping to wave and smile at paparazzi who no longer turn up, you’ve probably taken to smoking three packs a day, eating like late-phase Elvis and cursing Tiger Woods. That’s OK. Nobody’s perfect. And no one rocks the cubic zirconium ear studs with the élan you bring to them.

By the way, has any reviewer made the point that people liked Jon & Kate Plus 8 because the kids were cute — and that when they were really little and toddled around together, they were like goslings?

Actually, Jon, years from now, I can see you sitting in a rocking chair, wearing a dress and a Kate wig, muttering.

And merci to all of Tiger’s mistresses. Thank you, one and all. (Which is what, 14 or 15 at last count, with at least 40 percent of them named Jamie? And let’s not forget the one Jamie’s aunt, who also got a few seconds in on Entertainment Tonight.) Who knew being a “VIP hostess” could be so complicated? Or that blonde women in their 20s could look so hard and old.

And although Tiger’s behavior makes Don Draper look faithful, he did us a favor by bringing to light an underground economy that has kept us all going for the last 10 years. Where has all the money gone? To bottle service, everyone! Yes, that’s where upscale bars and nightclubs sell entire bottles of liquor to patrons for their personal consumption — at a 2,000 percent markup.

While you were scraping along, hoping not to lose your job and/or your health benefits, these women were out there enjoying a multibillion-dollar financial bonanza. In fact, never mind all the talk of mortgage failure and personal bankruptcy. Let’s dub the still-nameless oughts, those still-tender years between 2000 and 2009, the Bottle Service Decade. Thank you, Jamies! We owe you guys a lap dance!

And way to go, Tiger sponsors! It was so encouraging to see you all publicly standing by your man while furiously grasping for morality clauses behind closed doors. Really, will these companies never learn? We’ve had Michael Jackson and now Tiger Woods. (They actually had very similar childhoods, being forced to perform and earn money and watch their fathers cheat on their mothers.) You’d think these marketer guys wouldn’t invest their brands’ image to such an extent in any single human being, no matter how easy a marketing solution it seems to be.

But even way outside the endorser game, there are so many brands and marketers to thank.

Blessings on Facebook for redefining the word “privacy.” The idea of “Privacy Settings” now seems totally Orwellian.

And by the way, merry happy greetings to all those various types of Christmas carolers appearing in such a range of advertisements this holiday season! Let nothing you dismay! Well, actually, I could never figure out whether the Best Buy Singers were supposed to be bad or trying to be good, but either way, I’ll never look at electronics without holding my ears again. (There’s one soloist who is great, and she makes the rest look even worse.) They made me like the Gap rappers ever so much more.

There were some Chevrolet choristers who got lost in song next to the T.J. Maxx a capella specials. They carol in the middle of the mall about not shopping at a mall, which I found very confusing, since my T.J. Maxx happens to be in a mall.

Anyway, congrats to us all for making it through 2009. That’s no small feat! At the moment, I have to excuse myself and delete the last 11 episodes of Hoarders, which have been building up on my DVR. I never get to go through them, but there’s always tomorrow.

So, goodbye, 2009, and thanks for all the mess! For real! It will make 2010 seem a breath of fresh air — or a blast of Listerine, brought to you by one of Stephen Colbert’s Olympic speed skaters.