New Year's Guide 2008

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The finalists in our annual essay contest — plus musings from Westword writer Michael Roberts on New Year's resolutions.

First Place

I Hate 2008

By Christopher Castellano

This year sucked.

I was recently laid off from my ingloriously undemanding job working for the lowest-rated TV news station in Denver. I'm not going to name it, since I don't actually hit the road till February, but it sounds a lot like "GW" — also on his way out and with equally dismal ratings.

Shortly after, my thirteen-year-old invincible cat, Funkmaster Flex, who has survived gunshot wounds (BB), stabbings (cactus needles) and excessive smoke inhalation (college dorm room), was diagnosed with lymphoma. As optimistic as he is, I'm not so sure he'll be able to meow his way out of this one.

So, in its final act, 2008 promises to leave me unemployed and catless. Pretty bad, yes, but only made worse when I realized my sorrow-drowning plan was methodically foiled by the engagement and marriage of most of my drinking buddies throughout the year.

Now that I think of it, the trouble really started last winter when I hung up my calendar. My hometown Giants won the Super Bowl in stunning, record-breaking fashion — but I was passed out for most of the second half, metabolizing Jägermeister. Tyree helmet catch...all a the next few months.

 The governor of the world-champion state gets busted banging overpriced Jersey Shore sluts. The nation's economy falls apart like a Mexican space shuttle. Gas cost more than whiskey. The once venerable Brett Favre drags everyone through a pathetic public breakup that made us all feel uncomfortable and awkward, like having to take a shit at someone's house whose bathroom is in the middle of everything and has no fan.  The Dutch flipped on some kind of atom-smashing, money-sucking, underground energy tube that was supposed to swallow up the universe but instead did nothing but just lie there. Anyone else been duped by Amsterdam's false backroom promises?

    And then, to cap it all off, the confusingly cheerful, moose-hunting moron Mayor of Methtown came within a beaver's hair of the White House. Hooo-lee shit. This year needs to check out faster than a tween Hollywhore from rehab.

 I didn't mention the only bright side, Obama, and that was intentional. I'm saving him for 2009. If nothing else, he'll bring enough light to the new year to get us through the tunnel of sludge left behind by the dozens of despicable scandals, pointless tragedies and boring Britney comebacks that have soiled the past twelve months.

I won't be making any resolutions this year — mainly because I don't want to quit drinking, I love to overeat, and I have nothing but contempt for exercise. But I will be making magic brownies, and plenty of them, at five bucks a pop. C'mon, how else am I going to pay for the Funkmaster's chemo?


Oh, Brother!

By Robert

I'm a high-school dropout, 26 and still living at home. (That sounds worse every year I have to make that number higher.) I rang in 2008 in an old hospital in Scottsbluff, Nebraska, made into a hotel for patients and visitors who cannot afford a real hotel. I sat in bed with two shooters of cheap whiskey while my mom slept in the other bed. We were there because my brother had been in a car accident that left him a paraplegic with a severely disfigured leg. His wife had grown tired of me and decided to tell the psychologist that I was hindering his recovery, even though all the nurses and therapy staff stuck up for me. So I would visit on weekends, bumming a ride whenever anyone I knew was going to see him.

The time came to fix his leg, and they sent him to St. Luke's here in Denver. I took the bus there every day and sat with him. (Thankfully, he'd convinced his wife to stay in Nebraska for all but his days in surgery.) They did a muscle-flap surgery and sent him back to Nebraska to wait for the bone replacement — but the MRSA he'd contracted while in the Scottsbluff hospital got worse. It was decided that his leg couldn't be saved because of that and he had to have it amputated. We've gone through various ups and downs since then. He's been hoping for the big cash settlement from the guy who hit him that the TV lawyers promise, but I hold out little hope.

Then my uncle unexpectedly died. That was a huge blow to my family. Right after they had taken him off life support, I remember my aunt saying to the twenty-somethings in the room, all grasping their significant others, "That's what you have to look forward to, the death of a spouse." Being the only loner, I caught a short glimpse of just what love can mean to some people. I've felt alone this year, and watching those couples, I figured out why: Everyone grew up on me. 

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