It’s about to be that time again. I know it’s likely my article drops after all y’all done gorged yourselves all day on good foods. But it’s still time to reflect on the year that is almost over, and figure out the bests, the worsts, and what-have-you. As I’ve written on other sites, I like to assemble a list of those things I am most thankful for at the time of writing. A time capsule of positivity, if you will. Except we live in cynical nasty times, so, well, this is what you get. Enjoy it. Hate it. I don’t care anymore!
(Because some people will like to throw stones… this list is purposefully built in random order, and should not be dissected for importance. Jerks.)
1. I’m thankful for Bill Taylor, George Kent, Marie Yovanovitch, Alexander Vinman, Jennifer Williams, Kurt Volker, Tim Morrison, Gordon Sondland, Laura Cooper, David Hale, Fiona Hill, and David Holmes. As of this writing, we’ve no idea if Donald Trump will be impeached or removed from office. And while his blatantly obvious scheming would have me personally hurl the book at his orange mush so fast, it’d break the sound barrier… I am not in the House of Representatives. So, I digress. I am thankful that those above testified openly and honestly about what they saw, heard, and felt about this whole Ukraine situation. Because as it was plainly (and brilliantly) put: “This is America… Here, right matters.”
2. Schitt’s Creek, GLOW, Orange is the New Black, and The Good Place. Somewhere between my terrestrial cable subscription (it’s retro chic, don’t you know) and my Netflix account, I’ve enjoyed an amazing smattering of peak sitcom joy. And those shows listed above all have, at their core, belief in joy. Despite our joyless world, these shows have all touched my heart, and remind me of the good in the world.
3. AEW and NXT. Well, no doubt you knew this one was coming. AEW and NXT have both reminded me what good professional wrestling can be when it wants to. Well-crafted in-ring stories paired with over-the-top-but-still-plausible storylines are literally incomparable to the standard dreck dealt to me by the still-Vince-driven RAW and Smackdown shows. And make note: I will be doing a best-and-worst list of wrestlers / storylines in 2019 before the end of the year. You’ve been warned.
4. My wife and I celebrated 10 years of marriage. While we’ve been a couple now for nearly 19 years, it’s the last ten that have been the legally sanctioned ones. This year, I went all-out gifting the love of my life into a complete stupor. A custom-made Funko (err, Fishko) Pop figure was paired with a cameo video message from my wife’s true bae, Joey Fatone (of NSYNC fame). How did I know I did well? My wife said plainly “Well now I feel a little bad, cause I can’t compete with those gifts.” Damn straight.
5. I recorded and released a comedy album. No, seriously, I did. What started out at a little favor to a Facebook friend, became a monthly hobby. I’ve been building up material for an entire year, and after actual demand from people I’m not related to, I went ahead and did an hour of material. That I was able to do it and raise over $500 for charity was the icing on a funny cake. (And sure, if you want the album and want to support my favorite charity, go to www.FishIsFunny.com and have a giggle on me.)
6. Avengers: Endgame was everything it could have, and should have been. My hand to the soul-stone, kiddos. I was a hot mess of man-crying for the last third of this movie. Martin Scorsese can eat a bag of dicks. The action was non-stop. The effects were mind-blowing. The story was engrossing. It was the icing on a 24 layer cake that will likely never be topped again at that scale.
7. Unshaven Comics committing to not quitting. My little studio has had a rough year. We made it out to Denver, Secaucus, and Atlanta in 2019 (with a handful of other more localish shows as well). But we didn’t put any new books on the table. And try as hard as we might? Next year will be a struggle as well. Especially because we’ve been denied spots at the first 4 shows we applied to in 2020. But we don’t care. We’ve done this long enough to know: we’re never going to stop. We may be slower, older, fatter, angrier, bitterer, and beardlier… But we ain’t dead yet.
8. My children. Sappy? Sure. But screw you. My older, Bennett, is an avid reader now. My middle, Colton, is literally so sweet his teachers met us outside the parent-teacher conference pre-gushing about how much they love him. And my youngest, AJ, has started to walk. And with all three… seeing the unabashed joy in their faces as they enjoy the world around them… breaks my bad moods down at the molecular level. Simply put, they siphon the bad and laugh it into submission.
9. My job. In previous iterations of this list, I was also happy with my day job. But, never before in any position I’ve held, have I been in the one I am in now; not only a contributor, but a senior level manager with real responsibility and accountability. The training wheels fell off my professional career, and I’m not even 40 yet. I can’t make it clearer how both exhilarating and sobering it is to work in a company that sees the value I posses (as an artist, a creative, a supervisor, a collaborator, and a plate-spinner) and let me have a seat at the grown up table. It makes it so every day I wake up, I feel charged with making good things happen, and know now that when they do… I’m an integral reason they did. While some of my friends and family remain locked in positions that under-utilize them, I recognize that a little luck and a lot of hard work landed me where I am. I’m not taking it for granted, and it’s made this year blaze by in a blink of an eye.
10. My friends. More than ever, I look to the network of people in my orbit and know now what it means to be blessed. While I’m not very religious or spiritual (for now), I recognize clearly the forces and energies in the universe have come to deliver balance to me. With all I’ve given, I’m receiving back in winsome ways I could never have counted on previously. My cup runneth over with those people I’ve come to surround myself with. It’s a situation such where I wish honestly I could dedicate an entire article to, in order to ensure I not miss a single soul worthy of a lengthy shout out. So, without that many inches left to this column, I’ll opt instead to list a random smattering of names out there of those who have made 2019 a damn fine year specifically because of how they impacted my little Fishy life: Adriane, Mike, Bob, Sherry, Emily, Liz, Greg, Kim, Jim, Buford, Sellotron, Melinda, the Ryans, Tony, Cherise, Tim, Kristo, Workwife, Buff Brighid, Jennie, Pels, Rachael, Rachel, Danny, Yoni, Michael, Mike, Elena… and yes… even you Elliott.
Cheers to 2019. Thank Rao it’s almost over.