It's the end of the year, so it's time to start making lists: regrets, accomplishments, aspirations, groceries. Summing up is a messy business, and in this very messy year it is impressive that Merriam-Webster was able to pick just one word to be 2016's Word of the Year. Drum roll, please.
Okay. The Word of the Year for 2016 is surreal. How did Mister Merriam and his partner Webster determine this two syllable adjective to be worthy of representing what happened to us all over the past three hundred sixty-some days? According to them, it was picked because of the “high volume of lookups” and a “significant year-over-year increase in lookups” on their web site. The posted definition? "Marked by the intense irrational reality of a dream." Does that sound like 2016 to you? I get the intense irrational part, but the dream thing is hanging me up a bit. I tend to associate dreams with good things, like when your dreams come true it's a good thing. For many of us, the past eight years were about that. Hope and change and yes we can. But somewhere back there we slipped into a deeper sleep and things began to shift. Maybe we should have taken our cues from Prince and David Bowie and woken up when they went away. The angles are getting sharper, and the clocks are melting. What we thought we knew for certain turned out to be only a part of what was happening. There was an element of dark mystery that drove trucks into crowds and brought fear to the forefront once again.
A presidential candidate with no prior experience with governance calls his rivals names like a playground bully and proceeds to climb to the top of his party. He surrounds himself with all manner of curious advisers and associates, many of whom share very different views about what it might take to make America great again. Wasn't America great just a few months ago?
The person with the most votes in the presidential election did not win.
The Cubs won the World Series.
To sum up: 2016 - surreal.
Look it up.