YEP, 2020 GOT KINDA WEIRD

With quarantine and stay-at-home orders, the world had a chance to … get weird. Really weird. Boredom led to lots of new and amateur content online and made bread makers out of quite a few people. Here are some of my favorite, most interesting and weird facts about 2020.

POP CULTURE

Fleetwood Mac’s hit from 1977, “Dreams,” hit the top of the charts in 2020, thanks to Nathan Apodaca. He’s the guy whose truck broke down so he jumped on his longboard to get to work. He filmed himself with a selfie stick, cruisin’ along to the tune and drinking a half gallon of Ocean Spray cranberry juice. Good, good things came of this. The video on TikTok went viral and the drink company bought him a new truck. Then crowd-funding enabled him to buy a house for cash, getting him out of a RV. The internet’s interest in the truly random is wonderful.

APOCALYPSE BINGO

Remember the “Godzilla” dust storm missed the Keys and South Florida in late June? It was 3,500 miles wide (Seattle to Guatemala City, if you’re wondering) and the dust storm was 2 miles deep. The dust storm slipped under the Keys, and kept going right toward Texas. 

Other key squares on the Apocalypse Bingo playing board: Australian bushfires burn what seems like the whole country; Kobe Bryant dies; city-size swarms of locusts descend on East Africa; pandemic; quarantine; collapse of the global economy; Britney Spears accidentally burned down her home gym; George Floyd is murdered by a cop in plain daylight; peaceful protests; violent riots; the ring-of-fire eclipse signaling what some call the end of the world; the U.S. government confirms UFO sightings and releases reports but nobody cares because, you know, COVID; 100-degree temperatures recorded in the Arctic, for crissake; etc., etc.

NEW WORDS

The Oxford English Dictionary added 203 new words to the dictionary in 2020. We picked four of our favorites:

  • Jafaican, n. and adj.: A non-Jamaican person who adopts or identifies with aspects of Jamaican culture, esp. in a way regarded as contrived or inauthentic. 
  • kapow, int.: Representing the sound of an explosion, a gunshot, a hard punch or blow, etc. Also in extended use, conveying the suddenness or powerful effect.
  • nomophobia, n.2: Anxiety about not having access to a mobile phone or mobile phone services.
  • whatevs, int. and pron.: Used (typically in response to a question or statement) to indicate that the speaker is disinclined to engage with, or is indifferent to, the matter.

LEANING ON GOOGLE 

Google publishes a list of its top searches of the year. (1: election results; 3: Kobe Bryant; 2, 4 and 5: COVID.) Besides those, everyone was talking about making bread from scratch (in fact, yeast suppliers couldn’t keep up with demand), that we totally overlooked what was happening in the Latin market. The top recipe searches in Spanish were for flan, aguachiles (like shrimp ceviche, but add cucumbers), piña colada, arroz con leche (rice pudding) and tinga de pollo (shredded chicken for a tostada).

A NEW LANGUAGE

During 2020, everyone’s meme game was on point. What with COVID-19 and the election, the material seemed unlimited. Here are three favorites:

WEIRDEST 2020 STORY BY ISLAND:

Marathon: The day rapper Vanilla Ice came to Marathon to film a Monster Energy drink commercial and it was also really foggy for some reason. Plus, the amount of fan-girling by the elementary school teachers who got to fawn over their adolescent crush.

Key West: The Jet Ski graduation for Somerset Island Prep in Key West. Nothing says “congratulations” like wearing a cap and gown and operating a PWC to the back of a paragliding boat to get a piece of paper from the principal standing on a swim platform.

Upper Keys: The haunting of Snake Creek Bridge. (Seriously, it kept breaking.)

OUR TOP 5 STORIES

Sometimes trained journalists have an inkling of what the public will like; sometimes we’re just as surprised as phytoplankton. Here are the Keys Weekly’s top five hit-generating headlines of the year, in order:

  1. Florida Keys closing to visitors as of Sunday.
  2. Sea ‘Weed’: Florida Keys fishermen catch a dozen bundles of pot.
  3. Key West is in a state of mask chaos
  4. New Florida Laws — 8 laws that went into effect 8 days ago
  5. Which restaurants are open for dine-in, ‘to-go’ and delivery

EVERY PARTY NEEDS A POOPER

One final word about 2020. When the clock strikes midnight on 2020, don’t expect everything to be magically better. Instead, wrap up in a nice warm snuggie of comedy and just keep going. Our final, final words: please never ever hoard toilet paper again.

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