In February, undefeated boxers Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury had their highly anticipated rematch after their first bout ended in a draw. Wilder, a heavy favorite, came into the ring with an elaborate outfit. Looking like he stepped off the set of Black Panther, he claimed he wanted something similar to African costumes for Black History Month. Then Wilder got the hell beat out of him by a flabbier, more sluggish but more skilled fighter.
In 2020, we’re all Deontay Wilder. The visual of his defeat sums up the year’s first three months.
Kobe and his daughter Gigi died in a tragic helicopter crash. COVID-19 has much of the country on lockdown. All sports are canceled, leading ESPN to have their sportscasters work from home. Tom Brady left the Patriots (even as an Eagles fan, I hated to see it).
The Gamecock women’s basketball squad, No. 1 in the nation before the NCAA nixed its 2020 basketball championships, looked like they were poised to win another title, which would have been their second in three years. Seniors Tyasha Harris and Mikiah Herbert Harrigan deserved a chance to compete for the trophy.
And we have Donald Trump navigating us through a pandemic — which is like desperately needing to make it to the hospital, and having Stevie Wonder as your wheelman.
So let's just forget 2020 ever happened. Treat it like a one-night stand you had when you were extra lonely. Because if we ever needed a collective mulligan, this is it.
How would we do it? Treat it like the MLB should've treated the 2017 Astros: Put an asterisk beside this year and move on. Whatever your age is, you stay that age until your birthday in 2021. Hell, I've known women who have been 29 for five years anyway.
Remember when that third X-Men movie came out and was so bad that they put another one out and pretended like it never happened? Of course you don’t! You don't remember because some things just need to be forgotten.
At the same time, perhaps there are some lessons we should hold on to.
In these anxious times, you learn a lot about yourself. You learn that given the way you go through your quarantine snacks, you should never opt for the lump sum if you hit the lottery. Get paid out across 25 years, or you’ll treat the money like that box of Fruity Pebbles — even though downing it left you with a lactose intolerant stomach ache.
I always thought that when you break up and your new ex tells you, “I need time to find myself,” that it was just a bulls#!t way to get out of a relationship (and it often is). But this forced solitude is teaching us a bunch about ourselves. I've battled with my consumption of alcohol in the past, looking at my bank account and wondering where the money went. Being in the house helps. When I'm sick of watching another episode of Justified, I pull out a book or even crochet a kufi. This necessary solitude is forcing us to disconnect, like we so often need to do but somehow can’t.
In the midst of 2020’s peak crappiness, DJ D-Nice, known for his role in Boogie Down Productions, made a simple gesture: playing some music online so we could enjoy some type of normalcy. Taking his lead, many more artists and more than 100,000 people jumped on board for what became known as Coronachella. And for a moment we were reminded that even in the eye of a crisis we are still able to do great things.
If you have that great American novel to write, a song to record or life-sorting to do, do it now.
Because in reality, there’s no way to actually get a redo on 2020. So let’s just make things better for 2021.
Preach Jacobs is a musician, artist and activist and founder of Cola-Con and indie label Sounds Familiar Records. You can hear his podcasts and read more work at FightThePower.co.