Oh, how I long for the days when our local countdown of the year's selfish and petty choices featured simpler things: a public official freaking out over a peace pole, some hunting tag fraud or a little plagiarism. While we've still got our share of small-scale jerk moments, once COVID-19 hit, some dick moves turned potentially deadly. It's notable, too, how many were not singular acts, but acts of mass schmuckery, synchronized like a dick-move wave traveling through a stadium. If you see yourself among the crowd of offenders, remember you can make different choices, redeem yourself through acts of non-dickness. Except for you, No. 3. I'll see you in hell.
10. When history looks back at our response to COVID-19, it will likely focus on our government, scientists, healthcare workers and essential workers, granting the toilet paper hoarders only a passing side-eye. But not me and not now. The self-fulfilling panic buying may have assuaged some scatological anxiety but it left the rest of us in the lurch despite there being no actual shortage of paper products. Stockpilers also revealed their everyone-for-themselves instincts in the face of adversity. Way to show your asses.
9. Conspiracy theories have their place, which is mid-week, late afternoon, at the end of a bar. Outside that, we're going to need some documented evidence. Wild tales and outright lies about COVID-19's origin (not a Bond villain's lab), treatment (please don't drink bleach) and profit potential (doctors aren't getting COVID rich and would actually prefer fewer sick people) aren't just infuriating, they're dangerous. And with a vaccine slowly coming through, it's disheartening to see the same self-destructive impulses playing out on local social media. And while you may feel like a free thinker among the sheeple, those who've lost loved ones to the virus see your post about the "media hoax" for what it is: a real dick move.
8. In November, someone rolled up to the United Congregational Christian Church and ripped its rainbow flag. A person that pressed about a church's honoring same-sex marriages and supporting LGBTQ+ members and clergy probably needs to look at why they're so bothered by people minding their own happy business. Like, what would it look like if you stopped obsessing over other people and just lived a life of self-acceptance? Anyway, the vandal made no dent in the resolve of the folks at the church, only committing a pointless dick move.
7. With our actual grown-ass president leaning into his racism by referring to COVID-19 as the "kung flu," it's not a huge surprise anti-Asian harassment and violence ratcheted up nationally and statewide this year. Humboldt had its share of nasty comments, unfounded suspicion, public shouting and taunts of "go back to China" — way to bring back the classics of xenophobic scapegoating by attacking Asian Americans' hygiene, food culture and right to be in this country at all. True what they say: Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat its dick moves.
6. Listen, small businesses are suffering enough. So why hassle retail and service workers already worn to unraveling by refusing to wear a mask or maintain social distance? You know what, don't answer that, Karen and Ken. Because we've all seen the viral videos and heard the accounts of these recurring tantrums on loop, like a dicky Groundhog Day. Nobody wants to hear your low-information take on the Constitution or the human respiratory system. Wear your mask over your whole nose and mouth or stay home.
5. And then there are the businesses that flouted restrictions, Siren's Song Tavern perhaps the most outspoken, but certainly not the only one. Not only was hosting live performances against state and county rules dangerous, but it was also a real dick move to fellow restaurant, bar and business owners following guidelines. Places that didn't enforce masking and distance rules also made the rules murkier to the public and therefore harder for law-abiding businesses to enforce. Whether folks called the county's anonymous tip hotline, complained on social media or just seethed silently, recovery will be that much harder with grudges born of scofflaw dickery.
4. The term "Bridezilla" gets thrown around a lot, but now that a big, traditional wedding and reception can turn into a super-spreader event, the comparison to a city-leveling monster is truly apt. Couples (let's not leave out Groomzillas) who decided their big day was more important than the health and safety of their community took the cake and, in some cases, wound up sending COVID-19 off with the goodie bags, their guests infecting others who weren't even invited. Tie some cans to the car and write "Just pulled a dick move" in the window. Congratulations, too, to attendees who endangered themselves and others for the Chicken Dance and prime rib that was just OK.
3. In his September Washed Up column ("Raised by Otters," Sept. 17), Mike Kelly dropped his first NCJ F-bomb (welcome to the family, kid) with good reason. Some garbage human had fatally shot an adult river otter in the head. Whoever you are, know that your dick move would repel any decent person who cares for you if they only knew and the echo of your stupid violence will follow you to the grave and into whatever special rabid otter-filled pit that hell sets aside for such dicks.
2. Recklessly gunning the engine in a street full of protestors is more than a dick move but it's not not a dick move. This is Humboldt — we brake and wait for elk, livestock, falling rocks, washed out roads and enormous downed trees. Those last three are genuinely scary, as opposed to unarmed Black Lives Matter protesters. If you feel the urge to hit the gas to intimidate or injure fellow humans or, in the case of an incident in McKinleyville, a horse, check your dashboard — that dick-shaped light is flashing red.
1. Well, selecting an entire year is a first, it's hardly an unpopular opinion: 2020 pulled every dick move it could fit into the calendar, with upheaval, disease, disasters and calamities galore. And while 2020 was often likened to one, a Dumpster fire — stuff you already threw out burning in a metal container with no loss of life — would be infinitely better. It's been dicktastic, 2020. Don't let the door hit you in the zero on your way out.
Jennifer Fumiko Cahill (she/her) is the arts and features editor at the Journal. Reach her at 442-1400, extension 320, or email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @JFumikoCahill.