Well, we all had high hopes for 2021 and, other than all the space travel, it came up remarkably short. Let’s recap, shall we?
The year started off with a bang here in the US, as some of our more zealous political supporters decided to graduate from rallies and speeches to treason and domestic terrorism when they stormed the United States Capitol building. In January of 2020, if you’d told me that Murder Hornets were going to be our smallest problem, I wouldn’t have believed you, but here we are.
Ironically, four days later, the thing that all the Capitol stormers thought was happening in their country actually happened in North Korea, as the insane life-size hybrid of the kid from Up and the Stay Puft Marshmallow man, Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un was “elected” to also be the General Secretary of the Workers’ Party, a party that the actual workers have no say in whatsoever. He took over the title from Dear Leader Kim Jong-il, his father, who died in 2011. Apparently, Jong-il was so Supreme, he was able to manage the secretarial duties for ten years, even while being dead.
Three days after that, in Lyon, France, the first transplant of both arms and shoulders was performed on an Icelandic patient. Bernie Sanders was kind enough to donate his extra pair of mittens to the patient. Buoyed by their success, the surgeons graduated to an entire head transplant for Tessica Brown of Louisiana, who had accidentally substituted Gorilla Glue for her normal hairspray.
A joint World Health Organization–China investigation into the source of the COVID-19 outbreak concludes a Wuhan laboratory leak to be "extremely unlikely," with a "natural reservoir" in bats being the more likely origin. In unrelated news, the WHO, a division of Enron, received a sizeable anonymous donation to its executive retirement fund following the release of the report, all in Chinese Yuan.
As the Snopocalypse gripped Texas, leaving over 900 billion people freezing and without power all over the greater Houston area, the United Arab Emirates, and actual country, orbited an unmanned spacecraft around Mars. NASA's Mars 2020 mission, delayed because of bats, was landing on Mars at almost the same exact time, after seven months of travel. No one at NASA in Houston knew about it, though.
Oprah interviewed Prince Harry and Meghan Markle about the disruption in global trade due to the week-long blockage of the Suez Canal by Ever Given, one of the largest container ships in the world, that ran aground after the crew was attacked by bats.
Japan approved the dumping of radioactive water from the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant, over the course of 30 years, into the Pacific Ocean. The decision came with the full support of the International Atomic Energy Agency, but was opposed by China, who stated, “For Heaven’s sake, people, the ocean contains bat rays!”
Amazingly, a team of Chinese and U.S. scientists announced they had successfully injected human stem cells into the embryos of monkeys. Everyone in the world who wasn’t on the team said, “What in the actual hell?” There is no report on whether the experiment took place in Wuhan, but we have our suspicions.
NASA flew a helicopter on Mars, and Elon Musk’s SpaceX launched four people to the International Space Station. Not to be outdone by a guy who owns a car company, the China National Space Administration launched the first module of its Tiangong Space Station, beginning a two-year effort to build the station in orbit. Elon Musk then launched a second rocket, aimed at China’s new station and filled entirely with bats.
While the world gasped and swooned at Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez getting back together, Elon Musk brought the four people back from the International Space Station, but declined to comment on any plans to retrieve the bats.
The China National Space Administration, still miffed that the dude that started PayPal got to space faster than they did, landed a rover on Mars, making China the fourth country to land a spacecraft on the planet, behind the United States, Elon Musk, and Red Bull Energy Drinks.
The Friends TV show reunion special aired in every country in the world except North Korea, causing Kim Jong-un to become so upset about missing it he launched a missile at Hollywood. Sadly, he missed and hit China’s new Mars rover.
El Salvador voted to adopt Bitcoin as legal tender in the country, alongside the U.S. dollar. Elon Musk immediately sold El Salvador to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle so they could start fresh in a new country.
China sent its first three astronauts to occupy the Tiangong Space Station, still under construction. They returned to China almost immediately in a rocket provided by Elon Musk, citing concerns about an “unidentified infestation.”
The 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup was held in, and won by, the United States, prompting every single American except for the actual players to ask, “What sport are we talking about, here?”
Blue Origin, another space company owned by a dude instead of a country, successfully conducted its first human test flight, with a reusable rocket, the Amazon Prime, delivering owner Jeff Bezos and three other people into space with free two-day shipping and free returns. Elon Musk released a statement saying, “First human test flight, huh? That’s adorable.”
Virgin Galactic, yet another private space company, also sent owner Richard Branson into space. We are not making this up. Virgin Galactic doesn’t use the traditional space rocket, opting instead for flying a modified Southwest 737 passenger jet into space. Branson and three very surprised Southwest flight attendants spent ninety minutes in space, prompting Elon Musk to ask, “Who is Richard Branson? Never heard of him.”
China responded to the increase in private US space travel by releasing a bunch of bats into a North Korean Chuck E. Cheese, totally ruining Kim Jong-un’s birthday party.
The 2020 Summer Olympics officially began in Tokyo, Japan, after being delayed a full year by the blockage of the Suez Canal. Elon Musk won gold in freestyle skateboarding.
Russia’s Roscosmos space laboratory launched and docked with the International Space Station. Just hours after docking, a malfunction of its thrusters causes a temporary loss of control of the station, spinning it 45 degrees out of whack. Elon Musk fixed the problem from his iPhone while on the medal podium in Tokyo.
Spencer Elden, the naked baby on the cover of Nirvana’s album, Nevermind, now thirty years old (both Spencer and the album), sued North Korea and the Olympics for seeing his ding-ding.
A 7.2-magnitude earthquake, caused by radioactive bat rays in the Pacific, struck Haiti. The Taliban saw the earthquake as the perfect opportunity to retake Kabul, and, confused, the Afghan government immediately surrendered to Kim Jong-un.
A suicide bomber killed at least 182 people at the Kabul airport, including 13 US service members. The US responded with an airstrike, using $600 million worth of equipment to kill one guy, who, unfortunately, was not Kim Jong-un.
Hurricane Ida slammed into New Orleans, as the US military withdrew the last remaining troops from Afghanistan. The last guy on the plane reportedly said, “We dipped a bunch of camel spiders in radioactive seawater. Good luck.”
Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un shot two short-range ballistic missiles that landed just outside Japan's territorial waters. Japan then gave the head nod to South Korea, who hours later demonstrated their first submarine-launched ballistic missile. Jong-un said, “Crap! You guys have bat rays!?”
Inspiration4, launched by Elon Musk’s SpaceX, became the first all-civilian spaceflight, carrying a four-person crew on a three-day orbit of the Earth. Each person was able to flip off China and Kim Jong-un from space a record forty-eight times before returning to Earth.
Delayed for a year due to bat rays clogging the Suez Canal, the 2020 World Expo in Dubai began. Attendance was low because everyone was in space.
Roscosmos launched one cosmonaut and two Channel One Russia reporters to the International Space Station, who immediately reported that it was Elon Musk who knocked the station sideways in July, but superior Russian engineers fixed it. Meanwhile, NASA launched the Lucy spacecraft, the first Cuban-based slapstick comedy mission to explore the Trojan asteroids, wherever the hell those are.
In response to the worsening situation in the Suez Canal, the World Health Organization endorsed the first malaria vaccine.
Elon Musk launched four more people to the International Space Station. We are not making that up. Three days later, UberLyft, a joint space start-up, launched Tony and Marge Rapinski of Akron, Ohio to the International Space Station in a Nissan Sentra.
Unfortunately, Russia conducted an anti-satellite weapon test on the same day that created a cloud of space debris, threatening the International Space Station. UberLyft was forced to abort the mission, causing Marge to accuse Tony, once again, of “never taking her anyplace nice.”
The #FreeBritney movement was delighted to learn that a supreme court ruled to end Britney Spears’ fourteen-year-long conservatorship, causing a vast number of Americans to Google, “what is a Britney Spears?”
NASA launched the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART); the first attempt to deflect an asteroid for the purpose of protecting Earth. Jenifer Lopez immediately sued NASA on behalf of Billy Bob Thornton, Bruce Willis, Steve Buscemi, and her boyfriend, Ben Affleck, for copyright infringement.
The World Health Organization convened an emergency meeting in Geneva after learning that the Omicron Variant, another massive container ship, was entering the Suez Canal.
In a strongly worded memo, the United States announced a “diplomatic boycott” of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing in response to China's human rights record. The athletes would still compete, but no diplomats from the US would attend. Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia followed suit with their own memos shortly after. China was quoted as saying, “Oh, darn.” Kim Jong-un announced he would compete against Elon Musk in freestyle snowboarding.
To round out the year of space travel, NASA, ESA, the Canadian Space Agency, and the Space Telescope Science Institute launched the James Webb Space Telescope, the successor of the Hubble Space Telescope. NASA hopes that the new telescope will finally put an end to the twice-daily calls it receives from India regarding the Hubble’s extended warranty.
As we raise a glass this week and toast the end of 2021, let’s all just give thanks that 2022 is on its way. This will certainly be the year that we can finally catch a commercial flight to Mars to get away from all the damn bats.
See you soon,
Copyright © 2021 Marc Schmatjen
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