A New Year

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SEAN DIETRICH

By SEAN DIETRICH

Goodbye old year. You were a decent year, I don’t care what they say about you. Yeah, a lot of crummy stuff happened in 2022. But a lot of good stuff happened in 2022.

For starters, scientists finally pinpointed the origins of the universe. Researchers theorized that a chain reaction of exploding supernovae, 14 million years ago, created a 1,000-light-year-wide bubble, at the epicenter of which lies our humble galaxy.

Many top scientists agreed that this galactical event could NOT have happened by randomized chance.

When skeptical scientists were asked whether this new galactical discovery proved or disproved the existence of, ahem, Intelligent Design, they remarked, “We, um, well, next question.”

Also, this year marked the first year in history that women refereed the men’s World Cup. Which is a big deal in the soccer world. And even though, personally, I only follow sports involving either Richard Petty, Dale Murphy or Miller Lite, I am very proud of my fellow soccer-loving human.

Also, this year Victoria’s Secret featured its first model with Down syndrome, Sofía Jirau, who writes:

“When I was little, I looked myself in the mirror and said, ‘I’m going to be a model and a businesswoman.’”

Today, Jirau can be seen sporting a high-dollar bra “in my favorite color, pink,” she said. “Victoria’s Secret, I love it.”

Jirau’s story was shared with me by my friend, Kandy, from Cleveland, Ohio, whose adult daughter has Down syndrome. Kandy writes:

“Before the ‘80s, the majority of people with Down syndrome were shoved into institutions, but today people with Down syndrome are kicking butt, contributing to their communities, becoming famous. We aren’t just talking about changing the world anymore, we are actually doing it.”

Also this year, my truck hit 189,000 miles. I don’t know how my Ford F-150 manages to keep running even though it is 20-odd years old, but it does.

This truck has been so abused and battered, and has traversed 39 different states. And yet the thing keeps going.

Yes, the interior smells like a giant dog’s hindparts. Yes, the seats are missing vital pieces of upholster foam. But the truck is still going strong, and that must count for something.

This is also the year that Freida, an 18-year-old from Kansas City, Missouri, had an experimental cancer surgery. The operation was done in California. The surgery worked. Today, she is cancer-free.

This year Chelsea (69), of Detroit, Michigan, got married for the first time. She met a man over the internet, an environmental scientist named Bud. Bud has never been married, either.

They hit it off. They went to TGI Friday’s. They kissed on the third date. They had a private wedding in Miami.

“I used to think my life was over,” Chelsea said. “I guess God had other plans.”

This year, a 12-year-old kid named Zion got adopted. Zion’s caseworker emailed me early in January. Zion and I began emailing back and forth for several months.

Zion’s father was murdered. His mother was a drug addict who left him lying on his back for the first seven months of his life. Zion almost starved to death. But that was not the end.

Today, Zion has been adopted by two loving parents who are smitten with him. Zion is an honor student.

He told his mother yesterday, “God has always been my looker-outter. He looks out for me; I have always known this.”

Also, 2022 was the year I discovered I don’t have cancer. Earlier this year, doctors told me they thought I had a major problem. They sent me in for test after test. I was so scared that my personal life started to fall apart. I lost nearly 40 pounds just from stress.

During one particular test involving a large digital-imagery apparatus, I was instructed by a young college-age female medical tech to drop my trousers.

I did.

Whereupon the young tech said, “Um, you also have to drop your underpants.”

“But,” I pointed out, “then I’ll be buck-naked.”

After which the college-age girl said — and this is true — “Don’t be embarrassed, I’ve seen millions of thingies doing this job.”

After weeks of waiting, the doctor called me with the test results. I was at an Atlanta Braves game, standing in line at a vending booth, ordering an Ovaltine.

The doctor said, “You don’t have cancer, Sean. You’re all clear.”

I started to cry, in front of God and country. And I mean REALLY cry. Snot and tears and everything. And try as I may, I cannot un-feel the gratitude I felt that fateful evening. I kicked back a few celebratory Ovaltines that night.

So, as we stand on the cusp of a brand-new frightening year, I’ll be honest, I don’t know what 2023 will bring. It might be good. It might be a bad year. It might be the hardest, most disastrous year of my life. Or maybe it will be the best.

But, truthfully, I don’t care what 2023 holds. Because I know who holds 2023.

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