Dear 2020: Maybe I should wave the white flag. Usually I'll go several months before throwing in the towel. But you, 2020, are an opponent like none I have faced.
Sure 1963, you were a disaster. I was too young to remember much about your first ten months, but Nov. 22pretty much sealed your fate. You let an assassin take the life of President John F. Kennedy at the age of 46. I'm not letting you forget that.
I met a lot of friendly years for a while. Most of the 1970s and 1980s got me into broadcasting, which is really all I ever wanted to do. I have no quarrel with those years.
1983, you were a gem. You got me married, and 1987 and 1990, you brought me great children (who are now amazing adults). So you get gold stars too.
You crazy 1990s years, we were cruising right along, raising little kids and having all the fun and life experiences that go with it. I have no complaints about you.
Y2K, you had me scared, well in advance of your arrival. You threatened to come in and shut everything down, but it turned out you were all talk, no action. No harm done.
2001, you were doing okay until Sept. 11. That's when you frightened my children, and truth be told, you shook me up too. I just didn't let the kids know that. Still, you know what you did. I'm still dealing with the aftermath of your evil ways. Every time I'm frisked when I try to board an airplane or see a ball game, I still curse your name. You stole my innocence, along with that of many fun-loving Americans.
2011, you were just nasty. On April 25 you wrecked the lives of so many of my neighbors with a tornado outbreak that seemed endless. Like many, I still have the scars from my run-in with you.
2015, I had my fill of you on July 16th during a terrorist attack on our military friends in my dear city of Chattanooga. That was inexcusable.
2016, you went back-to-back with your ugly predecessor. In that same town, you shuffled along for a while, almost without being detected. Then, three days before Thanksgiving, you broke my heart, taking six sweet children from us in a school bus crash. You knew we could never recover, but you did it anyway.
2017, 2018, and 2019, I'm not going after any of you in particular, but don't stand there like you're innocent. You brought us mass shootings at schools, churches and concerts, plus kids eating Tide Pods. Meanwhile you took away Tom Petty and widened our racial and political divide.
Still, 2020, you knew I am an eternal optimist, so you convinced me you were different. You strolled in singing “New York, New York” while Ryan Seacrest giddily counted you in. I should've suspected something when we lost Kobe Bryant, his daughter, and seven others in a helicopter crash in January. We now know you were just getting started.
Around that time, people were whispering that you had something called a coronavirus up your evil sleeve. You hadn't really sprung it on us, but we now know it was in your back pocket all along. Just before spring, my favorite season, you unleashed it at full fury. You took away our sports, our hugs, and our favorite sit-down restaurants. You won't even let us go to a movie or a concert. How could you?
But you weren't finished. Just last week, you huffed and puffed, and blew our houses down. Our sweet southern corner of the US was still reeling from middle Tennessee tornadoes (also on your watch), and here you come again, wiping out homes and businesses in Louisiana, Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama.
Don't claim victory just yet, 2020. Just hours after your latest devilish devastation, I read some comments from neighbors of storm victims on Facebook.
“I spent the past 6 hours doing repairs, cleanup, and counting my blessings. I was constantly hearing sirens or medical helicopters making their runs. God be with those who they were helping. Their lives are changed forever.”
Plus, “Friends, we have no damage and we have full power. If you need a hot shower, coffee or a meal, WiFi, or some outlets to charge your phones, just come on over.”
And finally, from my friend Garry Mac, “My 93-year old mother was carried on the back of a firefighter as she was taken out of her demolished home. She laid on the floor praying for two hours, until a hero came to her rescue. She's shaken up, but she will recover.”
Here's to the heroes who are providing comfort to those who have lost their homes. With your help, I think we can beat 2020 after all.
(David Carroll, a Chattanooga news anchor, is the author of “Volunteer Bama Dawg,” available on his website, ChattanoogaRadioTV.com. You may contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 900 Whitehall Road, Chattanooga, TN