CURRENT ISSUE:  OCTOBER 2023

An Eject Abroad: Looking Back at the Catastrophe That Was 2022

An Eejit Abroad: Looking Back at the Catastrophe That Was ‘22
By Conor Makem

What a long, strange trip it has been. Twenty-twenty-two has come to a close and to celebrate, I am offering up my memories of this tumultuous, news-laden catastrophe of a year. So, place a seat belt around your head, because I’m about to take your eyes on the ride of their life.

It is a difficult task narrowing down a year’s worth of news stories to a single column. I could do ninety inches on the James Webb telescope without breaking a sweat, but the editor at iIrish is renowned for his hard-as-nails approach to columnists. And thusly, I must stay in my lane.

Let’s do this chronologically.

January
Prince Andrew is stripped of his military titles and charities. Irish residents, some of whom have a slight inclination away from monarchies, issue a collective yawn.

February
Russia invades Ukraine, cementing Vladimir Putin’s role as most hated person on the planet. Piel Island, off the English coast, announces that it is seeking a new monarch. 

The new monarch will be in charge of the island’s crumbling castle and its 300-year-old pub. He or she must also swear an oath to be a good smoker and drinker and “to give anyone found dead on the sands free refuge in the pub.” An iIrish columnist was reputedly denied the throne.

March
Will Smith slaps Chris Rock at the ninety-fourth Academy Awards (the Oscars). It was the slap heard ‘round the world.

April
Twitter agrees to sell itself to Elon Musk. Tesla shareholders agree that it’s no big deal as long as he doesn’t offer up any controversial opinions. Wallets are then emptied out.

A scientist at the University of West England announces that he has concluded a study of mushrooms and determined that they can communicate using electrical impulses. Apparently, their vocabulary is up to fifty words, which legally allows them to hold accounts on Twitter. Willie Nelson and Snoop Dogg simultaneously nod their approval.

May
After the Northern Ireland Assembly elections, Sinn Féin becomes the largest party. Several people passing by Ian Paisley’s grave claim to have heard elongated groans coming from the ground. This has not been corroborated by iIrish, but we’re working on it.

June
Nothing officially happened in June.

July
Two-time U.S. Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner pleads guilty to marijuana charges in Russia. At that same moment, both Willie Nelson and Snoop Dogg bend over in pain, sensing a strange disturbance in the force.

The James Webb Space Telescope produced its first images, stunning the scientific community. Astronomers explained the need for such a telescope, noting that since there was so little intelligent life on earth, they needed to look elsewhere. The search continues.

August
The F.B.I. executes a search warrant at Mar-a-Lago and there’s nothing I can add here from any angle that won’t flood my inbox with anger.

September
For the first time Catholics outnumber Protestants in Northern Ireland. The 2021 census showed 45.7 percent of the population are now Catholic, and 43.5 percent are protestant. Once again, several people passing by Ian Paisley’s grave claim to have heard groans coming from the ground.

Liz Truss is named the United Kingdom’s new Prime Minister. The tabloid The Daily Star announces a contest to see if she will outlast a head of lettuce. She does not (I didn’t even have to make this one up).

In Panama, a $1.5 million prototype floating home plunges into the water during its unveiling ceremony. Simultaneously, a cutting-edge engineer is seeking “new opportunities in the job market.”

The prosecution of Soldier F resumes for the role in murdering two men on Bloody Sunday in Derry, Northern Ireland in 1972. The charges had been dropped in July 2021. The soldier also faced five counts of attempted murder.

October
President Joe Biden announced he will pardon all prior federal offenses for simple marijuana possession. Willie Nelson and Snoop Dogg spontaneously erupt in muffled giggles.

The other half and I traveled to Denmark and Sweden. This isn’t a tidbit you’re likely to run across in the New York Times or on the BBC, but iIrish delves a little deeper into some subjects than those rags. Feel free to peruse my column on the trip in this esteemed journal, which pitted Denmark against Ireland, with some remarkable results. Take that, so called other news outlets!

November
The midterm elections surprise pollsters and lead everyone in the country to ask why anyone pays attention to polls anymore.

December
Experts declare the latest Covid variant XBB.1.5 is spreading like wildfire, leaving people worldwide excited for 2023, because it can’t get any worse. Can it?

*Conor Makem spent 22 years traveling and honing petty gripes as an Irish musician, and enjoyed a further 13 years of people not returning his calls as a journalist. He is fluent in English, American and old Kerry farmer. More of his photos are on Instagram under cb.makem.

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