A Wishlist for ‘09

We need a lot to bring back the smiles

The year has nearly drawn to a close, and what a year it has been. It was the year of “hope” and “change,” but also the year that “sub-prime mortgage” replaced “WMD” in the American lexicon. Recent history has been particularly depressing: Between Blagojevich and billion dollar bailouts, there has been little to be pleased about this past month. I still smile whenever I hear about the Somali pirates, but I have a feeling that even this may grow stale in the coming months.

So what would make us happy right about now?

Not necessarily anything material like a house or a job, because happiness is very hard to quantify. Sure, we assume that we are happier than anybody in Zimbabwe or Burundi could be right now. But then again Slovenia—a picturesque European country nestled between the Alps and the Mediterranean with a buoyant economy that is unlikely to recede and record low unemployment levels—has the fourth highest suicide rate in the world

Since happiness is intangible, here is a list of events that I wish will happen in 2009, if only because they would bring a smile to America’s beleaguered face:

1. The Big Three CEOs travel from Detroit to DC on foot, and still get scolded by the Senate for being extravagant. Rep. Gary Ackerman asks, “I mean, couldn’t you all have downgraded to crawling?”

2. The Obamas choose a cute shelter puppy for themselves. The overwhelming feel-good factor of the occasion keeps this country going for months.

3. Iran releases pictures of its first fully operational large-scale nuclear reactor. Within hours, analysts point out that the entire picture was Photoshopped.

4. Osama bin Laden is captured alive. Network news channels delight at their record high ratings. In order to provide the best coverage possible, CNN immerses John King in a giant touch bubble from which he highlights every possible outcome of the trial.

5. Polar bears make a quiet comeback from the brink of extinction by migrating south and living off the people of Wasilla.

6. Rod Blagojevich is sent to prison in the Senate Seat for Sale Scandal. For his haircut alone, he is denied any possibility of parole.

7. Just when people thought their feud was finally over, Hillary Clinton demands that she deliver half of Barack Obama’s inauguration day address.

8. You are no longer asked to take your shoes off at the airport after a leaked al Qaeda statement declares that shoe bombing “was really just a stupid idea.”

9. In lieu of any real improvements in North Korea, Kim Jong-il gets a stroke every other month.

10. NASA discovers what could perhaps be traces of fossils fuels on Mars. GM, Ford and Chrysler immediately halt R&D on any fuel-efficient cars.

11. The Iraqi journalist who hurled his shoes at President Bush is extradited to America. President Obama pardons the man, and is even seen gifting him a TGIF “All You Can Eat” coupon.

12. In a bizarre twist to the already convoluted global financial situation, economists realize that all this time it was really China that owed the United States money.

13. Consumers file a class-action lawsuit against Apple after they realize that the company simply re-released its original iPod as its latest model, tricking millions of eager and unsuspecting people.

14. A Youtube video showing Hugo Chavez tripping and falling off a stage while making anti-American comments quickly becomes an Internet sensation…

15. …surpassed only by a video of Dick Cheney tripping and falling off a stage.

And finally one for Harvard: Condoleezza Rice decides to take up a teaching position in our Government department. She decides to spice up her first lecture by offering an impassioned defense of the Iraq War and asking her students to argue against it. In true Harvard fashion, Dr. Rice is met with one full hour of awkward silence.

Have a wonderful final fortnight.

Rajarshi Banerjee ‘11 lives in Currier House. His column appears on alternate Fridays.