When I was a kid, back in the 80s — that’s 1980s, not 1880s, thank you very much! — we used to love to “psych” people.
We’d hold out our hand as if inviting someone to give us a “high five,” and when they committed to doing so, we’d pull our hand back and say “Psych!” to the unwitting fool who fell for our sophomoric behavior.
It was an integral part of growing up in the 1980s, a magical time in life which young people can learn more about by watching TV shows like “The Goldbergs” or “Stanger Things” or by listening to Gen X folks like me relive the glory days, when MTV actually played music and people trusted television news anchors and wanted to grow up to be X-wing pilots or astronauts.
So far, it seems like 2024 is the kid that is continually trying to trick us and we’re the dimwits who keep falling for it.
First, there’s the weather. Last week was supposed to be the sequel to Snowmageddon — Snowmageddon Strikes Back, if you will. Grocery stores in Gonzales were full of people shopping for supplies in case they had to hunker down like we did in February 2021, when we had to melt snow so we could flush toilets, defend our homes from nomadic polar bears and cast lots to determine who would be eaten first when the food ran out.
Psych! What we got was some very cold temperatures on MLK Day that turned a march into a parade, schools closed for a few days due to precaution, a fender bender that knocked out power for 1,000 people for a few hours and very little in the way of precipitation. Even though we saw a low of 14 degrees early Jan. 17, it never felt like “the end of the world as we know it,” to throw it back to R.E.M. and the 1980s.
Double psych! This week, all of that precipitation we were supposed to get last week arrived in one swell foop — I mean, one fell swoop — and flooded parts of Gonzales County, causing schools to shut down again on Wednesday, Jan. 24. As much as eight to 10 inches fell in some parts of the county.
Then there’s the 2024 presidential race. The approach of the primary and caucus season made it seem like we wouldn’t be stuck with a pair of candidates (Biden and Trump) whose combined age (159) on Election Day is equal to the number of years it has been since the end of the Civil War (1865).
The GOP field included — using Trump nicknames — Nikki “Birdbrain” Haley, “Meatball Ron” DeSantis, “Aida” Asa Hutchinson, “Liddle” Mike Pence, “Sloppy” Chris Christie and then Tim Scott and Vivek Ramaswamy, both of whom were apparently so inconsequential as to not even earn Trump nicknames. Surely one of these titans would rise to the occasion and deliver us from a repeat of the 2020 election main card?
Psych! Only Haley remains in the way of a Trump-Biden rematch in November as the other candidates have all dropped out of the race, unable to build any momentum or generate any new ideas that would excite or enthrall an electorate that’s “gotta to get a break from the same old, same old.” (Poison, Nothin’ But a Good Time, 1988).
Biden still has opponents (in name only) in Marianne Williamson and Dean Phillips and there are the third party candidates, like Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Cornel West, but, to quote Biden, “c’mon man.” These people have as much likelihood of breaking up Trump-Biden II as CornPop had of beating up Biden and we all know that “CornPop was a bad dude and he ran with a bad bunch of guys.”
Finally, our eyes have opened up and we see what’s going on here, 2024. You’re just trying to punk us.
Well, like George W. Bush says, “Fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again!”