From Where I Sit – Top Ten

You’ve got to love traditions whether they’re your own or someone else’s. I know some people (okay, It’s us) who order KFC for Christmas Eve supper while others order Chinese takeout. Some people don’t think New Year’s Eve is complete without cracking open a bottle of champagne or watching the ball drop in Time Square.

These practices may seem strange or lame to those who have more exciting ones. Some years we host or attend a New Year’s Eve get-together and stay up until midnight. Woohoo.

One of the things I happen to love as one year winds down and another starts are all the compilations and lists put together in a sort of year-in-review montage. There are the grisly top ten crime stories that remind us some lives have been forever altered by the actions of others. The landmark sentencing of Travis Baumgartner for the murder of three armoured car colleagues takes us back to that breaking story of 2012.

Or a recap of political stories remind us Ralph Klein died, Don Getty got an honourary degree and Alison Redford earned a seventy-seven percent approval rating at the party’s AGM. In entertainment news we’re forced to yet again, watch Miley Cyrus twerk and more in her ?daring? distancing from alter ego Hannah Montana.

And you’ve got to know that Rob Ford would make it onto several lists including Time’s Top 10 Apologies (at number 2) and Top 10 Scandals (at number 4). In fact, he was named Canadian Newsmaker of the Year by editors and news directors across the country and garnered more US media coverage than any other Canadian story in decades. To late night comedians he was manna from heaven.

And then there was Mike Duffy and company. Enough said.

There are the top weather stories; best and worst lists for books, movies, and videos; best and worst dressed lists; best commercials, apps, and gadgets; and honour roles for those who’ve died. Prince George’s birth will be noted as will Nelson Mandela’s death. I wonder where the sign language imposter will fit? Or the Ukrainian protests at Euromaidan?

Another December tradition is the televising of year-end messages from Queen Elizabeth, Prime Minister Harper and Premier Redford. It really is a quaint little custom. With everyone covering everything in real time through Twitter, Facebook, and news broadcast crawlers is there really anything they can say to us that we haven’t already heard several times over?

Maybe, therein lies a problem I hadn’t considered before. We are so bombarded with the tragic, the trivial, the bizarre, and the ridiculous?morning, noon, and night?that we have become spectators. we’re so busy watching, reading about, or listening to the “stuff” out there that we lose sight of our own news and its significance in our own lives. Our own activities, accomplishments, and disappointments are lost to us. We can’t remember, analyze, or learn from them if we allow everything else to drown them out. Let’s consider the top ten lists we made in 2013, from where I sit.

Hazel Anaka’s first novel is Lucky Dog. Visit her website for more information or follow her on Twitter @anakawrites.

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