Without question, this past year was one for the history books and will no doubt be filed under the chapter heading—I’m just guessing—“2006.” It was a year of crisis, both natural and human-made, but it was also a year in which important lessons were learned. For example, the Bush administration learned it could no longer lie about torture, and I learned that if you leave a pair of dirty underpants on the front seat, nobody breaks into your car.
It was a year that justifies careful analysis and deep reflection, which I would gladly do if I had been paying attention, which I wasn’t. But I remember September:
• The international space station came one step closer to completion—and thus, one step closer to its ultimate scientific goal: completion—when the Space Shuttle Atlantis delivered much-needed supplies. Benefits of space station research so far include the discovery that duct tape works under gravity-free conditions, and that Russian cosmonauts get really annoying when you have to listen to them day after day after day.
• Democratic candidate Adrian Fenty won the District of Columbia’s mayoral primary, virtually guaranteeing his election in this majority Democratic city. His election was assured during the campaign when he stopped by my house and used the bathroom. The four eligible voters in residence took note of this and voted accordingly. (Note to potential presidential candidates: One bathroom. Four votes. Do the math.)
• Venezuelan President Hugo “Mr. Happy” Chavez complained during his United Nations speech that the podium gave off a bad odor from George Bush’s address the previous day. White House officials were quick to explain that the president had eaten Tex-Mex for lunch and, you know, couldn’t help it.