Two decades in the books, and, I must say, the 21st century is off to a rough-and-tumble start.
(This, of course, also could have been said of the 15th century, and it rebounded pretty nicely – the key being the invention of the printing press, followed by Christopher Columbus accidentally “discovering’ the New World, prompting the New York Post headline, “Headless Body in Topless Bar as Italian Explorer Stumbles Upon Civilization.”)
Let’s take a closer look at the bugaboos and blemishes infesting our nascent millennium:
The rise of Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless: They call it “Embrace Debate.” I call it “Embrace Carnival Barkers Spewing Hot-Take Nonsense That Makes Extraterrestrial Eyewitnesses Seem Reasonable.”
The fall of civility: If I’m next in line to check out at a supermarket and they open a new register, the three people behind me will rush over in a stampede to get there first. Uh, as George Costanza once intoned, “You know, we’re living in a society!”
Mixed martial arts: Just when I forsook boxing, the UFC became a thing. It is forbidden in Couch Slouch’s household, though our beloved pit mix Daisy steals glances of it in the backyard on her smartphone.
Facebook: Sure, Coca-Cola is the most successful retail product of all time because people love its taste. But how do you explain the feat of Facebook, a runaway consumer hit that makes people lonely and depressed?
The NBA has turned into a Pop-A-Shot contest from long distance: God bless Stephen Curry, an utter delight to watch. But now every 7-footer east of DeMarcus Cousins is jacking it up from beyond the arc. And let me ask you this: In soccer, when you score from 30 yards out instead of from 5 yards out, how come they don’t count it for, say, 1.5 goals on the scoreboard? Think about it.
Avocado toast: Do I like avocado? Yes. Do I like toast? Yes. Am I going to pay $10 for a slice of avocado on a piece of toast? No.
Juicing: Eat a banana, for goodness sakes.
Computerized statistical analysis: If you think being told a team has an 82.3 percent win probability with 6 minutes left in the fourth quarter needlessly sucks the joy out of sports, you might be on to something. Plus, do you really want Nate Silver sitting to your left for 3 hours talking up launch angle and which way Wisconsin is leaning?
Science denial: What planet are flat earthers, anti-vaxxers and climate-change rebutters living on? And is e=mc² suddenly in question?
Streaming services: Believe it or not, you can have too many choices. Give me Channels 4, 5, 7, 9 and 13, and I’m good to go.
Kale: I actually enjoy it. But kale enthusiasts are worse than cycling enthusiasts – they think they own the road.
Too much Boston success, too many Boston sports fans: Nobody wants the New England Patriots (or the Boston Red Sox) to win another championship. Nobody wants to be next to a Boston sports guy in a bar, plane or bank line.
Robocalls: A generation or three ago, the phone ringing was a happy sound. Now, it’s someone running for re-election, a supposed creditor or a fake IRS official asking for your Social Security number or you could be in prison within a week.
Public subsidies for new stadium venues. Your tax dollars at work; does not include the “personal seat license,” where you pay a nominal five- or six-figure fee to allow you the right to buy a season ticket to your very own seat!
People taking photos of their meals at restaurants: Just eat the damn food before it gets cold.
Twitter: I do not need 280 characters to express myself on this subject area – Twitter is the global warming of the Internet. We are doomed. #JustSayNoToTwitter
The decline of boxing, pinball machines and telephone booths. This speaks for itself.
Replay: The rest of our lives apparently will be under review.
Ask The Slouch
Q. While surfing away from an NFL game recently, I happened across a pro bowlers telecast. As I watched, mesmerized, the thought came to me: How can we use replay to screw up bowling? (Jim Clanton; Spokane Valley)
A. Bowling cannot be screwed up. Incidentally, we use replay at my local bowling center only when there is a dispute in regard to whose beer is whose.
Q. Are other scribes and talking heads allowed to disseminate the views of your column without your express written consent? (Jack Drury; Lavale, Maryland)
A. It’s a moot point – no other scribe or talking head wishes to disseminate my views.
Q. Do you think Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Bell wish they were still in Pittsburgh? (Matthew Blume; Albany, New York)
A. I wish I were still in Pittsburgh and I’ve never even been there.
Q. Any truth to the rumor that the estate of Harold Ramis is suing the Washington R*dsk*ns for stealing the plot from “Groundhog Day”? (Dan Morgiewicz; Burke, Virginia)
A. Pay the man, Shirley.
You, too, can enter the $1.25 Ask The Slouch Cash Giveaway. Just email email@example.com and, if your question is used, you win $1.25 in cash!
Subscribe to the sports newsletter
Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.