Dear 2009,

Welcome! Throw your coat on the bed, cozy up by the fire, make yourself at home and stay a while. By the way, what took you so long? I thought you'd never get here.

Your arrival has been more hotly anticipated than Fred Goldman's overdue retribution, the latest album from Guns 'N Roses, or the birth of baby Tripp, whose blessed arrival—surely no thanks to freedom of choice—completed a bizarre yet hardly surprising tongue-twisting tundra triad. Say it three times fast: Track, Trig, Tripp. Track, Trig, Tripp. Track, Trig, Tripp. Has a fun moose-shooting rhythm to it, doesn't it?

I barely kept the PTSD at arm's length this past year, biding my time with the knowledge that you would eventually show. But yours is a bittersweet arrival: Even with all the promise you hold, my relief is hindered by trepidation because, honey, the pressure is on.

It wasn't just 2008 that slipped into obscurity at the stroke of midnight on Dec. 31. No. As the ball dropped and fireworks burst and confetti fluttered, and as millions of people around the globe engaged in a simultaneous wet kiss, the previous insufferable eight years were ushered into a history that is already, as I write this, being rewritten. Just look at how the flying-shoe-ducker is being painted as a sympathetic character these days, what with his professed regret over the “Mission Accomplished” banner. That's his main regret? The banner? Not the costume he wore with the harness snuggling his balls into a nifty little don't-fuck-with-me bulge for all to see? Gah. My shoe is off and I'm ready to huck it.

Let's remember this: Bush has always been and will always remain an abomination. He is a festering boil, a giant pockmark on the forehead of our glorious and now gloriously flawed nation. There's little about Bush the Younger that should cause people to feel anything but despair, disdain and disgust. And while he packs the moving van, I think it's imperative that we put Georgie's contributions in an easily accessible lockbox of the American collective conscience.

Much like he was handed everything in his life, George was handed the presidency, and three days after his inauguration, he waged a war against women with the global gag rule barring U.S. funding for abortion counseling overseas. He effectively banned late-term abortion, as if women are tripping over each other to scrape their uteruses at month eight because pregnancy is an inconvenience. Later, much to the chagrin of this adoptive parent, he bounced a “snowflake” baby on his lap to show-off the amazing fruits of in-vitro fertilization while hundreds of thousands of parentless children lingered in our broken foster-care system.

He sat like a beady-eyed goat as the Twin Towers fell, told Americans to heal themselves through shopping and then repeatedly touted the success of no subsequent attacks on his watch. He squandered international good will in uncountable ways, and two of our GOP leaders embodied the rampant smallness-disguised-as-patriotism when, for a time, our representatives could only order “freedom fries” and “freedom toast” at their cafeteria. Take that France! Neener neener!

Never mind that our revered Statue of Liberty was a gift from the French in 1885.

Lies, damn lies, were at the root of one of his—now our—two wars, were used to dismiss the embarrassing, appalling events at Abu Ghraib and resulted in a domestic-surveillance program that we now know was used to spy on innocent Americans. I make it a point to offer a breathy hello to the spies when I'm having phone sex these days.

Secrecy defined our energy policy, firing of U.S. attorneys, limbo-treatment of detainees at Gitmo and the outing of a CIA agent. It shrouded our Vaderesque Veep who just might shoot you in the face if you're not paying attention.

Indifference, incompetence, callousness and racism led to the horrific handling of—as Laura Bush called it—Hurricane “Karina.” (You can bet if the same set of circumstances had befallen La Jolla, Brownie would have done a better heckuva job.) Those were Americans drowning down there as Bush finally did his 35-minute fly-over, while Condi shopped for Ferragamos.

Dubya's callousness and cynicism can be summed up as a fratboy prank: He dropped trou and hung his white buttocks out the window of his daddy's Hummer. Now he swaggers into the sunset with eight precious years like notches in his belt.

We get weakened environmental policies, failing schools, a broke-down healthcare system, an inconceivable national debt, an unprecedented accumulation of wealth for corporations and scoundrels, a nearly obliterated middle class, an ever-increasing unemployment rate and a sorry-ass willingness of a portion of our citizenry to accept as acceptable a vice presidential candidate who thinks proximity to a foreign country gives one international-policy experience.

Of course, I could go on, but I'm ready, 2009, really ready to wrap my arms around you and lower my expectations as we begin clawing out of this crevasse. I've finally removed my last anti-Bush bumper sticker and have begun to speak like a normal human being again, excising from my vocabulary various terms like “misunderestimate” and “subliminable”—and the ubiquitous “Internets.” I know my editor is glad to see me purge that one. Fun with sentence structure has given me an outlet, but it's time to say goodbye to all that.

Besides, I have an inkling that despite the progress you will bring, I'll have other opportunities in the not-too-distant future there, too, also, to play with creative paragraphery and conjugationalness.

I wish you strength, 2009. You're gonna need it.

In Peace,~aaryn

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