Don’t you dare blame number 2016 for all the bad stuff

This article first appeared in the Saturday Herald Sun


If 2016 were chocolate it would be white. If it were a car, it’d be a Chrysler PT Cruiser. If it was a person it’d be Nick Kyrigios, a amphibian it’d be a cane toad, and a channel, it’d be the home shopping channel.

Basically, 2016 sucked.

We had celebrities dropping like bogans after Race 8 on Melbourne Cup Day. The rise of the right wing around the world, killer diseases and disasters aplenty, and terrorist attacks galore.


Before we spend too much time wallowing in our sad, self-obsessed filth, however, let’s pause for a moment and remember all those who had a belter of a year.

Anyone into sporting upsets, this year was yours.

The Western Bulldogs in the AFL, were the most popular premier in decades. While the Cronulla Sharks in the NRL weren’t as popular, but hey, at least those upstarts from Melbourne didn’t win it all again.

The Chicago Cubs in baseball, Cleveland Cavaliers in basketball, and Leister City at 5000-1 in the English Premier League broke some of the longest droughts and provided some of the biggest upsets in the sporting history of ever.

Also, thanks to the rise of an anti-immigration sentiment, if you’re white and don’t like sharing what your ancestors took from the locals, it was a great year for you. Cough, Hanson Trump Farage, cough.

On a personal note, my wife gave birth to our first child on December 28, 2016, so it’s hard not to be excited about that. As I spew these words onto a computer screen, we literally just arrived home from the hospital and she’s spewing on my wife.

So 2016 isn’t evil, cursed or otherwise responsible for anything. It’s a number. A date.


A meaningless symbol we’ve attached to the passage of time in order that we all agree what the time is, so we can have birthdays, and also celebrate the most overrated party of every year, New Year’s Eve.

Blaming a number for all that’s happened this year, is like blaming the fridge for all the beer you drank, hundred dollar bills for never being in your wallet, and the Smurfs for anything, as they are harmless and amazing.


This calendar year did contain an uncanny amount of crap, but that’s on us.

If you don’t believe it already, start believing it now. More frequent environmental disasters down to our continued pillaging of the planet.

Those diseases that spread and terrified us all? Zika, Ebola and whatever’s next? They could have been stopped if the UN worked at all, and anybody with money gave a stuff.

Now celebrity deaths. They are a little sad, but since when is being a celebrity an achievement? That’s what worries me most. This seems to have been the year when, finally, you didn’t have to do anything to be famous.

The people who passed often did many amazing things, so why don’t we call them writers, musicians, or actors?

Social media in general. That’s something else that took a big step up the escalator of awful in 2016. The lies and hate that flowed around so quickly, and even the phrase itself. Because there’s so much social about sitting at a computer screen and clicking on things you agree with already.

The huge reason I can’t stand blaming a number for our failures, or successes, however, is that you can’t do anything to change a number.

As it ticks over by one, we’ll reflect on our waistlines, wages, or other lack of winning ways, and everything else horrible that happened this year, and expect one different digit to change it.

If you want anything to be different in 2017, or at any other time, however, the only person who can do anything about it is you. All of you, by which I mean us.

So while it’s depressing to think that 2016 is actually our fault, it must be good to know that we’re the ones in charge of fixing 2017.

But not me. I won’t be doing much of anything next year. I’ve got a new baby to care for.

This article first appeared in the Saturday Herald Sun

Xavier Toby is a writer and comedian.

His second comedy memoir ‘Going Out of My Mined’ is available now.

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