40 Degrees

Boyleing Points
Typography

It’s not exactly a secret but just in case you never gave it a second thought, end of year lists and year in review articles are publishing’s lazy way of filling up the paper. I’d like to slip in a Top 10 of something but I can’t get to ten on anything. I used to be a movie buff but I don’t think I watched a single feature film this year. It was so much easier when the long-gone Surfside Cinema was still open. Or, for that matter, when the 4:30 p.m. movie was an everyday thing. I can’t remember when a movie had everybody talking about it. Don’t tell me, Star Wars, you freaks.

Off the top of my head, I guess Titanic was the last movie that, at the very least, everybody heard of. And that was twenty years ago.  I mean, Birdman won Best Picture in 2015 and The Artist won in 2012.  If you talk about those, you have one-sided conversations.

So I can’t do a Top 10 movie list for 2017. 

There’s another Top 10 that’s just about impossible to recall at year’s end. Throughout the year, a beautiful day with no humidity, not a cloud in the sky, suddenly presents itself and you say, “Top ten day, maybe top five.” But at the end of December, you look back and you can’t remember any of the top days.  You know there were some spectacular days but you can’t remember if it was a 65-degree day in February or a 75-degree day to break up a hot spell in July. 

In the greatest TV series of all time, The Wire, one of the characters talks about a 40-degree day in the wintertime. There’s no way to remember it. A 50-degree day brings a smile, a 60-degree day and people are firing up the barbecue grill. The 40-degree day tag is applied to anything not memorable. If a movie, a sporting event, a meal, anything really — if it’s just so-so, it’s a 40-degree day. Hey, this space is no different. Most weeks, Boyleing Points is a 40-degree day. (Though it’s helpful when I just rerun forgettable columns).

Anyway, I got stumped on Top 10 things, so I surveyed friends about how they ranked 2017 on a scale of 1 to 10.  A couple of people shocked me when they said the year was great and they’d probably give it a 9 or 10. This made me suspicious, made me think they just have terrible memories. Maybe the last week was a 9 or 10 but the whole year? Shows you how my mind works, I started thinking of world events that would make them reconsider and give the year a 7 or 8. But I kept the dark stuff to myself and was both jealous and happy for them.

Pointing out bad stuff reminds me of the old joke, “Other than that, how was the play, Mrs. Lincoln?”

So how’d I rank 2017?  I guess, the best of times and the worst of times.  I’m still worried we all might look back on it like the Titanic.

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