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Illustration by Isabel Ríos

Removing calendars: how 2020 attempts to disrupt new year’s eve results

Having already stripped time of all meaning back in March, 2020 plots to take the final step required to trap us here for all eternity.

Aug 30, 2020

This article is a contribution to The Gazelle’s weekly satire column.
Panicked individuals all over the world are reporting that their calendars have mysteriously disappeared. Rumors are swirling that 2020 itself has ordered their removal in a desperate and vain attempt to remain, in effect, past an increasingly likely loss on Dec. 31. While objectively horrifying, the raw terror has been dampened by one key fact of life: Humanity is no longer surprised by anything 2020 does to us.
“At this point, I’ll believe basically any headline,” lamented Nofux Leftogiv, Class of 2021. “Kaiju rising from the Ocean? Sure. Geese stage coup d'etat in Canada? Why not? Amazon Inc. acquires the actual Amazon? That happens like every other Tuesday.”
Having already stripped time of all meaning back in March, 2020 plots to take the final step required to trap us here for all eternity. Disturbingly, this latest dastardly scheme has not only failed to shock humanity, but many see it as rather in character.
“I couldn’t imagine it any other way,” remarked date enthusiast Julian Gregorian, Class of 2022. “After everything that this nefarious year has put us through, it seems only natural. Just like my GPA, it always manages to get worse. Refusing to end is 2020’s inevitable conclusion.”
While disheartening, Gregorian’s conclusion is not unfounded. 2020 has been a year of cascading catastrophes. A global pandemic, forests incinerated, violent repression, economic collapse — these crises have shaken us to our core.
More debilitating, however, are the year’s truly great betrayals. We succumbed to TikTok’s siren call only to discover it might soon be illegal. Avatar: The Last Airbender gave us solace, only for the original creators to abandon the Netflix live action version. And worst of all, NYU Abu Dhabi’s official Instagram account began spreading despicable lies about the “birds” allegedly residing on campus.
It should come as no surprise that we are now more jaded than fine jewelry.
The only real winner in all of this is 2019. Indeed, 2020 has proudly taken credit for all the systemic issues its predecessor worked so hard to sweep under the rug. Covid-19’s namesake had no shortage of fragile public health systems, corrupt politicians, police brutality and economic inequality. But somehow, 2020 has lowered the bar so much that we remember the great 2019 dumpster fire as a romantic candlelit dinner.
And indeed, even after 2020 (hopefully) ends, those issues will remain. It did not cause these absurdities — it resulted from the absurdities that already existed.
Some have even gone so far as to question why we should expect 2021 to be substantially better than 2020. “Sure, 2021 might be superficially more pleasant,” sighed Begrudj Ingvotar, Class of 2023. “But I suspect it will ultimately do very little to fix what is, what has long been, broken.”
Regardless of what the Bursar’s Office might (mis)lead you to believe, 2020’s bill will eventually come due. No matter how many calendars it removes, the living embodiment of stepping barefoot on a Lego brick will one day end.
But that can only happen by looking to the future — by getting our calendars early, hanging them on our walls and circling 2021 no matter how begrudgingly.
2020 has subjected us to pain, both personal and collective. We’ve been let down by incompetent leaders and hollow, performative activism. Our plans for our future have been derailed. We’ve found even more reasons to be angry with Student Finance and Residential Education.
But in every moment of despair, we’ve seen people rising up to help. Marching in the streets, digging through rubble, wearing a goddamn mask. Humanity may no longer be shocked by cataclysm, but we are far from apathetic to it.
We should not be surprised by the diabolical schemes yet to come. Nor should we be surprised, however, by the compassion we will offer and receive. We should not be surprised by our steadfast resilience. Our problems may outlast 2020, but so will we.
Ian Hoyt is a columnist. Email him at
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