I begin with a now annual apology: I don’t really do much on this blog anymore. Sorry about that. I encourage you to check out my Facebook page and my Twitter account for semi-regular updates relating to my writing, as this blog is very clearly on the back burner in terms of my priorities.
With that out of the way, just about the only thing I do regularly with this blog anymore is a ‘top tweets of the year’ post. For anyone interested in the previous collections, here are the Top 10 of 2010, Top 11 of 2011, Top 12 of 2012, Top 13 of 2013 & Top 14 of 2014, Top 15 of 2015 & Top 16 of 2016, Top 17 of 2017, Top 18 of 2018, and Top 19 of 2019.
This year will continue to be an evolution from earlier efforts in the series. I believe all of the posts make better use of the new(ish) 280-character limit. This will also be the first year where a tweet with a picture made my ‘best of’ list. A final innovation? I tweeted a lot about COVID-19, and while I didn’t want to turn my 2020 retrospective into ‘The COVID-19 Show,’ I also didn’t want to eliminate all mention of what has been one of the biggest shapers of my year from the record. As a compromise to share the spotlight, some additional COVID-19 tweets will appear as honourable mentions at the end rather than crowd out other worthy candidates for the Top 20.
Anyway, let’s get this show on the road! Here are the tweets I want to highlight and look back upon from the past year:
My Favourite 20 Tweets of 2020
Jan 1, 2020
I received a scented candle for Xmas that smells like a campfire. Now my ‘I’m not a scented candle guy’ street cred is firmly established, but I’m not going to lie: This thing smells like a campfire, and —unless and until my landlady calls the fire department on me– I dig it.
Jan 10, 2020
Today is the sort of day where you don’t trust the weather forecast. I’m still going to wear my winter coat. Oh, I could bust out a spring jacket in January –be a hero– but the risk? The risk is too great. I mused this to someone. She said, “This is your next tweet, isn’t it?”
Jan 25, 2020
There’s something about carpeting in an airport that just FEELS like Florida, you know? Someone really lobbied for this. “No. No easily mopped floors. We’ll vacuum. I want this airport to look like as much like the set of The Golden Girls as possible!”
Mar 4, 2020
“He’s a cowboy. On a steel horse he rides. Why a steel horse?” My coworker wonders.
“Because it’s a motorcycle,” I say.
“Oh!” My coworker says, genuinely gobsmacked.
Another coworker also thought it was literally a metal horse.
…I feel like I’m taking crazy pills some days.
(Worth saying these first four tweets all happened in what I now call ‘The Before Time’ or ‘The Long Long Ago’ before COVID-19 changed so much about how the world worked. These are tweets about holiday gifts, the weather, travel, workplace banter about Bon Jovi lyrics. As long and weird and scary as 2020 has felt, I kind of marvel at how normal my first few months of tweets read back to me now.)
Mar 15, 2020
I’ve just spent the last hour doing a text-message rendition of ‘Drunk History’ talking about the history of Albania (of all things) with my girlfriend, and I’m taking the fact that she’s still texting me with relevant questions rather than breaking up with me as a good sign.
Apr 15, 2020
I have a friend whose son is named River.
I have a friend whose daughter is named River.
I have a friend whose dog is named River.
Checking my Facebook newsfeed before I’ve had my morning coffee can sometimes require more concerted effort than I am prepared to muster.
Apr 20, 2020
I fell asleep on the couch and moved to the bed at some time in the middle of the night. This morning I woke up with too many options for where my glasses might be, but they definitely weren’t on my face: Blind Man’s Bluff meets a Scavenger Hunt pre-coffee. The struggle is real.
Apr 20, 2020
My girlfriend just made a declarative statement: “If you somehow become a dictator, I’m not dying alongside you.”
…I don’t know how to feel right now.
Apr 24, 2020
My sister got me an Amazon Echo Dot for Christmas, and by and large I dig it. Sometimes, though, things like this happen:
“Alexa? Tell me everything is going to be alright.”
“Sorry, I don’t know that.”
Honest? Yes. Reassuring? No.
(This is a COVID-19 post that escapes the honourable mentions. I talked to Alexa a lot during my Working-From-Home-Self-Isolation-Oh-God-It’s-Too-Quiet. This was a gem of a conversation.)
May 4, 2020
It’s been 4 weeks since my #COVID19 haircut. It’s not quite like watching the grass grow. People don’t really complain when you mow the lawn too short. Also, there’s less interest/opportunity to speculate how much of the grass will come up silver this time around. #COVID19Ontario
(This is the first time in ten years I’ve ever had a photo make my Top Tweets list. What you’re seeing here is one of a series I did every week for a couple of months after I shaved my head to get out from under what is universally acknowledged to be a thick crop of hair. My mother and girlfriend were horrified, so I made an art project out of it: Every Sunday I took a photo in the same pose to show my hair growing back. Week 4 had the best tweet to go along with the photo. One of the earlier weeks actually was picked up and reposted without permission by a few news blogs covering people giving themselves COVID-19 haircuts. I’m honoured to have been considered such a prime example.)
May 11, 2020
Last night I dreamt my girlfriend and I were on the couch watching YouTube; Eddie Vedder was also there, standing off to one side. After each clip he asked us to check out one of his music videos with the awkward earnestness of a small child trying to make friends at summer camp.
Jun 1, 2020
Playing online Risk has taught me so much about convincing others to do all my dirty work for me, all the while patiently waiting for the decisive moment to betray everyone and march over their corpses to victory. I cannot wait to apply these lessons to real life.
(I played A LOT of online Risk during the first few months of the global pandemic. I found it soothing and engrossing and comforting in a way that I really needed. I’d have to go check the app to see how many hours I played, but I’m sure it was more than a hundred, possibly two hundred. I reached a global ranking of Master and something like top 7000 online players in the world at one point.)
Jun 19, 2020
I know this isn’t a mandatory thing anymore, but I separate my lights and darks when doing laundry. I had a cat who died three and a half years ago. To this day, I am still surprised whenever the contents of my lint trap comes out light or dark instead of a uniform tabby grey.
(This tweet proved hugely popular. Someone I’ve never met but follow on Twitter reached out to me and called it a poem and encouraged me to submit it somewhere. As he himself is a poet, I took that as praise from Caesar.)
Jun 27, 2020
My hometown radio station has a guy who I guess writes jingles. I can only hope it’s not his day job: The tunes are unmemorable; the words don’t rhyme or fit into a cadence, and sometimes I’m not sure which company is being plugged. These aren’t jingles. They’re at best jangles.
Jul 29, 2020
I dreamt I was watching a TV show where two men were speaking Yiddish, but because I don’t know Yiddish they were just making gibberish noises, which I thought was pretty racist. They then became aware that they were speaking gibberish and turned to look at me accusingly.
Oct 7, 2020
I’ve bought myself a new laptop, and I’ve decided to name it, “The Other Woman.” Now my girlfriend can have a lot of fun when she complains about how much time I spend with this thing.
It’s called being thoughtful, fellas. Do something nice for someone else once in a while!
(This marks the end of my ‘playing Risk online’ and the beginning of my ‘playing Crusader Kings 3’ phase of 2020. I’ve played almost 250 hours of Crusader Kings 3 since early October. It’s basically been a part-time job. I was right to give my computer such an amusing name.)
Nov 3, 2020
Today is the day, and I don’t know what to say. All day, I’m not going to know what to say.
I keep writing a tweet and then deleting it.
To my American friends? Show us who you are today. Now is the time you get to tell us how you see yourselves, and how you want us to see you.
(For the sake of context for the distant future, this was the day of the American election that —eventually— saw Joe Biden deny Donald Trump a second term. It was a stressful, nail-biting experience.)
Nov 25, 2020
I just told a co-worker, “Well, go forth, young man, and prosper!” (I often dip into 19th Century colloquialisms.)
No sooner were the words out than I felt a pang of nostalgia. I’ve been saying that to him for almost a decade; since we were young men in search of prosperity.
Dec 2, 2020
Someone on reddit just said, “Your posts read like someone tweeting from 150 years ago.”
I am ridiculously proud of that compliment. (I assume it was a compliment…)
Dec 9, 2020
We’re all familiar with the ‘No Glove, No Love’ condom education campaign, yes?
While running an errand I just came up with, “No Mask? No Task.”
So… Do they mail me my Clio Award to my home, or my work address, or what?
(Another COVID-19 tweet makes the Top 20 to round out the year. I thought it was pretty good. Right? Now onto the honourable mentions.)
COVID-19 Honourable Mentions
Mar 9, 2020
Me: Minding my own business and growing the first proper beard of my life in my late-thirties.
WHO and CDC: “One big thing you can do to protect yourself from COVID-19 is avoid touching your face.”
Me: “Well, shit…”
(This was my very first tweet about COVID-19. At the time, I thought COVID-19 wasn’t going to be that big a deal. One week later my office closed and I have worked from a small desk in my bedroom ever since with the exception of eleven and a half days where I did go into the office to run some virtual conferences from a studio we set up in one of our boardrooms.)
Mar 13, 2020
I went out to lunch with a coworker. The waitress apologized as she handed over the menus. “Sorry if they’re damp. I just sanitized them. I’ve been doing a lot of sanitizing…”
(This was the last meal I had in a restaurant in three months, and the last meal with a non-family member or my girlfriend in five or six months.)
Mar 26, 2020
Score! I played a hunch and swung by Shoppers at 8 am. You’re looking at the proud owner of enough toilet paper to see me through to May, easy. They’ll be sold out again by 9 am I bet. That’s now an ‘other people’ problem. #Toronto #COVID19Ontario
(My girlfriend and I live within walking distance of each other. Those early morning walks home provided lots of opportunities for me to get into stores before the lines formed. This was my biggest victory during the shortages.)
Mar 27, 2020
I’ve now finally tried Zoom. I’m not a connoisseur of such things, but that’s the best video chat for large groups I’ve seen so far. I expect I’ll be using that a lot moving forward.
(And I have, although funnily enough not so much for work purposes. Oh, I’ve done some work stuff on Zoom, but we also have other tools for that. When I think of Zoom now, I think of my monthly Writers Group, and of an old Air Cadet reunion I did, and of the virtual parties I enjoyed with some friends with a subscription to Jackbox.tv. Zoom has kept me connected in a way I really, really needed. I wonder why we didn’t all just use Skype? Wasn’t that the dominant brand going into all this?)
Apr 8, 2020
I’m typing up a bunch of old notebooks during downtime between projects while working from home during self-isolation.
Funny, it took a global pandemic for me to finally get around to learning the hotkeys for an em dash.
Alt+0151 = —
This has been today’s Twitter Confession.
(I include this one because in a previous Top Tweets list I confessed I just Google em dash and then copy and paste the search result. Here I finally broke down and learned the code. It only took me my entire adult life. From now on if you see me write — instead of — you’ll know I’m on my phone. I have no idea how to get an em dash on my phone. It’s good to have limits. It keeps me humble.)
Apr 17, 2020
#WFH Day 35: I arrive at the (home) office in a stunning ensemble of a baseball hat sporting my company logo, an orange short-sleeve shirt, red bathrobe, blue pajama bottoms, tan slippers, & no socks. I call this ‘Lazy Comfort,’ and it’s taking the world by storm in Spring 2020.
Jun 5, 2020
‘Quarantine’ comes from an Italian word meaning ‘Forty Days.’ Today is Day 81 of my #WFH . By the medieval laws of not allowing sailors off ships returning from plague ports for 40 days, I have now completed two back-to-back quarantines and am beginning my third. #covidontario
Sep 17, 2020
Today is a #WFH day after two days in the office. I’m not going to lie: Sitting at the desk in my bedroom with a cup of coffee and going through my inbox now feels like the normal thing, and that ‘going to work’ is the weird, scary thing. I may have COVID19 Stockholm Syndrome.
Nov 16, 2020
Tales from the (virtual) conference producer: I spilled coffee on myself. I was on camera for 5 self-conscious minutes, and then on the break I sprinted to the nearest department store to buy a new shirt. The staff there —starved for customers by COVID19— greeted me like a hero.
(This was one of the rare days I did go into the office to run a virtual conference remotely from a studio space set up in one of our boardrooms. Our office is down in Toronto’s financial district. The normally thriving retail scene —especially in the run up to the Christmas holidays!— was a ghost town. I had easily five different staffers greet me and chat with me about my coffee-stained shirt in the space of five minutes.)
And there we go! 2020 was no one’s favourite year, but I look forward to looking back on these tweets in happier years to come. I think this is the closest I’ve ever come to posting one of these on New Year’s? Happy New Year, everyone. May 2021 treat us better than 2020. Cheers!