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Suburban Dad: The List to End all Lists

Since 2011 is now officially over, I have to ask: what did I miss?  Truth be told, I wasn’t really paying attention.  With all the trials and suffering in the world these days plus the Kardashians, I figured it best not to even peek.

But I haven’t missed much. That’s because everywhere you look lately, there’s a list reminding us what happened in 2011.

We’re among friends here, right?  So lean in close and listen: even if I were prone to holiday mirth, those lists would have ruined it.  I hate year-end lists with a passion I usually reserve for world despots and meter maids .

After all, something just happened.  Do we really need to be reminded?  Our world is also so gloomy these days.  I guarantee you that whatever went down in 2011 made my nostrils flare the first time.  What did I do to deserve reliving it?  Moreover, with life tough going, should we really waste time looking backward?  Sure, we can learn from history, but we can learn even more from the future.

So let’s look forward, but—considering our fractured state of affairs—do it in a way that is realistic and, neat and tidy, hits reality square in the jaw.

Introducing what will one day become a staple of New Year’s reading: consider this the first installment of …The 5 Worst Things to Befall Westchester and Connecticut in the Coming Year.

1.  As the Indian Point Nuclear Power plant in Buchanan careens toward its re-licensing deadline, which will determine whether the plant will remain open for decades, thrusting us to the edge of a possible nuclear winter, no one in Westchester will stop plotting their new kitchen redesign or chauffeuring their kid between the oboe lesson and team of math tutors, long enough to pay attention.

2.  We learned recently that only two in five Connecticut public high school graduates finish college within six years.  This year, the geniuses who brought us the state’s public schools will obviously drop all pretense, converting all schools into child labor camps.  In an ironic turn, these newly minted members of the workforce otherwise known as our children, will be able to make the tablet computer and hand held electronic games they are frittering away all their time on instead of dong homework, while all the pressure will be off the state’s education bigs, who worked their fingers to the bones to get precisely half of Greenwich High’s graduates to gad-u-mu-ate from kollege.

3.  With Wall Street held in such low-regard, socially ambitious members of Westchester and Connecticut societies will have to look for socially redeemable work.  The results won’t be pretty.  Hippie dippy non-profits state and countywide will receive resumes from candidates foaming at the mouth with ambition.  Food pantries will see their canned baby corn donations leveraged 40 to 1, while students will begin occupying Salvation Army collection stands.

4.  Weighed down with the burden of producing a list, a form of writing he despises, next December your favorite columnist will fold and join those Greenwich kids making iPads and Nikes.  In fact, I’m already there.  Can you come up with the fifth piece of misfortune fated to befall us and list it below?

________________________ Marek Fuchs is the author of "A Cold-Blooded Business," the true story of a murderer, from Westchester, who almost got away with it. His upcoming book on volunteer firefighting across America, “Local Heroes,” is due out in 2012. He wrote The New York Times'  "County Lines" column about life in Westchester for six years and teaches non-fiction writing at Sarah Lawrence College, in Bronxville.  He also serves as a volunteer firefighter.  You can contact Marek through his website: or on Twitter: @MarekFuchs.

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