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GROB: Lawn darts, cinnamon toast, and 2021

By James Grob,

No, 2020 is not contesting the New Year. The accusations that 2021 committed fraud were unfounded and have been laughed out of court. Bye-bye 2020, it’s official.

The peculiar tradition of getting ridiculously drunk, listening to the lovely and talented Cyndi Lauper sing horribly off-key before witnessing a shiny giant red round thing plummet while everyone counts backwards, somehow sealed the deal.

GROB: Lawn darts, cinnamon toast, and 2021
James Grob

The people who weren’t vomiting then all kissed someone, preferably someone they’d previously met, and everyone sang a song that no one knows the words to. Even Cyndi Lauper.

It’s a strange tradition, this custom of ringing in of the New Year — but I’m in favor of doing whatever it takes to snuff out the old year.

My first resolution for 2021 is to always pay the extra $3 to get the crust of the pizza I order stuffed with cheese. I am fortunate in that my means have reached the point where I can afford it now, and doggone it, it’s worth it. Extra cheese is always worth it.

After some deep thought and self-evaluation, my second resolution for 2021 is to bring back cinnamon toast.

Cinnamon toast was once a thing, back in the 1970s. It was among the usual offerings on the breakfast menu, along with heavily-sugared cereal, milk, orange juice, pop tarts and a warm cup of your mother’s tears after you only ate about half of everything she had assembled and never thanked her.

There was always toast, and a list of toast choices. You could get dry toast (which later became known as “Elwood Blues Toast”), buttered toast, toast with peanut butter, toast with jelly, and toast with both peanut butter and jelly. Or, if you wanted to taste a little bit of heaven, cinnamon toast.

It was simply toast with butter, sugar and cinnamon. It tasted like a sweet little slice of love.

After the 1970s, this American breakfast table standard somehow disappeared, and no one told me. I’ve talked to a handful of friends who still occasionally serve it to their kids or grandkids, but for the most part, it’s a delightful exception rather than the rule it once was.

I’m hoping to bring it back, starting today, with this article. Spread the word. Some of the old ways were better ways.

Speaking of things from the 1970s, I was recently reminded of something else from that era that faded into oblivion — and it’s probably a good thing that it did.

As you’ve probably guessed, I’m talking about Lawn Darts. The 1970s should be known as the Decade of Dangerous Toys.

Lawn darts came in a package with about eight very heavy, very sharp plastic-winged metal missiles that you were supposed to throw at a round fluorescent-colored target you set out in your lawn. It was like playing horseshoes, with the added fun of possibly killing your buddy.

Of course, when you’re a kid with a very heavy, very sharp plastic-winged metal missile, everything becomes a target.

When we were about 8 years old, my cousin Danny and I played lawn darts at our grandparents’ house, and Danny had one slip and it flew toward me and took my head off.

I mean, literally, my head actually came off.

Though he had no formal medical training, Grandpa Grob somehow reattached it. Then Grandma Grob cooked me some cinnamon toast so I’d stop crying. Then my Uncle Ken whipped Danny’s behind and told him to be more careful, so Grandma Grob gave Danny some cinnamon toast so he’d stop crying. Then we all went right back to playing with the darts.

That’s just how things worked in the 1970s.

I really have no idea where I’m going with this, and with all the digressions, I’ve confused myself. I guess what I’m saying is that some old traditions, like cinnamon toast, should be brought back. Other old traditions, like launching sharp objects at your cousin’s head, are best left behind.

Also, I had two ZOOM family Christmas celebrations this year, and although I enjoyed them both, I much prefer Christmas in person.

Although at my wife’s family’s ZOOM Christmas party, COVID-19 couldn’t stop my wife’s mother, Gramma Donna (code name: GG) from reading her Christmas story to all. Hearing her tell the tale of “A Cup Of Christmas Tea” reminded me that virtual love and kindness is still love and kindness. It can’t be stopped.

Which leads me to my next 2021 resolution — everything I do, do with love and kindness in my heart.

That’s not to say I will just smile and take it when someone does me wrong — which leads me to my final resolution for 2021 — I will stick up for my fellow journalists this year.

A handful of journalists were murdered in 2020. A few died in the line of duty.

Many of the rest of us were cursed, tear-gassed, mocked, quarantined, threatened, furloughed, doxxed, downsized, beaten, harassed, insulted, told we were liars, told we were fake, told we were “terrible writers.”

We kept on reporting.

We also took notes, we took photos, we’ve taken screenshots, we have video and audio recordings. We’ve documented the atrocities. It’s what we do.

And — as you can see — many of us have long, long memories. In 2021, some of you are going to wish you’d been a little nicer to us.

We’re tougher than you realize. Some of us have taken lawn darts to the head and lived to tell about it.

Happy New Year.