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There’s a meeting in Father Time’s office where 2011 has prepared the official handover to 2012.

“It’s been a difficult twelve months,” said 2011. “I did my best with what I was given, but 2010 didn’t really leave things in a tidy state.”

“So, what happened this past year? What are the main things I need to know before I take over?” asked 2012.

“Where do I start?” 2011 leaned back in his chair and folded his hands across his skeletal frame.

“How about at the beginning?”

2011 sighed. “OK, January it is. There were mudslides in Brazil and the Tunisian president was ousted from government after twenty-three years. February saw Mubarak resign from the Egyptian leadership and there were protests in Bahrain Also, an 8.9 earthquake shook Japan and caused a tsunami in March.”

“That’s not a good start to your year, old chum,” said 2012.

“Oh, it gets worse, believe me. The Japanese earthquake damaged the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant with the resulting radiation reaching America, Africa and even Glasgow.”

“Will we ever notice the difference in a Weegie?” 2011 winked and laughed at his own wit.

“Not sure that’s a laughing matter, old chap. No idea what the long term consequences of that will be. You’ll have to start dealing with those during your watch.”

“Oh, don’t be so serious, 2011. Look, it sounds like your time in office got off to a bad start. Surely things got better in April?”

“Not so as you’d notice,” he said morosely. “There were dreadful tornados in America. Millions of dollars of damage, more than 300 deaths.”

“Did nothing good happen that month?”

“Prince William married Kate Middleton.”

“Ok, let’s talk about May then.”

“US forces killed Ossama Bin Laden.”

“Surely that’s a good thing?”

“Depends on your point of view. I have heard the the West is waiting for retribution.  In June a wildfire in Wallow, Arizona was the biggest in the state’s history and July saw the News of The World phone hacking scandal and the death of Amy Winehouse.”

“I’m not wanting to point fingers or anything, 2011, but doesn’t the blame for a lot of your year’s problems lie at the feet of Mother Nature?”

Father Time frowned and went to stand up to defend his wife, but wobbled and sat back down with a bump.

“No offence, Big Boss, but it seems like there were a lot of natural disasters in 2011. Surely the trouble and strife has to take responsibility for some of that?”

“I wouldn’t piss off the boss,” 2011 hissed. Have you any idea how long he can make a year feel if you displease him?”

2012 shrugged. “Where were we?”

“August,” said 2011, “was a quiet month and September was the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 disaster. In October Steve Jobs passed away and protesters occupied Wall Street and the area outside St Paul’s Cathedral in London.”

“It strikes me that people have been very angry during your tenure.”

“Like I said at the beginning, there’s only so much a year can do. Many of the problems encountered this year had their origins under the stewardship of previous years.”

“Yes, well, you WOULD say that, wouldn’t you.”

“I resent that, old bean. I don’t think you’ll be so cocky this time next year.”

“Don’t worry about me, my friend. Let’s hear about November and December.”

“November and December were fairly quiet months, actually. Apart from the global recession, the death throes of the euro, and the death of North Korea’s Kim Jong-il”

“You had quite a year, 2011, didn’t you? Any advice for the new boy?” asked 2012.

“There are three things you need to remember. First, you are only a caretaker. Take care of the next twelve months and be prepared to answer to 2013 for how you manage things. Being asked to account for your management abilities isn’t pleasant, believe me.”

“Point taken. Next?”

“People are fickle. You can never predict how they are going to react to things. I bet you a month that 2010 didn’t see the Arab Spring happening.”

2012 sighed. “And the third and final bit of advice?”

2011 smiled as the door to Father Time’s office was flung open accompanied by a whirling wind and a loud clap of thunder. There stood a short, fat woman wearing and apron and cradling a volcano in her arms, glowering at 2012 under a mop of unruly curls.

“Never, ever piss off Mother Nature!”

Happy New Year to all of you: may 2012 bring you health, happiness and contentment.
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