Ipswich? What’s that? The envelope, please

The final issue of Time magazine each year announces the “Person of the Year.” But in 1983 they named the personal computer “Machine of the Year.” And in 1989 our endangered earth became “Planet of the Year.”

These departures from tradition seem to have opened the floodgates. Last week’s POTY issue featured not only a POTY but also the Icon of the Year, Entertainer of the Year, Athlete of the Year, Heroes of the Year — this goes on and on: Invention of the Year, Breakthrough of the Year. Sometimes just one “of the Year” isn’t enough: Time names multiple books, movies, and TV shows of the year.

The outrage, of course, is that Ipswich was completely ignored.

Totally unfair. Lots of stuff deserving of recognition happened here in 2022.

So, as a public service, the Outsidah forthwith sets the record straight:

  • Bridge of the Year — County Street. Designated by government thugs as “structurally unsound,” cruelly cut in half the long way, brutally choked off on one end, this historic span nonetheless continued faithfully serving northbound traffic so Little Neck residents could get home from the beach without being forced to deploy their yachts.
  • Loser of the Year — Lenny Mirra. After a decade as a State Rep, often sneaking in via very close elections, he cut this year’s campaign too close. In a recount, he lost by a single vote out of some 24,000. Of course, if Mirra’s current court challenge puts him back in the Massachusetts House, he’ll lose his Loser trophy. (If this means yet another court challenge, so be it. We can’t let these awards be manipulated by the threat of legal action.)
  • Most-Read Feature of the Year ­— Tales From the Scanner. Every Ipswich Local News columnist was hoping to win this one, and Obituaries ran a strong race. But in the end, the people’s choice was clear. Police and fire reports discreetly omit names and other personal information, but readers can’t resist scrutinizing the descriptions in search of their neighbors, friends, and relatives. Especially relatives.
  • Impediment of the Year — Ipswich River Dam. This was a no-brainer. Yes, the dam has been obstructing Mother Nature for 100 years — there was talk of an extraordinary “Impediment of the Century” designation — but the dam nailed the award this year in particular because of a new surge of support for its eradication. Coming in a distant second was the County Street Bridge blockade.
  • Annoyance of the Year — The Drought. No matter how much rain fell, the long-parched earth kept rasping, “More! More!” Cheating on the outdoor watering ban led to a new underworld of neighbors squealing on neighbors. Landscapers got sued for so-called “evergreen” trees turning totally taupe. At one point, the river flow measured “basically zero.” The Annoyance of the Year award was temporarily in doubt, as County Street travelers noted an advantage: If the bridge crumbled while they were crossing, at least they wouldn’t drown. Some launched a movement to reclassify the drought as “Mixed Blessing of the Year,” but environmentalists pushing for “Devastating Climate-Change Evidence of the Year” balanced out the conflict, and the compromise “Annoyance” designation prevailed.
  • Impasse of the Year — Five Corners. With proposed reconfiguration and traffic lights, in 2023 this one could easily land elsewhere. Maybe where Hammatt Street and the train tracks converge at Depot Square? Get your nominations in now.

So there, Time magazine. Take that.

I’m thinking next year, we get Ipswich into the Oscars.


Doug Brendel lives on outer Linebrook Road in Ipswich, Massachusetts. He was named Windbag of the Year but declined the award. Follow him at NewThing.net.

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