Dr. Johnny Bananas, Emu Attacks, and Bleach-Guzzling: 2020’s 12 Most Brain-Melting Cheat Sheet Stories
It’s been a year in which the news appears to have been written by a sadistic maniac. Here’s what we made of its strangest parts.
No one has enjoyed the news this year—but, if it’s any kind of consolation, the morning Cheat Sheet team probably enjoyed it a bit less than you. Our job is to digest as many big stories as possible as early as possible and tell them back you in a way that is to the point and—when the content isn’t highly distressing, which, to be fair, has been vanishingly rare this year—entertaining.
That means we’ve been following global events in fine detail during what was probably the most brain-melting year in human history. Here are 12 of the stories we woke up to on mornings that were so absurd that they can be considered as evidence that the Earth simulation is forever broken.
Brazil’s far-right President Jair Bolsonaro is often accused of copying Donald Trump, but was one step ahead of him this year when he managed to catch the coronavirus first. During his quarantine, he repeatedly complained about how bored and fed-up he was, which compelled him to hold a morale-boosting photo op with some weird-looking birds. One of them literally grabbed its opportunity and pecked him. There have been no updates since on its welfare.
At times during the pandemic, the White House put forward the theory that the best way to deal with a deadly contagious virus was to allow it to flow through the population. The theory, eventually put forward in a petition called the Great Barrington Declaration, was that letting the disease run riot would lead to herd immunity—which would be great, if it wouldn’t also cause an unchecked number of deaths. The declaration was then cited by the White House in a coronavirus briefing, but closer inspection showed that it was signed by a number of fake health-care providers, including Dr. Johnny Bananas and Dr. Person Fakename.
No one could have predicted exactly how this pandemic would play out at the start of the year—but, at the same time, not many of us were actively gloating about China’s virus outbreak. Back in January, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross predicted that the coronavirus outbreak in China, which at that point had killed 170 people, would boost the U.S. economy as it “will help to accelerate the return of jobs to North America.” In reality, the U.S. economy was decimated and some 20 million Americans are ending the year on some kind of employment benefit.
Many ridiculous sentences of news were written this year, but this one stood out from the crowd. Back in April, during the worst days of the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic, the manufacturer behind disinfectants Lysol and Dettol pleaded with the public to ignore the president of the United States and refrain from drinking their toxic products. Diplomatically, the company didn’t mention Trump by name, but said it felt it had to issue the guidance due to “recent speculation.”
A strong early contender for the absolute worst story of the 2020 election cycle came in September when a YouTuber livestreamed himself taking a large dump on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s driveway. The footage showed the man scurrying around San Francisco until he found Pelosi’s home, saluting the viewers, and then pooping on the cold concrete. An account on Twitter purporting to be the unhygenic streamer apologized for the incident, saying he was “not proud of it at all.”
Another poop-related story came much more recently. At the end of November, at the height of global excitement about those monoliths that were appearing all over the place, Utah officials weren’t quite as enthralled by it all. Their reason? Monolith-hunters kept pooping in the desert during their visits, and staff had to clean up after them. Utah’s Bureau of Land Management office reminded people that, if they had to visit the monolith, then they should really leave no trace of any sort.
This one has never been explained, and perhaps that’s ultimately for the best. Back in July, in the dead of night, President Trump liked a tweet praising R&B star Summer Walker for bringing back a “stripper” vibe. The tweet was sent after midnight Eastern Time and received its presidential seal of approval at some point in the four hours after that. The user who sent the offending tweet wrote after the inexplicable incident: “WHY THE FUCK DID DONALD TRUMP LIKE MY FUCKING TWEET.”
Speaking of lustful thoughts getting people into trouble, back in October a New Orleans archbishop was forced to set fire to an altar after a priest and two dominatrices had sex upon it. Archbishop Gregory Aymond called Rev. Travis Clark “demonic” for the unholy encounter, all of which was caught on camera. On the day of the incident, one of the women posted that she was on her way to “defile a house of God,” which gave the game away slightly. A ritual was performed to cleanse the church of sin.
Another piece of social-media mismanagement came for Trump in May, when he fell for a devilish trick that ended up with the president displaying a message telling him to go fuck himself. During a retweet frenzy of firefighters who said they liked him, one of his supposed supporters changed their username to “Fuck Donald Trump.” The username was then proudly displayed on Trump’s Twitter page for hours, until, presumably, some poor aide had to tell him about it.
Making an utter fool of yourself on social media is very much a family pastime for the Trumps. One that comes to mind is from August, when Donald Trump Jr. denied that he prepared for his big Republican National Convention speech by snorting cocaine, and blamed bad lighting for making him look so weird and sweaty. He complained about the trending coke allegations on Twitter before being quizzed about them on Fox & Friends a day later, when he bellowed the mock headline: “DONALD TRUMP JR.’S ON COCAINE.”
Paulette Dale, a registered Republican, made President Trump’s day back in October by telling him he had a nice smile on a televised election event. Then, in a savage twist, she later told the Miami New Times she didn’t actually like the president and planned to vote for Joe Biden. “I wish he would smile more and talk less,” she told the newspaper, in one of the most quietly brutal takedowns of the entire election campaign.
Trump was already considering his legacy in August, when his election defeat was only very likely rather than confirmed. One morning, he tried to dismiss a report that stated the White House reached out to South Dakota’s governor to ask about immortalizing Trump’s head in stone on Mount Rushmore, but then immediately said he thought it was a great idea. In one sentence, he called the report that said he wanted to be on Rushmore “fake news,” then wrote: “Sounds like a good idea to me!” The president then posted a picture of himself smirking next to the monument. Alas, there are no plans to add the outgoing one-term president.