2016 was a very, very bad year no matter how you slice it. In tough times, comedy is often a form of escape that people turn to when they need comforting. With that in mind, we asked our contributors to pick the one piece of comedy in any form that they turn to when they really need cheering up. We’ll be sharing their choices throughout the week in a package we’re calling “The Best Medicine.”
I didn’t do one of those “me at the beginning of 2016/me at the end of 2016” memes. But if I did, it would have been the thumbnail image for the YouTube video “51 Best Kid Fails: Barely Compilation #2” next to the thumbnail image for the YouTube video “51 Best Kid Fails: Barely Compilation #2.” That’s not a typo. This year sucked from the jump (seriously, has there ever been an objectively good year?) and if I’ve had one constant source of refuge from the tragedies, horrors, and disappointments of 2016 it would be this poorly edited, oddly scored, grainy collection of little kids getting straight up broke. It’s the funniest thing in the world to me. In the pangs of senseless violence, social injustice, political atrocity, and famous deaths I repeatedly find respite in youthful bicycle crashes, playground accidents, animal attacks, and good old fashioned slip-and-falls.
For most of my adult life I’ve felt like the wobbly little cyclist at 0:32, twisting my handlebars violently back and forth in hopes of avoiding an impending crash. But what’s my excuse? Kids rarely see trouble coming and haven’t yet accumulated the experiential knowledge to react with any sense of coordination or grace. But I’m an adult. I know stuff. There aren’t that many legitimate surprises to catch me off guard anymore. Most of my problems are, at least in part, of my own doing. Yet I’m still wobbling. That’s why this video is so funny to me. It reminds me of how I have been – and always will be – a kid falling down.