With 41 days left in the year, I think we can all agree that 2018 kinda sucked. Donald Trump still exists; the effects of climate change have become ever more real and we’re ever more inept at dealing with them; there’s been a mass shooting nearly every day this year in America; fires are ravaging California; families are being ripped apart; and the U.S./Mexico border has become a militarized zone. There have been bright spots, sure, but for the most part, this year has been a long, sad slog.
It’s sucked enough that surely we’re going to see a lot of “2018: bye bitch!!!!” tweets during the final weeks of the year and so help me god, if a beloved celebrity—or worse, a series of beloved celebrities—die, I will be logging the fuck off before a single “Noooo, this year is the worst :(” post hits my eyeballs. Still, regardless of what the next five-ish weeks hold here’s one thing we know for sure: 2018's got nothing on 536 AD!!!!
“Excuse me, what?” you ask? 536 AD???? That’s right. Gather ‘round, kids, because a group of scientists and historians from the University of Nottingham and The University of Maine are here to school you on what true suffering felt like. According to a new study, in the mid-6th century, a huge volcanic eruption in Iceland led to a massive ash cloud across the entire Northern Hemisphere, which in turn led to a dramatic drop in temperatures, which in turn led to crop failure and widespread starvation. A few years later, the bubonic plague hit the Roman Empire. It was the true definition of suck.
“It was the beginning of one of the worst periods to be alive,” historian Michael McCormick told Science.
Things started picking up again in the mid-7th century, but suffice it to say, this was not a great time to be alive!!! So as you gather round the hearth for Thanksgiving, give thanks for the people you love, the food on the table, whatever small amount of good fortune you’ve had this year, and most of all, for the fact that it’s not fucking 536 AD. In comparison, 2018 is fine. And remember, 2019 is probably going to be a lot worse.