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Hey pals 'n' buddies!

If you're anything like me, you're feeling like those exhausted first-time marathon runners, with bloody nipples and covered in sweat, desperately trying to cross the finish line of 2020. Which is why I'd like to share (and I really want you to hear) these four words: THANK GRAVY FOR YOU! I don't really believe in god, but I do believe in gravy (that, just like you) has the magical power to make everything it touches better.

Question: DO YOU REALIZE WHAT YOU'VE ACCOMPLISHED? 2020 was, for all of us, the shitty, unforgivable type of year that we thought only our ancestors experienced. And okay... don't climb up my butt about the fact that the world won't be a trip to the cotton candy factory on the first day of 2021. I'm fully aware we've got a long road ahead of us—but let's just take one tiny minute to reflect on what you've survived... and how you did it like A FUCKING BOSS.

Whether you marched to protect Black lives, walked your dog while wearing a gas mask during the wildfires, said goodbye to friends who were laid off, or mourned family who lost their lives from the pandemic—you have proven yourself worthy of the world's love and respect. You have battle scars now, but instead of rushing to Walgreens to buy $30 scar removal cream that will erase them from your mind forever... look at them. Touch them. Remember them. Take a second to recall how they got there, and how you're different because of them. I get it: You may feel like damaged goods, because I feel it too. But in actuality, you are so much smarter, stronger, and most importantly, so much more awake.

Annnnnnd this is the point in the column where I get weepy and remember how much you've given me and the Mercury this year. In March, I was convinced we were toast. We laid off half our staff—my beloveds—and while the world would probably keep spinning without a Mercury making snarky jokes and railing against the injustices of society, you thought enough of our work to keep us around. My heart nearly exploded from the kind words, well wishes, and contributions you made, and that kept the fire burning in my heart as we pushed through a year that was baffling in its cruelty.

So thank you, thank you, a thousand times thank you for your support. And of course we would love to continue getting that support (if you're able) via your monthly contributions that will keep us working hard to protect the Portlanders that need so much help.

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And OF COURSE thanks to the amazing, extraordinary, fan-tabulous Mercury staff (Alex, Blair, Katie P., Katie L, James, and RT) who fucking refused to give up when the walls were caving in, and became the champions I, and this city, needed. They are the delicious ladles of gravy that make my instant mashed potatoes so much better.

ANYHOO! (Dabs tears on a slightly soiled Fred Meyer receipt which was the closest thing I could find, okay??) Hell no, I'm not ready for what might await in 2021—but just like you, I'm tougher now, I've got more empathy, and I'm wiley as fuck. So as my favorite movie in the world reminds us, BRING IT ON, 2021! Because if you can survive and thrive like you did in 2020, so can I. And the Mercury will be right there by your side.

Your always pal,
Wm. Steven Humphrey
Portland Mercury