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20 things you won’t believe happened in 2018

How is this all less than a year old?

20 things you won’t believe happened in 2018
Tom Victor
17 December 2018

After sitting through 12 months of 2017 that felt like 12 years, most of us were hoping this year would go a little more smoothly.

The world doesn’t work like that, though, and 2018 has, if anything, felt even longer.

Believe it or not, every single one of the following stories took place this year - even if some feel like they didn’t even happen this decade.

1. The Tide Pod Challenge

Back in January 2017, Salt Bae was the big new culinary story. Twelve months on, it explains a lot about the state of the world that we’d move on to Tide pods.

Sure, we didn’t envisage seeing people officially being warned not to eat detergent capsules, but can any of us say we were entirely surprised either?

2. Does Sean Dyche eat worms?

Spesking of people eating things they shouldn’t, January was also the month when we heard former Bristol City footballer Soren Andersen claim his then-teammate Sean Dyche – now Burnley’s manager – got his unusual voice by eating worms.

Football years always seem to go on forever if there’s a World Cup in the middle of them, and that makes January’s biggest story a distant memory.

3. The sad story of the emotional support peacock

We’ve all heard about emotional support animals, those companion creatures carried by people on the advice of medical professionals, but they’re usually cats or dogs.

This can create problems, such as when an artist tried and failed to take an emotional support peacock onto a flight. Joke’s on them, though – peacocks can fly already, plane or no plane.

4. The West Brom taxi scandal

West Bromwich Albion were relegated from the Premier League in May, but the most embarrassing moment came three months earlier.

Three of their players were alleged to have stolen a taxi during a team bonding trip to Barcelona – no charges were pressed, so perhaps we’ll never know whether it was meant to act as an extremely on-the-nose message for their then-manager Alan Pardew.

5. Super Bowl Selfie Kid

At February’s Super Bowl between the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots, the activities of one child caught the eye – and no, this is not a joke about Tom Brady being a giant toddler.

A youngster in the crowd was spotted looking down at his phone during Justin Timberlake’s half-time show, but we later learned he had a very good reason for it – he was taking a selfie with JT himself.

Not that it stopped internet wisecrackers speculating about what else the kid might have been up to.

6. Change My Mind

You probably don’t remember podcaster Steven Crowder sat at a desk on a university campus with a sign reading ‘Male Privilege is a myth / Change My Mind’, but you probably do remember all the different photoshops which followed.

I think that means the internet did its job, but also it feels much longer ago than February.

7. Mark Zuckerberg goes before congress

Back in March, Mark Zuckerberg was called before congress to testify about election meddling, and it was – in theory at least – a serious chat about a privacy scandal.

In practice, though, it proved to be unexpectedly amusing.

8. The Frankenstein snowflake debate

March was also the month we saw The Sun mock ‘snowflake’ millennials for claiming Frankenstein’s monster was misunderstood. Of course he wasn’t the only thing that was misunderstood – we also had the plot of Frankenstein being misunderstood by the editorial team at The Sun.

The idea of someone not getting the point of the Mary Shelley novel and publishing their views sounds like something we’d have encountered in the 1820s. Nope – it was 2018.

9. The most ambitious crossover events in history

We’re not sure if anyone actually said Infinity War was the most ambitious crossover event in history, but a lie can travel halfway round the world before the truth has put its shoes on.

ShortList’s own Bobby Palmer spawned a meme which dominated Twitter for ages, and it was this year! March, to be precise.

10. Yodelling Walmart Kid

Sure, this youngster looks like he’s straight out of the Wild West, or at the very least whatever year the first Toy Story film came out, but this video was filmed in April 2018.

The kid’s name is Mason Ramsey, and he has already released an album to accompany this rendition of Hank Williams’ ‘Lovesick Blues’. What had you achieved by the time you were 12 years old?

11. BBC presenter falls into swimming pool

You have to feel a little sorry for Mike Bushell – he’s a respected journalist with decades of experience, who has risen up the ranks at the BBC, yet to many he will just be ‘that guy who fell into the pool’.

This happened in April, and you can be forgiven for thinking it was longer ago on the basis that no one can remember laughing at anything since 2015.

12. Yanny or Laurel

The audio version of ‘The Dress’, where different people heard different names in a short clip, feels so distant that it might as well be from a different lifetime. Incredibly, though, it was as recent as May this year.

On the same subject, the original dress which feels as old as the internet itself actually happened as recently as February 2015.

13. Big Dick Energy

Remember when everyone collectively lost all sense of perspective and started musing on the concept of ‘big dick energy’ for a solid week with no interruptions. June, apparently.

At least we ultimately established that Rihanna has BDE but Jared Kushner does not. Cate Blanchett is another for the ‘yes’ column, as is Pete Davidson, and it’s even in the mix for Oxford Dictionaries’ ‘word of the year’.

14. #PlaneBae

In 2017 we got Salt Bae and #HurtBae, but things stepped up a bit this year as an eavesdropper provided live updates on a couple of strangers hitting it off at 30,000 feet.

It brought accusations of ‘creepiness’ and invasions of privacy, while we later learned that one half of the pair was former Stockport County footballer Euan Holden, because every story needs an extra bizarre element these days. Anyway, it was less than six months ago, in July.

Euan Holden (R) in his pre-PlaneBae days

15. Harry Maguire chirpsing

The #PlaneBae video was not only in the same year as England’s World Cup quarter-final victory over Sweden, but the two events happened within a week of each other.

Sure, we might best remember Gareth Southgate’s team producing glorious victories and a painful defeat to Croatia, but our enduring memory is Harry Maguire playing it cool while chatting to someone who turned out to already be his girlfriend.

Who knows what he was saying at that moment. Plenty have guessed, though, with even Maguire himself chipping in.

16. Elon Musk and the diver

Elon Musk has been in the news a lot this year. There’s the flamethrower thing, the alleged securities fraud thing, and the diver thing. All in 2018, and yeah each one feeling as though it happened longer ago – perhaps even before we really knew who Elon Musk was.

Anyway, as you might remember if you really rack your brains, Musk called the diver who helped rescue a Thai football team ‘a pedo’, apparently based on literally nothing, and it happened in July this year – not even in the first half of 2018!

17. Influencer bitten by a shark

You know how the old saying goes – ‘if you swim with sharks you’re going to get bitten’. Is that a real saying? Irrelevant, because even if it was, it would have now graduated to ‘truth’.

Almost exactly a year on from Instagram influencers being taken for a ride by figurative sharks at Fyre Fest, it happened for real as Katarina Zarutskie went out in search of the perfect Instagram photo but bit off more than she could chew.

Actually that metaphor might be a bit too on the nose. Which, incidentally, is where she should have hit the shark in question if she wanted to avoid being attacked.

18. Python vs Pigeon

On the subject of animal attacks, our very own Dave Fawbert spotted something you don’t see every day, in August this year – a python eating a pigeon in the middle of a London street (although it turned out to be a boa constrictor).

When pulled up on his decision to take a photo, he thankfully had his priorities in order.

19. Bored nightclub girl

You know when people compare random photos to renaissance art because they have no other reference points? This photo of a guy talking to a clearly uninterested girl at a Scottish nightclub is renaissance art.

Even the people in question can’t remember what was being said, and they were asked about it in September (when it happened), so I think that gives everyone else free rein to speculate away.

20. Whatever the hell this is

We would love to offer an explanation here, but… yeah, just have a watch.

As recent as October, somehow, and yet somehow we’ve not been talking about it for a solid two months.

What will 2019 bring? Probably more, vaguely interchangeable nonsense. And definitely something with the suffix ‘Bae’.

(Images: Getty)