Sad lessons from 2015

By Steve Young

Huzzah! The long, dark night that was 2015 is almost over. The past year produced as much delight as former Eagles coach Chip Kelly might get from finding out his new roommate is sports radio talker Angelo Cataldi.

Yet despite the mass shootings, the bombings, and the possible banning of 5-year-old Muslims from entering the country, take heart and a deep breath. Before Muslim countries threaten to ban all Republicans, we can grow from 2015's difficulties. Adversity can be a stepping stone to something better. Sometimes unimaginably better. Think mold begetting penicillin. Think polio becoming polio vaccine. Think finishing with the worst record in the National Basketball Association, giving a team the best chance at a great draft pick (who probably will not be healthy enough to play for at least another year). Think of 2015 as a fungal, disease-ridden 76ers and 2016 as the penicillin shot heard round the world.

Eleanor Roosevelt said, "Learn from the mistakes of others. You can't live long enough to make them all yourself." Here are some more lessons from the past year.

"The only thing we learn from history is that we learn nothing from history." - Friedrich Hegel

Not able to see failure from a mile away, some film executive thought it was a good idea to shoot Hot Tub Time Machine 2. Maybe worse was anyone agreeing to make Mortdecai with Johnny Depp after watching Johnny Depp in Transcendence. But the top of the list must go to the 15 or 16 or 17 films Kevin Hart made in 2015, in which he showed his innate ability to stretch his diverse theatrical muscle from slapstick buddy comedies to raucous sidekick comedies.

"A man reaps what he sows." - Galatians 6:7

Martin Shkreli, the well-respected pharmaceutical CEO who raised the price of a lifesaving AIDS and cancer medication by more than 5,000 percent, was arrested by the FBI for securities fraud. Despite the cost of around a single dollar to produce, Shkreli thought it would be a compassionate move to increase the charge to patients from $13.50 to $750 per pill. The search now begins to find a single person who isn't thrilled that karma really knows how to kick some pharmaceutical punk butt.

"But better die than live mechanically a life that is a repetition of repetitions." - D.H. Lawrence

OK, we get it. The GE kid cannot pick up a hammer in the commercial. GE is tech-savvy. Stop it already. Now!

"You can learn from mistakes, but unfortunately, you have to make them first." - Anonymous

Survey says . . . not her. Family Feud host and Miss Universe MC Steve Harvey announced the wrong person as the winner of the pageant.

"It is true that integrity alone won't make you a leader, but without integrity you will never be one." - Zig Ziglar

Oh, those wacky Germans. Volkswagen touted its cars to be pollution fighters. In fact . . . only sometimes. The Environmental Protection Agency said Volkswagen illegally fixed almost a half-million vehicles' pollution-control systems so that they ran cleanly only during emissions tests. On the road, driven by actual drivers, they emitted higher levels of pollutants. VW is recommending that owners drive their cars only during emissions testing.

"Nothing fools you better than the lie you tell yourself." - Teller, of Penn and Teller

Former NAACP official Rachel Dolezal identified herself as "transracial," saying she was a black woman though she was born Caucasian. The world identified Dolezal as "laughingstock."

"Tolerating a culture of casual deception in campaigns poisons governance and makes it less likely that we will either believe or elect those courageous enough to tell us hard truths." - Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania

NBC anchor Brian Williams' memory of his own experience in Iraq was rather shoddy, and there is no telling how many lies were told in 2015, but there is no doubt about how many presidential candidates have lied: most of 'em. Lying, by omission or outright, seems to have become an absolute requirement for running for office, from Hillary Clinton's nonclassified emails to Donald Trump's Mexicans being rapists to Trump's "thousands and thousands" of Jersey City Muslims celebrating the 9/11 tragedy to Trump's black crime statistics to Trump saying Ford is coming back from Mexico to Trump being 60 Minutes "stable mates" with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"Nothing will work unless you do." - Maya Angelou

The 113th Congress. 'Nuff said.

"If you have a problem, your job is not to make it everyone else's." - Anonymous

Far too many people used their cellphone alarms as loud calendar reminders, at least 500 times a day, with each reminder being the song you hate.

Steve Young is the author of "Great Failures of the Extremely Successful . . . Mistakes, Adversity, Failure and Other Steppingstones to Success." theeothersteveyoung@juno.com