TIME MAGAZINE has chosen Ronald Reagan as the Man of the Year, and that clears the way for me to survey everyone who is left and choose the Forgotten Man of the Year.
Fame did not favor or frazzle the Forgotten Man (or Woman) of the Year in 1980. He was not featured on the front of any magazine, newspaper or campaign headquarters. He was not interviewed on television. He was not even polled. He did not receive a testimonial dinner, humanitarian award, humanities grant, subpoena or parole. His license plate didn't spell anything. His telephone number was listed. Even the Reagan transition team never heard of him. He was so remote from public acclaim or notoriety that it is somehow fitting that I can't remember his (or her) name right now.
Still the Forgotten Man of the Year could look back with mild satisfaction on a number of modest, personal triumphs in 1980.
He did not lose his raincoat.
He did not forget his wedding anniversary.
He did not go through the express checkout line with more than the specified number of items.
He did not forget to write but maybe a dozen check stubs in the whole year.
He did not ask the government to bail him out of bankruptcy.
He did not have to write to any hotel or motel to retreive his shaving brush.
He did not shoot anything and have it stuffed.
He did not award himself anything made of gold to wear around his neck.
He did not commit much of his conscious thought to the question of who shot J. R.
He did not expect the Redskins to win many games without John Riggins, and therefore did not demand the firing of Jack Pardee.
He did not proclaim any moral positions on the bumper of his car.
He did not write any letters he didn't sign.
He did not draw to a single inside straight.
He did not ever really think, deep down, that Ronald Reagan was going to make Gerald Ford his vice president with the powers of "co-president."
He did not hurt himself kicking vending machines.
He did not leave the burner on under the coffee when he was the last one leaving the house, except once.
He did not pay much attention to the predictions of astrologers or economists.
He did not use "impact" as a verb.
He did not always neglect to fasten his seat belt.
He did not consciously condescend to women or to male telephone operators.
He did not have a tantrum when he paid his taxes.
He did not run around his backhand quite as much as the year before.
He did not give up on politics, cities, the Post Office, lawyers, doctors, the East, commercial televison, wood-frame tennis rackets, the economy or the Redskins.