In 2016 The Best and Worst things that happened in the year

Some guys are hooked on heroin, others on oxycodone. The scariest part? Doctors are still doling out plenty of the latter.

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The astounding triumphs and epic fails that made up the year all in one place

As we look back on 2016, it’s tempting to dwell on the negatives.

It was a year of record heat, Zika, terror attacks, and an election cycle we’d all like to forget.

But there were high points. Like, um…let’s see.

Cleveland was able to cheer. Some guys on the Olympic team weren’t questioned by the police. That was cool. And, well…Bruce went on tour and killed it.

So we have that.

But if we were to give the year a hashtag, it’d be either #savage or #thestruggleisreal, because it’s been both.

But then we’d stop thinking about hashtags, because we’re adults with jobs who shouldn’t be spending so much time on social media.

Here’s what we were left with. We’re really looking forward to 2017.

Worst Health Scourge

In the year when Zika and ineffective flu vaccines grabbed headlines, it was deaths from opioids that blew up alarmingly.

Unintentional injuries (about a third of which are poisonings, including drug overdoses) are now the top cause of death in men ages 25 to 44.

Some guys are hooked on heroin, others on oxycodone. The scariest part? Doctors are still doling out plenty of the latter.

Most Exciting New Health Trend

More and more lives are being saved with cancer immunotherapy.

These treatments use your T-cells to attack cancer, just like they fight invading viruses.

The American Society of Clinical Oncology, getting a jump on awards season, named immunotherapy its Advance of the Year.

We agree—and in our September issue, we featured three guys who beat cancer thanks to this thrilling new weapon.

Best Food Trend

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Longtime MH readers know we’ve been complaining for decades about deceptive food packaging. (Remember our futile search for the Keebler elves? They’re a big lie.)

Well, finally the FDA has responded with food labels to make things clearer for consumers.

The useless “calories from fat” language is gone. Serving sizes now actually make sense. And a new “added sugars” category will appear—much to the horror of Birthday Cake Oreos.

Best Comeback, Gym Equipment

No, not the shake weight. (But hang on to yours, just in case.)

We’re talking about fan-based cardio machines, which have been around for decades but became the biggest “new” thing in fitness in 2016, thanks in part to CrossFit.

Because of the exponential nature of air resistance provided by the fan, these machines have a unique ability to kick your butt.

The harder you row or pedal, the harder the machine pushes back at you, like a vindictive boss.

Try this quick-and-hellish workout: Hop on a fan bike, set its computer to count calories, and incinerate as many as you can in 60 seconds.

Worst Blow To Manliness

We’re all for dabbing a little BB cream (“blemish balm” or tinted moisturizer) under our eyes to hide dark circles or a hangover.

But we draw the line at mascara, powder bronzer, and glossy nails and lips—all concepts that somehow became acceptable in men’s grooming in 2016.

Unless you’re a glam rocker or a drag queen, leave the heavy-handed makeup to Jared Leto.

Most Miraculous Sex Surgery

Thomas Manning, a 64-year-old from Massachusetts, became the first U.S. man to receive a penis transplant.

The original was lost to cancer in 2012, but after a 15-hour surgery (at an estimated cost of $50K to $75K; the surgeons worked for free), he now has a second chance at urinating while standing and maybe (maybe!) having sex someday.

Manning’s doctors are “cautiously optimistic.”

Lamest New Sex Product

Deodorant for smelly scrotums. Yep: Fresh Balls, Dry Goods, and Comfy Boys are designed to mask the toxic ecosystem allegedly thriving in your pants.

These are not your father’s or grandfather’s testicle deodorants. That’s because your father and grandfather didn’t use testicle deodorant.

Don’t believe us? Ask them. And take a video of their reaction for us.

Best Health Breakthrough

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Pharmacogenomics! (Break it down, sound it out.)

Here’s the deal: Soon your doctor may be able to check your genes to see how you’ll respond to meds, and then tweak the dosage accordingly.

The Mayo Clinic is trying it in people with prostate cancer and coronary artery disease.

Worst Sexting Trend

Dirty Emojis HD on Android and Sexy-mojis on iOS.

We already know, thanks to a Match survey from early 2015, that singles who regularly use emojis are more likely to have had sex in the previous year.

Now they have a wider range of explicit emojis to express their dirty thoughts. If the thought you’re thinking of texting can only be conveyed via a yellow-ball face with a realistic vagina, then maybe you should keep that thought to yourself.

The Great “Unfriending” Of the Election Year

If there’s one thing the two sides could never agree on this year, it was which presidential nominee was more evil.

Whether you were pro-Donald or pro-Hillary, you lost a few Facebook friends in the carnage.

Bromance Of the Year

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Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin.

We’re not saying these guys spend their weekends shirtless on a horse, whispering things to each other like, “I’m nefarious? No, dude, you’re nefarious.”

But really, it doesn’t take a lot of imagination to picture it.

Most Surprising Comeback

O.J. Simpson. A documentary and a 10-part docudrama for a trial that ended two decades ago?

Did the glove fit this time?

Least Surprising Comeback

Biggest Loser weight.

Several former contestants on the NBC reality show gained back some or all of the weight they’d lost on the show, and a few of them even packed on a fresh new layer of flab.

So this is how we find out that reality television isn’t real?

Least Convincing Argument For Why 2016 Sucked

It was a big year for celebrity deaths, for sure.

Muhammad Ali, Prince, David Bowie, Arnold Palmer, Garry Shandling, Merle Haggard, and Gene Wilde…and even Abe Vigoda, who’s been erroneously reported as dead every year since 1982, actually died this time, at 94.

But the deaths weren’t 2016’s fault. People die and will continue to die every year; some will be famous.

Except Dick Van Dyke. He’ll outlive us all.

Worst Food Trend

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Hybrid fast foods! We’re talking mac and cheese with a Cheetos dusting, chicken fries, Whopperritos, grilled-cheese stuffed-crust pizza—the drive-thru horror has reached gut-defying proportions.

Once novelty items, these caloric catastrophes are now mainstream.

Weirdest Trend: Male Genital Oversharing

Whether it was Donald Trump’s tiny, incomplete manhood on life-size nude statues, or celebrities like Usher and NBA All-Star Draymond Green “accidentally” posting photos of their schlongs on social media, we learned a lot this year about famous penises that we didn’t actually want to know.

Did Adolf Hitler Have a Micropenis? We don’t remember asking, but the Internet was abuzz this year with questions and theories about der Fuhrer’s penile situation.

Most Surprising Surplus

U.S. dairies have truckloads of cheese and no buyers, thanks to European competitors and a strong dollar.

But the USDA has invested in the cheese surplus, spending $20 million for about 11 million pounds.

What will our scrupulously thrifty government do with it? Our guess: The new $20 bill won’t just have a new face on it, it’ll now be printed on a tasty new material.

Best Excuse For Public Nudity

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When Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko said in a speech that his citizens should “get undressed and work,” it was probably a slip of the tongue. (“Get undressed” sounds very similar to “develop themselves” in Russian.)

But the people of Belarus took their leader at his word, creating the hashtag #getnakedandgotowork and posting nude photos of themselves (with their naughty bits cleverly concealed) on Instagram.

But Maybe It’s Better to Keep Those Pants On

This summer we got not one but two pop-up naked restaurants, in London—where the waiting list topped 46,000 eager nudists—and Melbourne, Australia.

The waitstaff were minimally covered.

Imagine the specials: Rump roast? Braised cheeks? All of it nut-free, we trust.

Science Finds a Way For Us to Body-Shame Ourselves

For just $699, the soon-to-be-released Naked 3D Fitness Tracker will assess your naked form and tell you exactly how you’re not desirable.

First it takes a full-body scan, including the humiliating parts you don’t see in your bathroom mirror.

It’s the perfect gift for anybody who needs reminding that they’re going to die alone and unloved.

Geezer We Have Sympathy For

Hugh Hefner, 90, sold the Playboy Mansion to the billionaire owner of Hostess, on the condition that he can live there until he dies.

A man who used to be the most envied bachelor in the world is now no different from the college dropout who crashes in his parents’ basement (if that dropout paid his parents a million dollars a year in rent money).

Geezer of the Year

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Mick Jagger, at an exceptionally craggy 73, is not only dating a 29-year-old ballerina (born around the time everybody was saying this Rolling Stone was too old to be a rock-and-roll star anymore) but also announced that he and his young-enough-to-be-his-granddaughter girlfriend are expecting a child, Sir Mick’s eighth kid.

This could be the last time, we don’t know.

Most Intriguing Escape Plans For the Human Race

President Obama called for a public-private mission to Mars, leaving in, oh, 2030 or so.

But we’re eyeing a rocky, Earth-size planet, possibly with an atmosphere and water, that was discovered orbiting Proxima Centauri, the closest star (besides the sun).

It’s a mere 4.2 light years away, or just 25 trillion miles. So if we leave now and don’t make any bathroom stops…

Definitive Proof That Sometimes Ignorance Is Bliss

A former photo retoucher for Victoria’s Secret revealed that so much of the catalog is Photoshopped that models began arriving at their shoots with “hairy armpits” and “stubbly pubes.”

Most Convincing Cautionary Tale About Unsafe Sex

Charlie Sheen.

News of the actor’s HIV-positive status inspired a huge surge in HIV-related Web searches—including a 417 percent increase on the day of his disclosure to the press, according to researchers from San Diego State University.

Least Convincing Argument For Safe Sex

Those “Feel the Burn?” billboards in L.A. to promote testing for sexually transmitted diseases.

They were clever, sure. But some of us don’t want to be reminded of a 75-year-old Brooklyn socialist when considering our sexual health.

Best Reasons to Spend Nearly a Year In Space

It’s a growing experience.

Like Scott Kelly, you could be 1.5 inches taller in orbit; the lack of gravity helps to stretch the spine.

Better yet, you would be 8.6 milliseconds younger than you were back on planet Earth.

Worst Reasons to Spend an Entire Year In Space

Brittle bones, weak muscles, puffy “moon face,” and drinking your own recycled piss and sweat—almost 200 gallons, according to NASA.

Oh, and you also get to collect your own poop in space for research. Fun!

Best Excuse For Being Late

Bruce Springsteen, who broke the four-hour mark in some shows, helped fourth-grader Xabi Glovsky with a personalized note for his teacher.

“Xabi has been out very late rocking & rolling,” the note read. “Please excuse him if he is tardy.”

Worst Excuse For Being Late

When Lauryn Hill was more than two hours late to her own concert in Atlanta, she turned to Facebook to lamely attempt to explain her tardiness.

She claimed she was “aligning my energy with the time.”

What the hell does that even mean? And will our boss buy it? At least when Spinal Tap was late to a gig, it was because of drugs and groupies.

Best Style For Slobs

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Kit and Ace washable cashmere and Levi’s dirt-resistant Commuter jeans.

The mostly rayon sweater (11 percent cashmere) can be machine washed and tumble dried without shrinking into a bib.

The jeans’ water-resistant coating repels rain, red wine, and eggplant parm like a force field.

Guaranteed Way to Get Laid in 2016

Scoring tickets to Hamilton.

Guaranteed Way to Get Into a Loud Argument About Sexual Consent With Your Wife

Scoring tickets to a Cosby stand-up show.

Worst Indignities Endured By Lab Rats

In their selfless pursuit of knowledge to help us make healthier decisions, they: breathed polluted Beijing air and got fat because of it; were exposed to radio cellphone radiation; got stoned and then accused of being lazy; and took anti-anxiety medicine, which made them less empathetic to other rats’ problems.

Best Wager We Wish We’d Made

Leicester City, the Bad News Bears of European soccer, were given 5,000-to-1 odds of becoming Premier League champions, and then they went and won it all anyway.

The only other 5,000-to-1 odds made by the same oddsmaker went to Kim Kardashian becoming president in 2020. Gentlemen, place your bets!

Most Shocking Reiteration Of the Obvious

Asked if there was any link between football-related head trauma and neuro-degenerative diseases like CTE, Jeff Miller, the NFL’s senior vice president for health and safety, said: “The answer to that question is certainly yes.”

Least Surprising Backpedaling From the Obvious

The NFL released a statement just hours after Miller’s admission, claiming that “a lot more questions need to be answered.”

Hey, NFL, pro tip: Maybe it’s not the best idea to be stealing corporate denial tactics from the Philip Morris playbook.

Proof That Legal Weed’s a Good Idea

Country legend Willie Nelson is launching his own cannabis brand, Willie’s Reserve.

Can’t wait for the “We will sell no weed before its time” commercials starring the red-headed stranger.

Proof That Legal Weed Might Be Terrible After All

A 53-year-old dad in Omaha stumbled upon pot brownies made by his adult children, ate four of them, and ended up calling the family cat a “bitch.”

Best Sign We May Not Be Entirely Screwing Up Boys

Disney princesses may not be the best role models for girls, but a BYU study found that for boys, they provide “a needed counterbalance to the hyper-masculine superhero media.”

But Girls? Yeah, We’re Still Messing With Their Heads

Discovery Girls, a magazine for preteens, ran a story titled “What Swimsuit Best Suits You?”

Readers, some as young as 8, were asked to assess their bodies: Were they “curvy on top,” “straight up and down,” or “rounder in the middle?”

A little young for that. It’s just like that episode of Sesame Street where Big Bird told kids about the letter P, for “Would it kill you to lose a few pounds?”

Dumbest New Exercise Obsession

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Walking on your hands!

Why? Beyond impressing Instagram followers, it doesn’t offer much.

Exercise physiologist Pat Davidson, Ph.D., says it can injure shoulders, has very little muscle-building or fat-burning benefit, and won’t make you better at anything other than handstand walking.

Best Example Of How Technology May Save Us All

Stan Larkin, a 25-year-old Michigan man, lived for 17 months without a heart.

As he waited for a transplant, his artificial heart was powered by a portable driver in a backpack.

Never Mind, Technology Will Destroy Us

One-fifth of genetics research papers were incorrectly autocorrected by Microsoft Excel, which confused gene labels with dates and random digits.

And you thought your phone’s auto-correct was annoying.

Main image: Matt Rainey (Enquirer), James Devaney/WireImage/Getty Images (Spider-Man), iStockphoto/Getty Images (goat head), Michael Hickey/Getty Images (Jagger), Splash News (Kardashian), Lucky Business/Getty Images (rower), Bela Borsodi/Trunk Archive (hot dog).

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