No matter how you look at it, 2009 has been a rough year. The national unemployment rate is at 10 percent, its highest level in more than 26 years, the budget deficit is at $12.1 trillion and we're fighting two wars at the same time while fending off terrorists who store explosives in their underpants. But if you think you had a bad year, consider the case of the "55-year-old Virgin," the marble statue who stands sentinel in front of St. Monica's Church at 7th and California. Shortly before Easter Mass this year, someone hacked off her head. Local priests tried to glue it back together but, alas, how many resurrections can you celebrate in one day? For weeks, the Virgin suffered the ultimate indignity: Someone covered her unsightly stump with a plastic garbage bag. And then she disappeared."The statue is out for repairs ... and will return soon," read a sign on the pedestal where the Virgin once stood. Months went by; Summer yielded to Fall; Winter arrived ... and still no Virgin. Frankly, I began to worry.
And then today, like a New Year's Miracle, she returned, stronger and more resilient than ever. Sure, she looks a bit jaded now, but that's just because she's been re-cast in bronze. I just hope whoever chopped off her head doesn't own a blowtorch. Meanwhile, here's hoping you all -- like the 55-year-old Virgin -- get a head in the New Year ...!