Time really flies when the world is falling apart

Looking back at some of the easy-to-forget stories that animated 2023.

Remember that time Chinese spy balloons were the world’s biggest story? You’d be forgiven if not. 

Logan Paul and KSI holding Prime energy drinks, a car crashing into a flaming 7-Eleven, and Anna, a model of a futuristic human with poor posture, on a purple background.

The story already feels decades old, but nope — that drama peaked in…  February of this same year.  

There’s plenty you may’ve blanked on from 2023, but that’s where we come in handy. Here are some of the year’s under-the-radar stories worth remembering:

  • 7-Eleven had to pay $91m to an Illinois man struck by a car in front of one of its stores. It was a strange case made stranger when this shocking stat popped up in court: ~6.3k drivers crashed into 7-Eleven’s US storefronts over a ~15-year period. That’s about one per day.
  • Energy drink brands achieved new chaotic heights — the next story down will fill you in on Monster’s quest to file trademark violations against everyone — but Prime, the drink fronted by influencers Logan Paul and KSI, was perhaps even more chaotic. It grew to $1.2B in sales, despite a federal probe into its potentially dangerous caffeine levels (~6x a can of Coca-Cola, BTW).
  • Return-to-office propaganda heated up, with a UK office furniture supplier releasing Anna, an overblown 3D model showing what the “future of remote working” looks like. If only the imaginary hunchbacked, claw-handed, racoon-eyed sadsack had access to one of the supplier’s chairs, surely poor Anna’s depression, sallow skin, and swollen limbs would have been cured. 

What else?

  • Talking a big theme-park game: First, there was the proposed $100m+ park from YouTube stars Dude Perfect. Then, Mansion Entertainment Group announced a sprawling $2B “Americana-themed” park set for Oklahoma.
  • Barnes & Noble wrote a new story: The bookstore rebounded from the brink to plot out ~30 new locations — by using the playbook of independent bookstores, which, amazingly, are also booming.
  • Being uber-wealthy makes dreams come true: “South Park” creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker spent $40m+ reviving their fave childhood restaurant, while Google co-founder Sergey Brin funneled $250m+ into airships’ comeback (yeah, like the Hindenburg).  

Finally: Let’s have a moment of silence for the stretch limo, which basically died this year, comprising less than 1% of all limo services.

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