By Steve Young

Mercifully, 2009 drifts into the rearview mirror - a rearview mirror shattered by the debacles of the last 12 months, and with nary enough money in our pockets to glue its shards back together.

For sanity's sake, we can look ahead to 2010 and learn from those who messed up 2009. Here's your new year's guide for squeezing the sour taste of out of those 2009 lemons and turning them into 2010 lemonade.

2009 Lemon: Due to sordid extramarital activities, Tiger Woods took a break from golf and millions in endorsements, while his wife may be taking a longer break from him; South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford's wife filed for divorce; and Sen. John Ensign (R, Nev.) had to resign his Senate chairmanship. Meanwhile, David Letterman's Late Show ratings soared.

2010 Lemonade: If you're going to make your life a national joke, make sure you're a guy who does that for a living.

2009 Lemon: Northeast Philly State Rep. John M. Perzel was accused of using his influence and the voters' money to get himself and other Republicans elected. Democratic House Majority Whip Bill DeWeese was charged in another scandal. And the June budget is only six months late.

2010 Lemonade: Just because Vince Fumo left for prison doesn't mean Harrisburg will stop giving The Inquirer gift-wrapped stories of corruption and legislative fiascoes.

2009 Lemon: Congressional health-care reform legislation means costs will go up or down, services will be cut or improved, a public option is absolutely necessary or not, and death panels will or will not be created to decide when senior citizens should be euthanized.

2010 Lemonade: There's something in it for everyone.

2009 Lemon: President Obama said his bowling "was like Special Olympics." In return for British Prime Minister Gordon Brown's presenting him with a pen holder carved from the wood of an ancient anti-slave ship, the president gave Brown DVDs of 25 American movies. Engaged in two wars, he accepted the Nobel Peace Prize.

2010 Lemonade: Never underestimate an unfunny person's capacity to be funny.

2009 Lemon: Balloon Boy dad, Octomom, former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, White House party crashers, Jon with or without Kate, etc.

2010 Lemonade: Reality TV will never run out of cast members.

2009 Lemon: Global warming e-mail scandal

2010 Lemonade: Apparently, there is no serious global warming. Please pay no attention to the dying polar bears.

2009 Lemon: Philadelphia unemployment has risen to 11 percent.

2010 Lemonade: We still aren't Detroit.

Steve Young can be reached at theeothersteveyoung@juno.com.