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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

February on my Mind

February is here. I will try to throttle back my enthusiasm a notch or two.
It is a very good thing February is such a short month. Were it much longer, I am certain the Psychiatric Hospitals would be at capacity.
It is not that February is inherently malevolent or mean-spirited. It is just that February is the not-so-savory-surprise-in-the-punch bowl of the year. February didn’t ask to be jammed between January and March.  It didn’t desire to be plagued by monotonous, tedious, un-ending, cold, gray, lousy weather.
It just came out that way.
In a feeble attempt to validate itself, February lays claim to Valentine’s Day. There it sits, smack in the middle of a drab, boring month; a half-hearted attempt at joy and passion bedecked in red and pink hearts, festooned with white doilies, the Elmer’s glue still moist on the edges of the construction paper.
Attempting to spark the damp, smoldering fire of romance, couples don their fine apparel; bundle up in boots, scarves, overcoats, hats, and gloves to schlep through the iron hard frozen ruts passing for streets.  Upon arriving at the dining place of their choice, (preferably where one does not order a combo meal from an illustrated menu board) they enjoy a quiet, romantic, intimate dinner in the company of about 100 other couples; all yearning for a quiet evening.
The effect is somewhat nullified by the need to shout across the table in order to be heard. It just loses something when one party shouts “I love you!”, only to have the recipient shout back “Huh? I can’t hear you!”
Upon leaving Chez Fred’s our love-struck couple discover a freezing rain has begun since they went inside. The car is now encased in a fine veneer of ice. The door locks, wishing to add to the adventure, are frozen. Following several unsuccessful presses of the unlock button, the male asserts himself.
He thrusts the key in the lock.  Giving a mighty twist, he feels the key yield.  The key keeps yielding as he realizes it has snapped off in the lock
The female, thoroughly soaked, cold, and disgusted by the show of raw machismo, withdraws to the warmth of the restaurant. For his part, the man stands in the icy mist, staring hopelessly at the stub of the key.
A short time later, the woman emerges with a Styrofoam cup of hot water. Carefully, she pours this over the lock. She then removes a set of keys from her clutch, and smugly presses the button. With a click, flash of the headlights and a “bwoop” the door opens. She sidles in, seductively showing more leg than really necessary. With a smile, she starts the car, slams the door, and drives off, leaving the man to dash after her for two blocks before he slips on an icy patch on the sidewalk.
That, dear friend, is romance in February.
February also tries to share its wacky and fun side with the wild, hilarious Groundhog Day.
This droll, folksy traditional has Germanic roots. In reality, it probably has Germanic beer roots.
How else to explain the over-whelming compulsion to reach into the den of a hibernating furbearing woodland creature, grasp unto said creature, and drag him or her into the light of day?
Then, to proclaim, with all solemnity, said critter (actually a member of the rodent family), saw his shadow, became startled, and scurried back into his den. Therefore, we can expect Winter to end around March 21st.
No joke, Sherlock?
Has it ever occurred to anyone the over-grown mouse was startled by some goon grabbing hold of him while he was in the middle of a really great dream in which he and J.Lo are vacationing on a private island in the Caribbean. Just when she is giving him a come-hither look, and loosening her bikini top-BAM- some clown is hoisting him up in the air, in broad daylight, all the while jabbering about Spring as a bunch of yahoos shout at him.
Maybe-just maybe- that is why he scurries back to his hole.
Seriously, now; does that sound like the sort of thing a sober person would do?  Well…maybe some of my friends would, but only if you dared them to.
For his sake I hope he can pick up the dream. From my own experience, I have no problem falling asleep and going right back to where I left off. Only now J.Lo has become Miss Piggy.
Not wishing to be outdone by July for patriotism, February boasts of George Washington’s and Abraham Lincoln’s birthdays.  Both these men were esteemed Americans. Their respective legacies will endure for centuries yet to come.
However a slice of cherry pie just can’t compete with a day off from work, parades, bar-b-ques, ballgames, picnics, and fireworks.  Sorry, February, July has got you beat there.
Add to the above list of little quirks  February’s penchant for delusions of grandeur every four years. Suddenly, it decides to be a big-shot and add a day; February 29th. Again, in true February style, it has to be coy about its intentions. It can’t say “Hey! I’m sick of being the shortest month! I am adding a day this year!”
No, it has to be clever and use such nonsensical subterfuge by calling it Leap Year. And the extra day, in order to be cute, is called Sadie Hawkins Day; a day when single ladies can track down the eligible bachelor of their choice, drag that sap before a preacher or justice of the peace, and get married.  Cute, really cute, February.
Well, guess what? Your gambit didn’t work. You are STILL the shortest month.
What if the other months decided all willy-nilly to add a day when ever they felt like it? What if October announced “I’m tired of the same old 31 day routine. This year, the third week of the month, I am adding a second Wednesday. I am gonna call it Double Hump Day! HAAA!! Get it? Double Hump Day? You know, Wednesday--Hump Day? Well, I thought it sounded pretty cool.”
It is no coincidence the real reason those mad-cap Caesar boys; Augie and Jules, took a couple days for themselves was to shorten a most dismal month.  That whole cock and bull story about a rivalry between them, and wanting “their” months to be equal was just a cover so February’s feelings wouldn’t be hurt.
It was the calendar equivalent of making the un-coordinated kid on the team the water boy; “Bobbie, I got a real important job for you. Those other guys get all hot and thirsty running up and down the field. You have to make sure the water bottles are full, and chilled. Okay? Can I count on you? Attaboy, Bobbie! What a team player you are!”
We are nearly a quarter of the way through February.
The good news: there are only 40 days until St. Patrick’s Day! Now, that is something to look forward to!
Oh, yeah, I think Spring is a few days after that.

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