The bad news is February starts Friday. The good news is the month is the shortest of the year, thankfully just 28 days. But it’s 28 long days because February is the boringest month of the year, the Big Buzzkill on the calendar.
Not that January is all that great. But we’ve got New Year’s Day, some bowl games, the BCS national championship, the NFL playoffs, and Idaho Human Rights Day, celebrated, of course, every Jan. 16, to help get us through the month. But, let’s be honest, February is just one downer of a month.
In some ways, it’s not February’s fault. Some month has to follow the holidays, right? There’s nothing like the high of the holiday season, that time from just before Thanksgiving until New Year’s. It’s a potpourri of pigskin and parties, a whirlwind of Christmas activities and anticipation. It’s a gluttony of good times.
People, other than when shopping, seem to be in a semi-decent mood. “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” was even put to song. There’s not many songs about February. I can think of one instance, and it was about death. From Don McLean’s “American Pie”: “But February made me shiver, with every paper I’d deliver, bad news on the doorstep...”
February makes me shiver, too. The weather is not much different from December, but now, there’s nothing to take our minds off it. December’s rosy cheeks are now just February’s freezing cold face. February is bitter, dreary, and the sun still isn’t up much past 6 p.m. each night. There’s no driving around the neighborhoods to look at Presidents’ Day lights in the evening. We’re stuck, just like our cars often are in the snow. What kind of fool added a day to the month every four years?
January, and to a much larger degree, February, is the post-holiday comedown. Moods that come up at the end of the year often must come down in the beginning. People can get seriously affected by it, depressed each year during the early months. It’s called SAD – Seasonal Affective Disorder – and it hits thousands who are drowning in the dreariness of it all.
It would help if February itself weren’t so devoid of events. If we just had a major holiday in the month, it would help, but I’m at a loss for suggestions. Oh, people have tried to perk up the month, and I appreciate the effort, but it seems strained.
Decades ago, Sports Illustrated started its famous swimsuit issue in February as a way to bridge the gap between the end of football and spring baseball. And as the editors determined, it’s not like anything is happening in February anyway.
The NFL, over the past decade or so, has pushed the Super Bowl to the first Sunday in February. It’s like pro football is throwing February a bone, taking what really is a fall/early winter sport and pushing it into the least exciting month of the year. Football in February – it seems too manufactured.
So does Valentine’s Day. It’s a day that seems designed by the card, floral, jewelry and restaurant industry to make money. Meanwhile, it puts a lot of needless pressure on us guys, first of all, to simply remember the day, and then, secondly, to do something about it.
It’s a pretty sad commentary on a month when two of the traditional main events are breathlessly waiting on if a rodent sees its shadow, and a combination of Washington’s and Lincoln’s birthdays that have morphed into Presidents’ Day. If it’s not worth closing school or work for a day, I don’t really see the point.
I’m not smart enough nor do I have the right gender of pet to fully appreciate or recognize what little February has to offer. Ronald Reagan set aside Feb. 11 as National Inventors’ Day. The third week in the month, this year Feb. 17-23, is National Engineers Week, and Feb. 28 is National Science Day.
I’m 0 for 3 there. Feb. 25 is Spay Day USA, created by the Doris Day Animal League, 19 years ago. Alas, my dog Ranger is a male, and he was neutered a good while back. 0 for 4.
You know it’s a dull month for most sports fans when many get excited that pitchers and catchers are reporting. Not doing anything, mind you, just showing up. Yes, there is the Daytona 500, the Super Bowl of NASCAR, and Mardi Gras, the Super Bowl of drunken revelry in New Orleans. But try as I might, I just can’t get into NASCAR that much except for the last few laps. And to participate in Mardi Gras would take a written permission slip from my wife, which isn’t happening in mine or anyone else’s lifetime.
February is the annual speed bump on the calendar. Twenty-eight days of tedium that begin most mornings with scraping the windshield and ends with an expectation of more of the same. Oh well, we persevere every year, and we’ll do it again. It takes a month like February to appreciate the good times. March never looked so good.
by Jon Mark Beilue
Jon Mark Beilue is an award-winning columnist for AGN Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (806) 345-3318.