It’s still February.
It has been February since the middle of January.
It will probably still be February until the middle of April.
February is the longest month of the year.
Every year it seems to get longer.
I know I should be joining the chorus celebrating the relative mildness of this winter, but I think it’s important to emphasize the word relative.
Forty-something degrees is still cold — even if it’s warmer than 20-something degrees — and 5 a.m. is still as dark as 4 a.m. and that’s a formidable anti-motivational partnership.
Speaking of formidable partnerships, February seems to have joined forces with Mother Nature, religion, and Hallmark to help us along through the cold, dark dreary times between the cheerful winter holidays and the blossoming promises of spring. The month is teeming with special days and opportunities for a deal on a new car or mattress set.
Right off the bat, as if it knows that we’re going to need a dose of hope, February is quick out of blocks with Groundhog Day, because you know as well as I do, February is the kind of month to mix sports metaphors. Early in February a lovable little rodent named
Punxsa Punxat P-Phil is snatched from his home by a bunch of dudes in top hats.
Why is he P-Phil instead of something easier, like Groundhog Greg? Strategy.
It takes the average spelling-enthusiast about two minutes to try to spell “Punxsutawney” without assistance, another couple of minutes to wonder if anyone will notice a mis-spelling, and another 30 seconds to open another Google tab and search for the correct spelling. Factor in the distractor search suggestions (punkin chunkin, punta cana, punk’s backyard grill, and punky brewster), and a good ten minutes (minimum) passes. Converted to February time, in 10 minutes real-time, only 30 seconds has passed. Nonetheless, you have been distracted from the fact that it’s still February.
Even if P-Phil predicts six more weeks of winter, it’s only six more weeks. Not even double-digits. Six is pretty good news in hockey, soccer, and even baseball. Baseball. . . hot dogs, apple pie, Chevrolet! Oh, February, you are playing hardball.
Just as we’re starting to suspect that P-Phil might be a mole for the major retailers who need to clear out their winter inventory, February slings Cupid’s arrows of outrageous flower prices at us. Cupid, for those who are not up to speed on the religious origins of the holiday, is the Mini-Me to St. Valentine, patron saint of chocolate. Love it or hate it, Valentine’s Day distracts us from the fact that February has us in her clutches. Oh, February, you sly coquette.
In recent years February has caught on that not everyone in the U.S. is feeling the love, resulting in the rebound holiday celebrating “Presidents.” That is one impressive playbook, February. Who doesn’t love
presidents a three-day weekend?
To the delight of those who love colorful beads, pancakes, and/or cakes with plastic babies inside, February brings Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday, aka Shrove Tuesday, the last bash before the beginning of Lent on Ash Wednesday. There’s another mixed metaphor joke in there somewhere but I’m too overcome by February-induced ennui to work for it.
Every four years, like this year, just as we’re coming down the homestretch, February moves the goal post and adds an extra day, ironically declaring it Leap Day. As if anyone feels like leaping by the end of February. Oh, February, you know how to stay true to your route.
It’s still February.
I just went to check the calendar. It hasn’t budged.
I checked the thermostat. It’s 45 degrees outside. Whoo-hoo – heat wave.
In celebration of Fat Tuesday, I ate my fifth raspberry Milano, because sometimes I am literally literal.
I should probably move the phrase “literally literal” closer to the referent “Fat” than to “Milano,” but it’s February and I am too overcome with ennui to work for it.