I really, really, really hate January. The only thing I hate more than January is February. These two months of the year seem disconnected from any of the fond associations or larger meanings the other months enjoy. March isn’t my favorite, but it’s a month where you can feel the first stirrings of spring, which is worth a lot. When you think about it, March is like a guy with back acne and a part-time job at Blockbuster who starts dating a girl who just divorced a guy who has back acne and a part-time job at Blockbuster, but who also spent all of his non-Blockbuster time playing World of Warcraft. If March came after, say, June, we’d think it was a pretty terrible month: dicey weather, no major holidays, with only March Madness to redeem it. But coming on the heels of January and February, March seems like 31 days of frolicking with unicorns made out of Twinkies – unicorns who are able to regenerate their Twinkie flesh when you take a bite out of them.
Unlike March, April’s merits are absolute rather than simply relative, the chief of which is its association with winter’s unconditional surrender. And even though I’m long since done with college and graduate school, April still brings to mind the freedom I used to feel when finals were over and done with. When May’s name is mentioned I think of the month when warm starts turning into hot, when the outdoor things you do in April no longer seem like you’re pushing your luck, and when Memorial Day fires the happy pistol shot starting the sprint into summer.
You know how everyone you know has things you love about them and things you’re less fond of? This is also true of spring and summer, and June somehow combines all of the good of each without any of the bad. I just can’t think of one negative thing to say about June. I always felt the same way about July as I do June until I moved to the East Coast. While I still really love July, the fact of the matter is that July in Utah is measurably superior than July out here. First, there’s the matter of July 24th, which employers here don’t ever seem to recognize. Second, there’s the issue of humidity. Still, July 4th is hard to top for fun and tradition, and the entire month just smells like sunscreen.
No, that’s totally cool. Your co-workers push for time off for Rosh Hashanah, but it’s not like we did anything noteworthy or difficult, so we don’t expect you to ask your boss off for a day to remember our sacrifice. It might be awkward for you to do that, and we really don’t want you to endure any awkwardness. Awkwardness is way worse than pushing a handcart 2,000 miles.
August is . . . fine. It smells like hot garbage in New York, but it’s warm and it’s summer, and that counts for something. September is one of my favorites. I’ve always loved Labor Day, even though it’s a little melancholy for a holiday, ringing in as it does the return to normalcy. Fortunately, the blow of summer’s departure is somewhat softened by the cooling of August’s heat and the return of college football. By the time October hits I’m itching to wear sweaters and blazers, and an East Coast fall makes up for not celebrating July 24th.
I don’t have terribly strong feelings about November, although I have a soft spot for Thanksgiving. One minor quibble: I think Thanksgiving should be on the 2nd Thursday in October. A two-day holiday makes for a great opportunity to take a trip, either home or elsewhere, but having that at the end of November comes too close to Christmas to make any sense. If Thanksgiving were in the middle of October, the big holidays would be a bit better spread out. Done and done. This brings us to December, and even though I’m no great fan of winter, I’m not immune to December’s many charms, which I won’t bother enumerating here.
All of this brings me back to my first point: what do January and February have going for them? What positive associations do they enjoy? I really can’t think of any. You have MLK Jr. Day and Presidents Day, and I really honestly believe they stuck those holidays in January and February just to keep the suicide rate down. The negative association column is a little more lengthy, though: freezing cold, gray mornings, darkness at 4 PM, snow that’s turned to slush and ice, inversion that makes a trip down I-15 feel like you’re Frodo carrying the ring to Mordor. I was going to propose that MLK Jr. Day and Presidents Day be scrapped and combined into one huge holiday at the end of January, but I’m thinking in bigger, bolder strokes now: Let’s cancel January and February altogether. The calendar now goes from December 31st to March 1st. So what do we do with the missing, nameless 59 days? We all stay home and play World of Warcraft and wait for March.