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February Sucks

By Ron Marr


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    February is the most obnoxious of months, a cold and lumbering time which dulls the mind and numbs the soul. The other months hate February in the same manner an otherwise normal family hates smelly old Uncle Earl. You know who I mean; most all families have their own variation of Uncle Earl. He's the tongue-chewing cur who pops in unexpectedly from Omaha every other November with his incontinent dachshund in tow. He's the drunken, slack-jawed yokel who will inevitably stick his free hand (the one not
holding a tankard of Ripple) up the roasted turkey's hind end and put on a Thanksgiving puppet show.

    Unfortunately, it's against the laws of nature to kill either Uncle Earl or February without altering the nature of the cosmos or paying taxes a month sooner. The best you can hope for is that both will eventually just go away. They always do, but not without first leaving an empty fridge, cigar burns on the couch and numerous psychological scars.

    Due to a biological imperative which has remained deeply ingrained within the human DNA strand since before the dawn of time, this dastardly hole in the middle of winter - February - has for eons sucked the life force from our noggins and forced us into actions that would seem plain silly the rest of the year. My old family doctor in Missouri used to claim he saw more divorces, suicides, car wrecks, psychosomatic diseases, beatings, bankruptcies and general whining during February than during the whole rest of the year put together.

    That's not surprising. February is a month that includes a holiday in which we watch a groundhog for snow reports instead of shooting the damn thing and flipping on the Weather Channel. It's a month when we celebrate the birthday of an inordinately homely, often depressed log-splitting president who gave us not only the war of northern aggression (The States Of Georgia and South Carolina might have lowered the Stars and Bars, but I didn't) but also encouraged the false market growth of the optometry profession by suggesting we read small print by the fractured and indirect light of a fireplace.

    Worst of all, this awful month is the nesting ground of that parallel universe where lovers of all shapes, sizes, smells, colors, dental hygiene and intelligence demonstrate their affection. They do this by spending the last five hours of February 13th running around like mad dogs in search of flowers, gifts, dinner reservations, jewelry and flimsy undies that they forgot to pick up earlier but best buy now unless they want to sleep on the couch or find their fishing stuff broken come spring.

    February gives us Valentine's Day, a holiday of Faustian retardation where one bargains for their soul with gee gaws, jim cracks, trinkets and doo dads in a futile attempt to pay the toll on the rocky road of fidelity or the lack thereof. Show up with diamonds and you're probably ok, although the rock will be too small even if it's the size of a fluid-retentive 16 pound Brunswick. Show up with a water pik or a Weed Eater and you're dead meat. Whoever said "it's the thought that counts" has never truly had to endure a real Valentine's Day. This is a Hallmark holiday spawned in Hell.

    I plan on celebrating Valentine's Day 2001 with my pups - Wow, Henry and Boris the Malamute. Since they've been acting downright sociable of late - defined as having not jumped the fence and chased my neighbor's horses more than four times in the last week -  I will fry them up a couple pounds of bacon, stick a red rose in the bud vase out at Chez Doghouse, and give them a gift certificate for 10 pounds of smoked pig's ears.  Such generosity will keep them from nagging me to take them out to dinner, an action which would be wholly impossible since it would spoil a long-standing tradition.

    You see, I make it a point of hanging  close to the homestead on Valentine's Day,  deep-frying a variety of batter-dipped chicken innards and popping my personal copy of The Outlaw Josey Wales into the VCR. The Outlaw Josey Wales is fine Valentine's evening fare, especially the part where Josey flips his six guns with the speed of chained, blue lightning, gut-shoots two buffalo hunters, and then spits tobacco juice on their foreheads.

    I suspect The Outlaw Josey Wales is a Valentine's movie because I once heard that love means never having to say you're sorry. Josey never says he's sorry during this whole movie, even after blowing away the entire Union army. He just squints and spits more Red Man. Such being the case it is obvious that this is a flick about perfect and unconditional love.

    February is here. Endeavor to persevere. I have thought long and hard, trying to find something pleasant I could say about this low IQ month, but at the time of this writing find myself mentally bereft. It's February, the time of silly holidays, bitter cold and emotional warfare. A time when the wind howls and the snow hides, 30 days of simmering aggression when even the earthworms file for divorce.

    The only nice thing I can really say about February is this.  

    March will be here soon.

Ron Marr is the author of "Coyote Songs" and editor of the nationally distributed monthly newspaper, The Trout Wrapper. He resides in Pony, Montana. Visit

Ron Marr, 2001

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