JANUARY....Who Needs It?

Thank God, January is moving to its inexorable conclusion. In just a few days, this miserable excuse for a month will expire, so that hope and the pursuit of happiness can once again take root in the wane of winter. All right, February is no picnic, either. But at least this hibernal month has only 28 days, and is blessed with ever-increasing sunshine, as well as expectations of the inevitable, albeit somewhat imperceptible, rise in temperature, leading one’s battered, embittered spirit to the anticipation of spring.

January, at least in the Northern hemisphere, has always been an albatross across the human heart. How can one not dread its ominous propinquity? Barely a week after basking in the resplendence of presents, festivities, hallelujahs and hossanahs, we are asked to segue into the unforgiving glumness of an anemic New Year’s sun that peaks uncertainly above the treetops of the southern sky, if at all. Then, as if to add insult to injury, we are required to observe this entry point into the New Year with an all-out, hysterical, obsequious celebration. Even a child can sense the abject, contrived dishonesty. Inevitably, this frenzy leading up to the midnight stroke only dissolves into what has to be the most wretched, enervating day of the year... "The 1st"... a traditional commencement to the proverbial, putative ‘new beginning.’ And then there is the 2nd, the 3rd, etc., in what seems to be an endless plunge into the stasis of the dark, dank and frigid winds of time, stilled by the infinite night.

As a kid, I remember how we’d shudder at the prospect of relinquishing our brief reprieve from the drudgery of those six hour days, confined to the clunking clanging, steam-heated incarceration of public edification: the early wake up calls, the paralytic waits for the bus in the wee hours of the glacial, January gloom. All this, only to be followed with the most feared bi-syllabic sound a school teacher could possibly give tongue to: ‘homework!’ No, January augured nothing but portentous angst, and that’s saying a lot for pre-pubescents who knew not the meaning of the word.

There is nothing good that happens in January. Only the flu and common cold thrive in January. Ah, yes, presidents are inaugurated, but look where that has taken us! Of course, people are born in January, many of them worthwhile citizens. Nonetheless, I ask you: do we really need this blasphemous catastrophe of nature, demeaning and debasing the glory of God’s wondrous work? I say: let’s be rid of it, once and for all!

We’re an adaptive species. I should think that eleven months would work as well as twelve Granted, we’d be dealing with a new paradigm in which the sum of the months would add up to a prime number (11). This might be uncomfortable for a while, especially for those of us who are used to integers divisible by more than themselves. But with a little counseling, I believe we’d all adjust to the new eleven month calendar and perhaps even revel in its asymmetric dimensions.

Of course, this would make February 1st the New Year, and I say: "All the better for it!" For Christ’s spiritual splendor of December’s sake! February, at least, has Valentine’s Day. And if that doesn’t do it for you, spring training begins, kicking off six glorious months of our national past time. As for the people who heretofore celebrated their birth... back in (can you bear the sound of it?)... ‘J a n u a ry’ ... let them choose any day in the new 334-day year to celebrate their arrival onto the terra firma.

Some claim that January serves a critical function, as it sets up a greater appreciation of the months and seasons preceding and following its lowly place in the scheme of things. But we must reject such apologistic rationalizations for what is obviously one of the eminently egregious errors of creation. For when all is said and done, "Janus", as it is known in the anachronic Latin, is but a scourge ‘pon the body bold and the spirit sanguine. Ultimately, it offers as much modern value to the cadence of human experience as our antediluvian tailbone.

Marc Twang

© Marc Twang (Freelance Writer) P.O. Box 9409 / Berkeley, Ca. 9470 / Tel: 510-967-4722 / e-mail:orealius@juno.com


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