An open letter to the worst month of the year

An open letter to the worst month of the year

Dear January,

You don’t mind if I call you Jan, do you?

Not that I actually give a rip what you think.

Or should that be give a “RIP” because, you know, you’re the deadliest month of the year.

Yep, government statistics say it’s so, and as we all know, if you can’t trust those in charge, well, we might as well just give up.

It wasn’t exactly difficult for me to predict you’d be the least alive month, given the fact I lost both my parents in your 31 days. True, those losses occurred 18 years apart, but you get the idea.

See, Jan, hardly anyone likes you. Aside from birthday celebrants and anniversarians (if there is such a species), you have the distinction of being the most hated month among your 11 brethren.

Why do you kill so many people, thousands and thousands every hour, when months like August just hint at our mortality, much the way Elvis Presley did during his last American tour?

The King died in August — of course he did. No place throws a funeral like Memphis in late summer.

He was born in January — of course he was. No place loves a shanty birth like Tupelo in the dead of winter.

You are a hungry beast, Jan, reminding us ever so subtly that whatever bills we might have run up in December, as we are blinded by the holiday glow, come due with merciless fervor.

Boom-boom, out go the lights.

Correct me if I’m wrong, Jan, but it’s my belief that the biggest reason so many people die when you’re running things is that all most of them want to do is survive Christmas so their loved ones won’t have sad, awful memories during that festive season.

It’s as if you’re an open grave at the end of a marathon, one people welcome because it means they made it out of December alive. That makes you a massive, yawning pit of oh-just-screw-it.

You are one cold witch, Jan, literally and figuratively. In a lot of places including the one I call home, the ground is so permafrosted and impenetrable that proper 6-feet-under holes can’t even be dug until spring, meaning those you claim must wait.

But it’s not just the hideous weather that makes you the worst. Even in more temperate climes such as the one I’ve lived in for more than 20 years, you are a dung heap of disappointment, a barely breathing time to come to grips with failure and loss.

I refer, of course, to Notre Dame football and the way you take sadistic delight in ruining what looked so promising in the fall.

Professional football seems to have had enough of you as well, moving its championship game well into February, your much more accommodating — and agreeably shorter — neighbor.

Good old Feb. He gave us Lincoln and Washington, Valentine’s Day and, not to sound immodest, but me. You gotta love Feb.

Still, getting there seems like an impossibility, Jan, with you standing between us like a claymore-infested minefield, a trip-wired no man’s land where napalm still retains its awful might.

Need I remind you the Tet Offensive began Jan. 30, 1968?

And I hate to bring this up, Jan, but you’re responsible for bringing Nixon into the world. Not that he would have been less venal had he arrived anywhere else in the calendar year, but let’s face facts: Tricky Dick did more damage to America than, well, almost any other president. Oh, yeah, and you have Jan. 6, 2021, to answer for.

I’m not saying you’re all bad, Jan, just that you have a latent, lethal tendency to bring a lot of folks down and, with us, the world itself.

You arrive with the gaudy, debauched ball-dropping-in-Times-Square overkill and proceed to make life a living hell thereafter.

You’re a Trojan Horse, within whose wanton and empty insides rests a legion of contagions, all of which mean us harm. True, we willingly wheeled you into our cities and towns, but do you have to make our New Year’s Eve hangovers so viciously costly?

A lot of folks return to school and to work and to their normal, everyday lives full of resolute determination to make this year better than the last, and what do you give them in return?

Rent increases, threats of eviction, sub-zero conditions that kill water pipes and freeze transmissions. You usher in a time of inhospitable nastiness between neighbors, relationships that go belly up over the holidays and the realization that death is rampant.

You took my parents, both of them, Jan, and for that I despise you. Were it in my power, I’d wipe you out, erase you completely, send you screaming into the deepest depths of Hades, but I can’t do that.

So I’ll close with this simple request: Just leave us all alone, OK?

And while you’re at it, Jan, could you end the baseball lockout? I have a feeling I’ll need spring training in the worst kind of way.

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