February is the Longest Month of the Year
February is the longest month of the year. And here I am stuck smack dab in the middle of February.
The calendar says that February is the shortest month but it seems like the longest month to me. February this year, like most years, has twenty-eight days. By the time it is over, it will seem like sixty-two days; at least to those of us who live in the Northern part of the United States.
According to the calendar, spring in my neck of the woods begins on March 20th. But where I live it doesn’t really begin until sometime in late April. Some years it takes until May to get here.
When spring doesn’t begin until April or May and winter starts creeping into my little town in mid-October, that doesn’t leave much time for summer, does it?
February is a cruel, cold month. It is the mean, odious stepmother of months. It leads us into March – when spring is supposed to begin. March is nothing if not a big tease.
The calendar keeps telling me that spring begins on March 20th. But I know better. I was born at night, but not last night. Spring does not begin in March. At least not here in my little town.
February is a month of wall-to-wall clouds. It’s dreary, damp, cold, gloomy, and usually dressed in snow and ice. February is a month of ugly weather. It’s a tease. February wants us to believe spring is but a crocus away. February lies.
We have sixty-two days of February to get through, each day a slog through the snow, mush, ice, and mud under unending gray skies.
Don’t get me wrong, I like winter – the first six weeks of it.
But I don’t enjoy February. The best thing we have going for us in February around my little town is waiting for the world’s largest rat, in some small town in Pennsylvania, to tell us all how many more weeks of winter we have left. I don’t need a big rat to tell me. I already know. Here’s my prediction: We have at least ten more weeks of winter left.
Now you’re all thinking I’m the big rat, aren’t you?
If you do live in the northern parts of the northern hemisphere, I’m sure you can empathize with me. If you live in Australia, New Zealand, or someplace else in the southern hemisphere, bear with me. I want all of you living in the southern hemisphere to know I empathize with you – because you’ve got problems with February too, even though you may not know it.
Did you ever think that you’ve been cheated out of three days of summer? February falls during your summer season. So, you get cheated out of three days of summer.
At least our last full month of summer in the northern hemisphere has 31 days. Whereas yours only has 28 — except, of course, during leap years. All those Downunder must relish leap years. Leap years add another day to your summer.
I hate leap years. They make February sixty-three days long instead of “just” sixty-two.
February does have some bright spots but only if you work for the government, the schools, or the banks. Because if you’re one of those lucky souls, you love February even though the sun never shines and the deep, damp, February cold seeps into every membrane of your body. You’re lucky. You get yet another day off in February. Presidents’ Day.
Presidents’ Day is a holiday for you, but not for the rest of us poor working stiffs.
And, while it might be called Presidents’ Day, I have never yet met anyone who sits around and ponders the honorable deeds, heroics, or exploits of George or Abraham on that day.
I’ll bet that most of you who work for the government, schools, or banks, will be eagerly thumbing through newspapers looking for Presidents’ Day Sales. Isn’t that true?
I’ll bet that not too many of you who are off that day will spend it cogitating and pontificating about the great American presidents or attending ceremonies honoring them. It looks like Target, Wal-Mart, Rural King 🙂 and other giant retailers win – while poor old George and Abraham once again have been relegated to the role of excuses for even more “sales” and days off from work.
Some of you, mostly female I imagine, find another notoriously bright spot stuck smack dab in the middle of February. It’s called “Valentine’s Day”.
It’s supposed to be a day of romance, but, in my cynical mind, it’s a way for Hallmark, American Greetings, and other large purveyors of cardboard poetry to make oodles of wampum.
According to the Greeting Card Association, an estimated one billion Valentine cards are sent each year. This makes Valentine’s Day the second biggest “card-sending” holiday of the year – right behind Christmas when 2.6 billion cards are sent. Eighty-five percent of all Valentine’s Day cards are sent by women.
Well? Facts are facts!
And then, of course, the candy, candles, “romantic items” and other Valentine’s Day goodies that fill store shelves from the day after Christmas through the 14th of February.
Sigh. To my mind, this Valentine’s Day ruse is a marketer’s dream come true. Money, not “romance” is the engine that drives Valentine’s Day.
Am I too cynical? Maybe. But then again, I have my reasons.
Whenever I think of Valentine’s Day, I think of myself as a fifth-grader. I was not attractive or popular. I was a fat kid, OK?
I was certainly no Beau Brummel. either. My mom had just died a few months earlier and I desperately needed attention. Even more than most ten-year-old kids. I began (pathetically) hoping that some of the girls in my fifth-grade class would feel sorry for me and send me Valentine’s day cards. Isn’t that sad? Pitiable even.
Of course, very few if any of the girls did. I recall a song by Janis Ian called “At Seventeen” and one of the lines in that song is “For those of us who knew the pain, of Valentines that never came…”.
And, in case you think I’m somehow anti-romantic or picking on women here, I’m not. One of the worst things ever foisted upon the world is the “Super Bowl”. Here we have a football game interrupted by five-minute commercials, one-hour halftimes, and ridiculous TV timeouts that are five minutes long.
If I were a football coach, I wouldn’t even want to play in this media circus. It’s a game between two teams that have most likely already played before during the regular season when no one took notice.
It’s a game that is covered relentlessly by the media for weeks. A game that is more hype than a contest, more glitter than substance. Most of us cannot even recall who won the last Super Bowl. And -in most years – all the beautiful people are in attendance. But not this year. Because of the pandemic, they filled the stadium with 25,000 real people and 50,000 cardboard people wearing masks. Do cardboard people need to wear masks too?
I like football — especially college football — and I watch a lot of games during the football season. I often look forward to relaxing on a Saturday afternoon watching college football.
So, besides the interminably long string of sunless, damp, cold, windy, snowy, dreary days that February dishes up, there lingers that tantalizing thought of spring on the distant horizon. It’s just a tease really. It’s a long way until spring blossoms around here.
I have other reasons to dislike the month of February. Its 62 days are neatly fitted into a calendar of 28 days. It’s sleight of hand I tell you. February is a cruel joke that is played on us each year.
And I remind my friends in Australia, New Zealand, and other points in the southern hemisphere, remember that February is not kind to you either. It cheats you out of a couple of days of summer.
I always try to accept things as they come, but I have a difficult time accepting February. It’s the one month of the year that I despise. The one month of the year that has absolutely no redeeming qualities – except that it brings us one month closer to spring.
As of today, there are twenty-nine more days until the vernal equinox – the astronomical first day of spring. What do astronomers know about spring? I figure spring is at least 60 days away.
Now you understand why I say that February is the longest month of the year.