Cordele Dispatch, Cordele, GA

February 7, 2013

Life, liberty, and…..February?

Clay Mercer
Cordele Dispatch

Pinehurst — Ah, February, thou art to the Gregorian calendar as a wart on a fan dancer’s fanny: a blemish we are forced to accept if we wish to embrace the rest of the year.

Various peoples and tribes have tried to anoint you in various ways to make you more attractive, much as a photographer seeks a model’s ‘best side.’  You have none.

In New Orleans and various sub-equatorial countries, thou art burdened with a debauch, known variously as Mardi Gras or, simply, Carnival.  It’s the only time of the year the New Orleans city council actively prays for rain.  But that’s only to keep the smell down as much as possible.

Furthermore, you bear the burden of the beginning of Lent. Lent is a time of sacrifice and introspection, two exercises at which I neither excel nor voluntarily prolong. This year my goal is to give up pretenses for Lent. Pardon me if my language becomes rather blunt.

Another attempt to make you attractive, friend February, is the nationally recognized holiday, St. Valentine’s Day.  

St. Valentine’s Day is the day one presents one’s sweetheart with gifts of jewelry and tasty sweets, such as chocolate. Some believe that a woman eating a chocolate morsel experiences the same changes in brain chemistry that she does when she falls in love.

Why then, does chocolate not prevent or relieve the symptoms of PMS?  Truly this is a conundrum for the residents of Mt. Olympus.

Cupid, commonly associated with St. Valentine, is said to shoot his arrows into the hearts of lovers, cementing their bond. Truly, more than one match not necessarily made in Heaven has been cemented by the appearance of a fat, naked baby.

Alas, but for these drab window dressings, February would be known for lesser, more obscure reasons.

For instance, February is the month that Australians drink the least amount of beer. That’s because February normally only has 28 days.

February is the month the groundhog, emerging from his burrow, offers a prediction of an early spring or a long winter.  These matters are obfuscated by the presence of a ‘Northern’ groundhog and a ‘Southern’ groundhog.

Now you know how the Catholics felt when there was a Pope in Rome and another Pope in Constantinople. Whose authority was correct?

Fortunately, here in South Georgia, we always have an early spring, so we rarely rely on the prediction of an illiterate rodent to influence our plans regarding outdoor activities.

There is, however, and has been since 1947-48, a charm on February’s bracelet that outshines all the other previous attempts to brighten up a cloudy month. That charm is Nascar. The jewel in that charm is the Daytona 500.

In the traditions of Americans everywhere, with the Daytona 500, we have applied the principal that if a little bit is good, a lot will be better. Thus we have not just the Daytona 500, we have the Budweiser Shootout.  We also have various practice sessions and the twin qualifying races, all just to see how the drivers are going to line up for the start of the race!

Alas, dear February, a tribute of romantic love seems rather inadequate to express all the desire and emotion I feel for thee.  Just be glad I decided not to write it in iambic pentameter.

Next week, how to tell which of your appliances is considering elopement by using an Emily Dickenson sonnet and a Ouija Board.