Marching Orders

(originally posted 03/09)

The Hyperion Chronicles
"Take that, Prairie Rat!"

Marching Orders

I have decided that March is the first month of the year.

Now: I am NOT saying that the end of February is the end of the year. No, the year still ends on New Year's Eve, but the new year does not start until March.

Simply put: January and February are not months.

Picture this: The year ends, with the great tumult, stress, overindulgence (and, once in a while, happiness) of the Holidays. You go out and celebrate my birth (New Year's Eve), with a giant party, and some of you (I've heard) even drink, to forget the past year, to hide from the coming one, or simply because you live in Manitoba , and Lord knows you deserve it.

THEN the next day comes, with hangovers and football games, and perhaps more parties, more overindulgence, and likely, more drinking. (Mourning the old year, fearing the new year...the tyrannical rule of Gary Doer ....)

This is the way January goes for awhile, especially now that the college "championship" bowl games are spread out for a week. School hasn't started back up again, work is half a beat slow, and more importantly, TV shows are still in re-runs or on "Hiatus." THEN you have the NFL playoffs. THEN you have Martin Luther King AND Edgar Allen Poe's birthdays, and all the subsequent Dreaming1 that takes place in celebration thereof.

THEN you have the State of the Union, which I just realized was probably an attempt by Benjamin Franklin at a pun. (Think about it.2) And every four years someone gets sworn at (after getting sworn in), so there's that.

THEN there's the Super Bowl, which for some reason is now in February, but who's counting?

And speaking of February, what a joke of a month. First of all, it doesn't even have the decency or honor to grow a pair and take a side on the controversial "30 Days or 31?" debate that plagues all the Month Reunion parties.3 I mean, 28 days? What is that? It's like a little kid dressed up in his dad's suit. And what's up with Leap Year? Has anyone EVER figured out when Leap Year supposedly does or does not happen? There's no rhyme or reason to it. Leap Year reminds me of your friend Rajah, who broke up with that crazy psycho chick that you all hated but pretended to like for Rajah's sake, and then they show up together at your New Year's Eve party.

"Are they together?.....I hadn't heard that they'd....."

You get the idea.

Now March, baby. March is a month. March is something you can sink your teeth into. March is the first month that actually sounds like a real word. January sounds like perfume ("January, by Calvin Klein"), and February sounds like a Brazilian underwear model. March is something you can actually do (not that you wouldn't want to do the Brazilian underwear model, but that's not going to happen).

I like a word that's also a goal.

Back in "Jan-u-ary" everyone makes all these ridiculous resolutions getting in shape and exercising and cutting back on midget porn. (Yet another reason January and February shouldn't count: means those Resolutions NEVER HAPPENED.) If January was called "March" you might actually get something accomplished. Think about it. When you march you're going somewhere. You're exercising. You're organized. You have a PLAN. You can't march without some thought and planning, right? Much better.

THEN there's the crazy holidays. In January all you get is New Year's Day, which most of you spent sleeping off the "Prairie Punch" from the night before. How can it be a holiday when it's in the shadow of something else?

February's no better. Presidents' Day is too PC (you don't even get your own intern), and THEN there's the worst holiday on record: Valentine's Day. If you're not in a relationship the day absolutely sucks, and you pretend how much you don't care. If you are in a relationship the day still often sucks. Girls get their hopes up and are let down worse than when they found out "lite" food was a marketing scam. Guys are frustrated they have to shell out so much and they don't know whether flowers are classic or cliche this year, and God alone help you if the card does not encapsulate her very soul.

Not like March. March has a real man's holiday. Saint Patrick. Why is he important? Nobody knows. Nobody cares. Nobody even pretends to care. Maybe he was a missionary. Maybe he put some MF'n snakes on a MF'n plane. Maybe he invented Lucky Charms. Who knows? All we know is that we drink to his honor.

And wear green. You gotta love a holiday that arbitrarily decides your sartorial outlook for the day (a shade, by the way, that is the #1 color-blind affliction), and declares beat-downs to all who go agin it. 4 That's a holiday. No family worries. No presents, candy, theological arguments or stupid cards. You raise your glass, toast your neighbor, and thank some dude name Barney Stone that you don't live in Winnipeg. (Unless you do live in Winnipeg, in which case you're already drunk, so no harm done.)

Oh, I didn't even bring up February's bizarre "Let's put our meteorological faith in a puffed up rat with big ideas." I mean, what is a ground hog, anyway? Sounds to me more like Italian Sausage. (Which, not for nothin ', but THAT would be a holiday worth celebrating. I might even grant February "Provisional Month" status if they had a holiday dedicated to a delicious meat...hint hint.)

Why are we genuflecting the groundhog? Why are we worshiping the woodchuck? Why are we marvelling the marmot? (I can keep going like this for hours. Not a fan? Okay, just one more.) Why are we praising the prairie dog? As you will hear at any AA meeting in Flin Flon, nothing good ever comes from the prairie.5

Contrast that to March, which satisfies our love for animals with Lions and Lambs bookending the month, staring at each other like Prizefighters on a promotional poster. Sounds vaguely apocalyptic and Biblical. What does it mean? Again, who knows, but I do know that lions are the King and lambs make neat sweaters and go great with mint jelly. Take that, Prairie Rat!

And this doesn't even include March Madness, the single greatest sporting event in the history of Man, with the possible exception of that Mayan soccer game where every movement had to mimic star flight and conform to a stone calendar the size of the Sears Tower.7

And if that wasn't enough, to top it all off, you have the Ides of March. It just means the middle, but you gotta love a day that gets its own cool name, and let's not forget that merely forgetting it can cause your death.8 I think what I'm saying is that if the Year were a high school, March would be the bad boy who played by his own rules. Rock hard principles to go with his rock hard abs. C'mon ladies. You know you want him.

(By contrast, January would have been a hall monitor/band geek, and February would have been that weird kid who wore a spatula for a necklace and had on a tuxedo for five days straight.)

So, that's it, THEN. December is still the end of the year, and March is the beginning. 10 months works better as a round number than 12, anyway. (Although: in my mind, 10 is the very maximum amount of months. I have no compunction about knocking another month out of the rotation. I think we could all live with a little less September in our lives.)

March is the first month of the year, and we're lucky to have it. We'll remember the Ides, wear green and hoist a few, cheer mightily for tiny schools we'd previously never heard of, change Barry White to John Phillip Sousa9 and if we're really lucky, we'll get to see a Lion and a Lamb throw down.

Viva la March, and HAPPY NEW YEAR!

MARCHuary 13, 2009


1 MLK's famous "I have a dream" speech + everything EAP wrote is pretty much a dug-induced dream.

2 You talk to Congress, who represent the different states that make of the Union about the "state" of the "union" between the states in the Union. Brilliant.

3 Also major potential for drama: Equinox vs. Solstice. It can get ugly.

4 That's right. I said "agin it." Deal with it.

5 January doesn't even have an animal, unless you count the Morning Fish.6

6 The "Dawning" of the Age of "Aquarius." Sheesh. Try to keep up, people.

7 Okay, not all these jokes can be winners, people! But since I have you hear, I found out that the are trying to rename Sears Tower Willis Tower. I tried to work a "What you talkin' 'bout Sears?" joke into that paragraph, but it didn't take.

8 Julius Caesar, but you knew that one, right? RIGHT????

9 He is the father of "march" music. And a devil with the ladies. Like me! (Okay. Not me. Like March.)

Prairie Rat would make a great band name...

No comments: