If you were born in January or you fell in love in January or you got married in January or you have a child who was born or fell in love or got married in January, then I’m fine with you liking or even loving the month of January. But I hope everyone else will join me in boycotting the last two days of this month and all 31 days of every future January from this point forward. That’s because I hate January.

And so should you.

Does anything good happen in January? The Super Bowl used to happen in January, but since 2004 it’s happened in February. See, the Super Bowl is smart. It’s always known that January is a miserable month, and it finally got fed up and said, “Screw this. I’m moving.” Good call, SB. Besides, did any of you readers ever have fun watching the Super Bowl when it was in January? I mean real fun, not “I ordered a pizza and a two-liter of Sprite with a couple of friends for just under $20” fun. I’m talking about winning $15,000 off a shady bet that eventually got someone killed but who cares because you won $15,000! That’s real fun. That kind of fun can’t happen in January.

What else happens in January? New Year’s Day. Nothing but college football, black-eyed peas, and some resolutions you’re already planning to break by the end of the month. January 1 is always the first day of a year that could turn out to be the best year of your life. But first you have to get through January. Therein lies the rub.

MLKWe also observe Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday each year on the third Monday in January, and since it’s a federal holiday, we get the day off from work. (Well, everyone except racists — they work in spite of the holiday. Knock yourselves out, hatemongers!) MLK was a great man, and he made huge strides for the advancement of black Americans, for basic human rights, and for this country. So shouldn’t we honor his birthday in a better month than January? I don’t care if his birthday is actually in January — celebrate it in February! That’s Black History Month, after all. Or celebrate it in April. I love April. That’s when … oh right, I forgot about … you know what, never mind about celebrating his birthday in April. Let’s just leave it in January. It’ll be the one positive part of the month.

How’s my January going? Well, thank you for asking. Currently I’m living in an apartment in Chicago where the temperature is always hovering around 76 degrees, even at 2:30 in the morning. I can’t lower the temperature, and neither can any other tenant in his or her own apartment. We’re supposed to be grateful for whatever the boiler room gives us. Do not question the wisdom of the boiler.

And when, for instance, the outside temperature climbed to 61 degrees on Sunday, January 6, which was obviously unusual for a city like Chicago in the dead of winter, we all had to wait until Monday morning for the maintenance crew to come to work and turn the boiler off. Sure, it was 85 degrees in my apartment by midnight that Sunday, but wasn’t it kind of fun to be sleeping in nothing but my boxers, on top of my sheets, with all my windows open and two fans set on “high” … in early January?

Okay, I guess it was sort of— Wait! No! It wasn’t fun! Stop confusing me, self-directed rhetorical questions and italicized words! It was miserable! And even when it’s barely above zero outside, I still have to open my windows to create a draft that’ll last just long enough to cool off the apartment before I close them again.

But you’re probably experiencing some of these same winter heating problems yourself, aren’t you? And you’ve only read this far because you’re hoping there’ll be an MP3 reward at the end of all this bitching and moaning, right?

Here it is: Bill Withers’s “Wintertime,” from his 1977 album Menagerie.

Wintertime

But promise me that if you go to one of those fancy town hall meetings this year and a presidential candidate is rambling on and on about “change” in America, you’ll stand up and say, “Mr. or Mrs. Candidate, I’d like to change our calendar so that it skips directly from December to February, because isn’t an American calendar with 12 months just plain greedy when people in Darfur only get 7?”

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About the Author

Robert Cass

Robert Cass lives in Chicago. For Popdose he's written under the Sugar Water, Bootleg City, and Box Office Flashback banners, and in 2013 he spearheaded 'Face Time, a collaboration with Jeff Giles and Mike Heyliger.

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