The Trouble with January

I have always felt bad for January. It’s the king of all redheaded step children. Surrounded by the dazzling December and the frustrated king frog that is February. All January ever did was come at a bad time of year. I determine to enjoy January this year, but January makes it hard.

Before January was even a month, it was disrespected. Native Americans called it the Wolf Month because it was the month hungry wolves howled outside of villages. January wasn’t even a month in Ancient Rome, being originally lumped into the winter which, as the Romans saw it, deserved no month. It was simply a cold shitty time of year that was better behind them than ahead or present. The year started at March, which is a calendarial idea I think we could all get on board with. When King Pompilius came along and added January, Romans could at least name their enemy.

Modern people don’t help the case for loving January. It’s known as Dry January, which I guess is the month for people to detox after the overindulgence of the holiday season. Or the previous 11 months. It’s also been labelled Veganuary, which is exactly what you think it is, but given the choice between going vegan for 31 days or quitting drinking for 31 days, I’d rather be dead. My search goes on.

My hopes were raised, if not a bit surprised at the naughtiness of January 2 being national Creampuff Day, but then I reread it and realized it was just about pastries. January 5 is National Whipped Cream Day. January is the month of all things cold. It’s National Soup Month and National Hot Tea Month. It’s National Oatmeal Month. These realities endear me to January a bit, as I love soup and oatmeal and have long advocated for days in their honor. Tea can go back to England. There’s a string of good holidays later in the month. January 19 is National Popcorn Day, January 22 is National Hot Sauce Day, while the 23rd is National Pie Day and the 24th is National Peanut Butter Day. I foresee January 25being National Go-On-Cholesterol-Medication Day.

St. Knut’s Day comes in the Scandinavian countries on January 13. On this day, St Knut (A Danish duke) was assassinated, which led to civil war. In Finland this day is observed by men who dress up as goats and visit homes demanding food and booze leftover from the holidays. If they don’t get what they want, they will commit evil deeds. As if dressing as goats and getting drunk doesn’t suggest evil enough. It’s said that St. Thomas brings in Christmas and St. Knut [and his goat men] take it away. And as we all know, nothing marks the end of Christmas like goat men. In Sweden St. Knut’s Day marks the end of the holiday season. Swedes take their Christmas tree outside and dance around it.

In America, and some parts of the south, January 22 is National Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day. On this day, one is supposed to listen with intent to the meows, mews, trills, and squawks of their curious furry little buddies and answer the questions they have been trying to convey for eons. These might include: why don’t you lick your asshole? I’ve been demonstrating the technique for you for years. Why don’t you sing the door opening song? Don’t you know it’s bad luck for us to go through a door without the song? This is why I keep coming back in and out. It’s so frustrating.

If I feel embarrassed by any of the cat’s questions, I’ll just drown the humiliation on January 31. AKA Brandy Alexander Day. If that doesn’t help, I’ll just worry about it in February.

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