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Saturday, March 6, 2010

Top Ten Months

It seems that the big thing with blogs these days (by which I mean since the inception of the form) is top ten lists. This I attribute not to the popularity of David Letterman’s recurring segment, but to the unpopularity of Jay Leno’s… well, any of his segments really. Better one thousand mediocre top ten lists than another insufferable1 headlines segment.

To that end, I offer you O’Keefe's Briefs's first top ten list:

The Top Ten Months of All Time (in order of Topness)

1) May: The perfect Spring Month. The weather is never too cold, most days are warm and balmy. Flowers are blooming. We have the very first Barbecue Holiday of the year: Memorial Day, which is coincidentally also the kick-off of beach season. Cinco de Mayo ushers in Frozen Margarita season, and then there’s May Day for all my Commies. And most importantly, my birthday. IMPORTANT REMINDER: there are only two months left, so get to shopping.

2) October: Ahh, the return of crisp Autumn nights. I love the smell of the air, the sweet tang of decaying leaves. The free candy. And of course, cheap hurricane season rates in the Caribbean.

3) December: Kwahanzaakahmas. I like presents. Giving them is ok, getting them is awesome. Denuding pine forests to decorate our living rooms. The lights, the baubles, December is the best winter month.

4) June: Just about the best of the Summer months that count (explanation to follow). Bloomsday is on the 16th and since it’s a more literary version of St. Pat’s (see March) fewer people celebrate it; which in turn makes it fun and, racially, guilt free.

5) November: With fall in full swing, it’s starting to get just a bit nippy out there. Man, that phrase always makes me think of boobs. Combine my love of boobs with my love of turkey and it’s pretty obvious why November ranks so high on the list.

6) September: This is where the year starts to take a turn for the worse. Summer is over: back to school, bitches! Even after being out of school for lo these many years, I still get a little queasy in September. Labor Day, the lesser of the two Socialist holidays (figures union guys thought this one up: a day celebrating workers on which no one actually works), it marks the end of Barbecue season. Good bye, flame grilled meats. See you in May when things get awesome again!

7) January: What better way to start off a New Year than hung-over in the bed of a total stranger? This is balanced out by the Superbowl or playoffs, if you like and watch Football. January is ultimately a nonentity.

8) February: This short bastard-month you just kind of feel badly for; so badly, in fact that every four years we give it an extra day. Sorry you suck, February, here’s an extra day; try not to make that one suck too. You know it will anyway. It’s also home to the Hallmark holiday, St. Valentine’s Day. A day dedicated to making men in relationships feel inadequate, and everyone who is single just feel lonely and unloved. I mean honestly, there must be something dreadfully wrong with you if you can’t get a date for V-Day. Black people have every right to feel angry that this month is African-American2 History Month. I vote we change it to June. (Juneteenth anyone?)

9) April: T.S. Eliot sure got this one right. April is the cruelest month. Still cold, very rainy. It’s telling that the very first day of the month is dedicated to the worst kind of fuckery. About the only thing going for April is that it’s not March. That and I got to use the word fuckery in a sentence.

10) March: This month flat out sucks. Period. Yes, you get St. Patrick’s Day and March Madness which is all well and good until you realize that St. Pat’s Day in America only reinforces negative stereotypes of the Irish diaspora. We are not all alcoholic, 1890s style boxers. Most of us can handle our liquor- which is more than I can say for the rest of you amateurs who come out and drink until you vomit cheap green beer all over the sidewalk. The weather in March is the worst of the entire year. Is it snow? Is it rain? Nope: ice-cold sleet and lots of it. Great. This month is so bad I considered writing a whole blog just about March3.

So you might have noticed that I seem to have skipped, ignored, or just plain forgot about July and August. These are the summer months, after all, and what isn't great about summer? Theoretically, nothing. I'll give you a moment to puzzle out that double negative.

I neither skipped, ignored, nor forgot about these two (and I use the term loosely) months. I deny their right to exist as such. Well, Don, you might be saying aloud to your computer screen, that just sounds like they are #11 and #12 on your list. No. Because in practice, these months are pretty great, seasonally speaking.

Here is why they don't appear on this list as also-rans, addenda, or apocrypha. They represent the first and second worst kinds of hubris, respectively. Both kinds fuck up the system, and what is a calendar but a system for keeping track of how long we reasonably expect to live?

Hubris you say? System you say? Reasonably you say? I do.

I'll start with the system, so you can see how the hubris fucked it up. It seems that after June, whoever created the first calendar, I believe it was Hammurabi's younger brother Stevedave (whatever it's academic, go google it yourself if you're really that interested.) Anyway, Stevedave got kind of lazy after June, so he was like "OK, I'm decimalizing this biotch, and I just have to name the last four months. Seven, Eight, Nine and Ten. I know! I'll Latin it all up and add -ember on the end because I like fire. Great! Sept-ember, Octo-ember, Nov-ember, and Dec-ember.' Over time, saying Octoember started to piss people off. It just doesn't roll off of the tongue, so it got shortened to the more palatable October that we know and love today.

Enter Julius Caesar. He really had no head for numbers, but he did have a huge ego. So big in fact, that even his best friend stabbed him in the back for his utter douchebaggery. Too late, though. He decided to stick a new month smack in the middle of the calendar so that all of the other months could admire it. And he called it July in honor of himself. Jerkwad.

Most people were able to rationalize the new month this way: It's not really a month, well, not a real month. We'll just take it off, and come back in September. This, not coincidentally, is how summer vacation started. July threw the numeric system off only if you actually counted it. So, the other ten real months lost a few days here and there, but for the most part, people ignored it. Likely because that shit is too petty to worry about while you're on vacation.

Not entirely deserving of my denial of it's right to exist; that is, until you consider what it inspired.

Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus, the lesser gifted scion of the family business, decided that since his adoptive father (and grand uncle) had a month named after him, he too wanted his own month. Very original thinking there, junior. But where to put it in the calendar? After December and before January so as to give everyone another month off, create a winter break, and preserve the relative cohesion of calendar? Nope. He put it right after July. How sweet, BFF together forever. Well, that smooth maneuver pretty much boned whatever lingering hopes Stevedave's numeric system had for any iota of rationality.

Thanks a lot, Caesars. Your salad sucks by the way. Anchovies are bait; you don't eat the bait!

Yeah, so there you have it. I can only hope that I in some way honored all of Stevedave's half-assed work on the calendar.

NOTE: Given the subjective nature of this list, it is possible to argue any or all of the above assertions. Please do. Just know you're wrong.

Thanks kids, see you next time. Also, don't forget about the logo contest. Deadline April 1; details in previous blog.

1 - Interesting syntactical side-note here: in this case the ‘in‘ prefix does not indicate the negation of the word it modifies (think infamous), but rather is used to indicate a greater magnitude. i.e. – causes more suffering. A lot more. And don't even get me started on the Jay Walk! Honestly, without Kevin Eubanks, who else besides Jay will laugh at his jokes? *You may submit answers to this and any other rhetorical questions in the comments section below.
2 - I for one don’t like this term because when someone says African-American, they really mean black. Just ask a Dutch-descended South African or an Egyptian. See? Africa’s a big place, so let’s try to be more specific about our generalizations. I mean, honestly, how are we supposed to get past our racial stereotypes if we can’t be more precise about exactly how different we all are… oh, wait. What was I saying?
3 - Sean argues that unlike May, at least March is an action verb. Huh. Thanks for that.