January Bites

I will defend to the death my right to hate January for no other reason except that I do. But, out of respect for you readers, I’ll provide some actual linkage, maybe some statistics, and a whole lot of incontrovertible proof that January is a bad, terrible, horrible, no-good time to be alive.

1. The Dearth of Good TV Programs

At least during the summer hiatus, networks get creative with marathons and specials (far too many of which abuse the words “hot” and “sizzling,” but I digress). The winter break from quality programming is infinitely worse because, while December fills up with holiday specials, January’s time slots fall prey to post-holiday laze and ennui. GLEE’s not even coming back until February 6! Come on, Fox, get it together.

2. The Drought of Quality Movies

Anything that expects to get an Oscar gets released sometime in the fall, possibly in late November/early December (see Black Swan). And blockbusters like Lord of the Rings often get scheduled for release within a week of Christmas. But what studio exec. looks at her January calendar and thinks, “Hmm, this cold, blustery month when people are short on money and the Oscars are only a few weeks away seems like the perfect time to release a blockbuster/tearjerker/arthouse film!” None, ever.

And that’s why we’re stuck with all these terrible films this month:

Country Strong aka “Gwyneth Paltrow tries a country accent and some cowboy boots and a wee drank of alcoholism on for size.”

From Prada to Nada aka “A rip off of Sense and Sensibility with some materialism thrown in.”

The Dilemma aka “A romantic comedy I want to like because I adore Winona Ryder but Ron Howard’s track record with comedy [How the Grinch Stole Christmas] is spotty.”

The Season of the Witch aka “Again, want to like because Ron Perlman and the Middle Ages and witches all rock my socks, but Nicolas Cage? Really?? He’s the prime example of a mediocre dude, in terms of both looks and talent, the female equivalent of whom would never have become famous.”

3. The Most Depressing Day of the Year – Scientifically Established!!

The New York Times Health section confirms that January and February are the worst months for people with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). And by the use of some mystical formula, a U.K. psychologist “who specializes in seasonal disorders” calculated that January 24 really is the nadir of despair for the Western populace.

Look, science: [W + (D-d)] x TQ / M x NA

Anyway, I don’t need a psychologist or a journalist to tell me January is a bad month to have depression, seasonal or otherwise. I’ve been observing my own declining mood for at least 10 Januaries now, and I’m preparing by stocking up on Reese’s and gin and laundered bathrobes.

4. The Utter Lack of Any Good Holidays

I mean no disrespect to Martin Luther King, Jr. and of course it’s wonderful to get a day off (if you’re in school, or work for the government, or have a nice employer, I mean), but it’s more of a day for solemn remembrance than a day for whooping it up and celebrating.

And no, New Year’s Day does not count as a holiday, in any capacity. It is the day when hangovers are nursed, Plan B is bought (ask me how I know!), and disgusting ham is eaten, while everyone stares dolefully across the table and tries to think of a resolution that won’t be too hard to keep. Hell, this year New Year’s Day even coincided with Saturday, so most people were gypped out of a free vacation day.

What January does have, in copious amounts, is weird, boring, depressing holidays. For example, did you know this is National Soup Month and Oatmeal Month? Charming. Someone wake me up when it’s National Short Ribs Month. Also, it’s National Bath Safety Month, so all you crazy kids who like to pretend the bathtub is a swimming pool: cut that shit out.

Perhaps worst of all, January 3 is Humiliation Day. Don’t worry, assures me it’s not what it sounds like:

Humiliation Day is not a day to humiliate someone. Rather, it should be viewed as a time to recognize the negativity of humiliating someone or a group of people.

5. The Disgusting, Evil Weather

January’s dark, cold, and it kicks off what, for many parts of the world anyway, is the snowiest, iciest, windiest, sleetiest time of the year. Blech.

In addition to the unpleasantness of inclement weather, there’s the added cost of heating homes (or you can just freeze!) and the safety issues and stress associated with driving on slick, icy roads in a city where officials deem it appropriate to never use salt or plow any roads but the freeway (again, ask me how I know).

Does anyone hate January? If not, please explain why, in 100 words or less, and provide supporting data, preferably peer-reviewed articles. Kidding! But seriously, feel free to commiserate or defend the month in the comments, as you see fit.

8 replies on “January Bites”

I love me some cold weather. Not being OUT in the cold weather, but coming in from it. I agree, too, it’s a nice month following December’s cray-cray. As long as it’s not dirty AND cold out (as in no snow, but sloppy wet stuff and biting wind).
Also, I’m in Palm Beach for two weeks, so I guess I’m thinking January ain’t so effin’ bad weather wise.
(plus my depression isn’t seasonal… uh, so, bonus?)

Palm Springs?!? I’m fighting off an intense envy of you right now. 5 of my last 6 winters have been spent in the Chicago area or Colorado. Colorado’s not as bad as Chicago, but at least in Chicago people are prepared for bad weather, not to mention they just seem like better drivers, overall.

And about SAD–I’m finding out, just from talking to friends, acquaintances and blog readers, that it varies widely from person to person. For me, I’ve never been diagnosed with depression nor have I ever had a major depressive episode, but winter really gets me down. Then there are people who are completed unaffected by winter, or even have the reverse problem and find summer depressing. And lastly, there are those who have depression sporadically or year-round, but it seems to be worsened by winter. So that seems to be all over the board.

I hadn’t thought about it that way. One of my worse-r qualities is that I thrive in stressed out, busy environments. So great for coping, but not so great for just settling down and enjoying a calmer stretch–perhaps why January bugs me so much.

I’m having the same issue with replying to comments, at least when I try to do it from the main page. Ophelia’s on it, so hopefully that won’t be a problem for too much longer!

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