March: The Good, The Bad, and That Purgatorial Feel
This past February had been one lousy month for me. I had to spend $800 for car repairs thanks to a busted alternator and another $200 to patch up my driveway. As usual, the weather has been relentlessly awful. About the only time I got out of the house was when the dog wanted to go for a walk and howl with his canine friends. And often I couldn’t do that because it was raining and occasionally snowing–pardon the bad pun–cats and dogs.
So you would think I would be giddy about the arrival of March. Actually, no.
To me, March has a purgatorial feel. Even though spring begins on March 20, the winter weather is still lingering, and most of the flowers won’t pop out of the ground for another month. Daylight savings time comes back next week, which means the days are pitch dark for several more weeks when I go to work. Ash Wednesday and sometimes Good Friday occurs in March, which means I, as a Catholic, have to abstain eating snacks and big meals for a day. Plus, I can’t eat meat on Fridays, and I have to give up something for Lent.
March does has it charms. It is the time for St. Patrick’s Day, which means I can celebrate my Irish heritage by wearing green, listening to Celtic tunes and U2’s greatest hits, and drinking Shamrock Shakes (I prefer the taste of Shamrock Shakes to green beer) at McDonalds. Even better, it is the perfect time to write those great Irish-flavored poems known as limericks. I believe the limerick is a seriously underappreciated form of poetry, maybe because it appeals to people like me who have a scatological sense of humor rather than the pompous Ivy League professors. If someday I have the wild and crazy notion of becoming a poet, I’d be a limerick bard rather than trying to outdo Percy Bysshe Shelley or even James Whitcomb Riley (the famed “Hoosier Poet” who wrote overly sentimental verses about rural Indiana).
March is also time for the NCAA basketball tournament. Part of the fun of this tournament is seeing which directional school and mid-major (i.e., a school from an unheralded conference like the Missouri Valley and the Ohio Valley) will knock off the perennial powers like Kansas, Kentucky, Duke, North Carolina, and Michigan State. I grinned from ear to ear last year watching the Maryland-Baltimore County Retrievers cavalierly demolish the haughty Virginia Cavaliers. And pretty much like any other college hoops fan, I was overjoyed watching the Loyola-Chicago Ramblers make the Final Four for the first time since 1963. The NCAA tournament proves that there are no such things as sure things in athletics and that any obscure school can be the biggest underdog to triumph since Rocky Balboa or even when David threw that slingshot at Goliath.
T. S. Eliot once wrote April is the cruelest of months. March can be cruel, too, because even though it is the month where the worst part of winter is not yet over, the best part of spring is still sometime in the future. But at least it is not February, and I can march over that.
Joe’s Maybe Memorable Quote of the Day
March comes in like a lion or a lamb, and February goes into the history books.