Hump Day: Putting out a contract hit on the local groundhog

Hump DayHump Day
By Brian Cormier
Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014
Moncton Times & Transcript
Editorial section

This is the time of year when we all become a bit stir crazy. While some of us are wishing the winter away, some are holding on to the season for dear life.

I keep hearing people say, “Oh we only have a storm or two left.” People! It’s February in Canada! It’s going to be snowing until April! Get a grip, give your head a shake and send hate mail to whichever groundhog saw or didn’t see his shadow.

I can never remember if it means we’re getting six more weeks of winter if he does or doesn’t see his shadow. It’s so confusing. Whichever one it is, by the time late February rolls around, those poor groundhogs brave enough to make an appearance in public end up being traumatized by so many frustrated winter-haters giving them the finger, regardless. “But I saw my shadow! Errr, or I didn’t see it? Whatever! I’m a stupid groundhog! Why are you taking your long-term weather forecasts from me?”

With every snowflake that hits the ground for the next month or so, people everywhere will be flipping their lids, grabbing their wallets, digging out whichever credit card has enough room left on it and calling their travel agent. “Get me outta here!” Meanwhile, their spouse will give them a stern look of concern for spending all that money. The icy stare back will rightly be interpreted as pre-homicidal rage, a warning to keep your pie hole shut or you’ll soon find yourself starring in your own obituary featuring the words ‘died unexpectedly.’

Old Man Winter
Old Man Winter still has a few tricks up his sleeve!

“Dear, I think you misunderstood my desire to get out of the snow and onto a beach. You seem to think this is a debate. I can assure you in the strongest terms known to mankind that this isn’t a debate. It’s a statement of fact. We are going down south on a plane. We will get off that plane and we will suction-cup ourselves to a beach for a week. We will drink… a lot. And we will not wear sunscreen. We will burn. For sustenance, we will fry eggs on each other’s sunburned back after we return to the hotel room.”

Then the crazy stare begins. That’s when you know you have a choice. “Either today’s the day I die, or I’m going on vacation for a week. I guess I should pack my bags.” As if there were any real choice in the matter, eh? After all, when a normally winter-hardy Canadian snaps and declares they need a break from the snow, it’s best to listen and not argue. It’s like Satan running around in hell yelling at people to turn on the air conditioning. When you snap, you snap!

Why do we put ourselves through this every year? Just because the days are getting longer doesn’t mean winter’s over, at least just yet. Sure, this winter has hit middle age. There’s no doubt about that. But it still has lots and lots of kick to it.

While some are at their wits’ end at this time of the year, others are having a hard time letting go. Neighbours down the street from me still have their Christmas tree up in the window. Up until a week or so ago, it was still fully decorated and lit. I drove by during the day a couple of days ago and couldn’t tell if it was still decorated, but it was definitely there in their window.

Now, I think it’s fair to say I’m a bit of a freak when it comes to Christmas. The Christmas music starts getting played in the background on my computer in July or August. Just low. Barely audible. More for relaxation than anything else — but it’s still Christmas music. By the time Christmas comes, however, I’m so sick of Silent Night and Jingle Bells that it’s all I can do not to walk up to the nearest mosque or synagogue and ask when the next orientation sessions start.

But I mean, really. If you still have your Christmas tree up in the latter part of February, there’s a bulb that’s burned out in your chandelier. The queen bee’s missing from your hive. Your elevator doesn’t go to the top floor. Your DNA has a typo in it.

I feel like driving by that house with one of my friends who’s snapped and booked a trip down south no matter how much it costs. “Hey, Mary! Want an outlet for all that pent-up winter frustration? Take a look at that house! It’s after Valentine’s Day and they still have their Christmas tree up. Here’s a hammer.” Then I’d let her out of the car and speed away as a tornado reminiscent of the Tasmanian Devil from the Bugs Bunny cartoons spins around that house at an ungodly speed, with siding, glass and Christmas ornaments flying everywhere. Let’s just say the tree won’t be up much longer.

I don’t hate winter by any means, but even I’m looking forward to warmer weather — not only for lower power bills, but for the sake of my poor dog’s paws. If you own a small dog, I’m sure you can sympathize. Little Fifi or Rover goes out to do their business and has to sniff every snowflake in the yard. Then they spin around 500 or 600 times before deciding where to deposit their environmentally friendly gift. Then, because they took so long, their paws get cold and one paw goes up in the air, then two. Then they look at you with those big dark eyes pleading to go back inside.

And they still haven’t done anything yet! Listen, dog, did you really have to spin around like a top and sniff for 15 hours before deciding where to go to the bathroom? You go at the same spot every day within a three-foot radius anyway! Is one foot this way over the other way going to make a big difference?

Old Man Winter is sticking around for a bit, but he’s definitely starting to get on our nerves. Let’s try to stay on his good side, though. He may be getting long in the tooth, but he’s still got a wicked kick left in him yet!

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