Tuesday, January 25, 2005

The late January blues

Both the BBC NEWS and MSNBC report that a British psychologist who has come up with a formula for determining the "most depressing day of the year." (This became a very popular story on local news stations around the country last night.) Cliff Arnalls, of Carniff University in England, has determined that a day in late January is long enough after Christmas and New Year's for the holiday spirit, social strokes and heartiest of New Year's resolutions to have worn off and faded away. Post-holiday debts have by now stuffed the mailbox, and a sense of failure to change has set in. Plus, summer and sunny days are a long way off. January's darkness and dreary weather compound the problem. And so, when it comes to the nadir of good feelings, these factors are plugged into Mr. Arnall's equation, and the answer is: January 24th.

Plus, this year the 24th falls on a Monday, and some consider January to be the Monday of the calendar year, so it's like a quadruple whammy.

Plus, it was the first Monday after Bush's second get-down-to-business-i.e.-the-dirtywork-of-government innaugural - meaning this son-of-Frankenstein prez and his churlish, childish Congress are coming back to life. Yes, the rabid, roughshod Republican Repo Men are on the hunt again, foaming at their collective mouth, to turn our beloved government into a bill of military goods, regressive morality and not much more. Bush and company would like nothing more than to turn the "shining city on a hill" into a camouflaged cash register for their cronies.

AND, by jimbo, it was the fateful day that a group of scientists decided to announce the ominous results of their most recent assessment of the BIG G.W. (YES, Georgie Girl, that would be GLOBAL WARMING), declaring now that in no uncertain terms things are not just Dangerous with a capital D, they are already downright DIRE.

Oh boy.

There are some rather well-known remedies to help alleviate the stress and strain of this darkly fated time: get plenty of exercise and rest; plan a vacation or retreat; watch the telly (something light that deals with friends, coffee and/or home improvement - as opposed to world "improvement"); laugh with your sane and not so sane friends; read up on mood disorders and depression - YES, share the feeling - misery LOVES company! Just know that millions of others out there in the northern hemisphere are sharing your gloom, too!

Some are suggesting that perhaps it would be good to make a Monday in late January a national (or even hemispherical) holiday. Maybe call it "Holiday to Counteract the Most Depressing Day Day"... or something.

And perhaps it might be nice for Mr. Arnalls to come up with a formula to deterimine the happiest or at least least gloomy day of the year.

In the meantime, let's keep in mind that just because we got past yesterday doesn't mean we're out of these dark late January woods just yet. This can be more than a single day. It can be a week, a season, a phase we're going through. Let's just hope it doesn't last fmy... four more years.

Best to shake these late January blues with the Valentine's reds - a better red than the "red state" of mind. Here's to a bigger R than the Repo Rups can muster. Here's to one of our genuine saving graces - Romance. Now at least there's something to look forward to - the warm internal and oh so intimate glow of mid-February.


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