What's the Worst Month, and Why Is It November?


November is a weird one, folks. I used to think August was the worst month, but after reviewing recent data that has surfaced from a pile of Smarties wrappers on my desk, I think I could be wrong.

October is one big, avoidant costume party backed by organ music. In October, people fill car trunks with mini Snickers and park outside schools, which sounds suspicious and illegal when I type it out, but is actually encouraged societal behavior. October is silly bliss. And how do we come down? How do we make the graceful transition to a new calendar page?

Elections. My God, America kicks off the next moon orbit with elections, painful rituals that are, unfortunately, central to democracy. We start November by name-calling, arguing, unlocking our basest instincts in order to win at all costs. I could go on, but I will not focus on election results. The editors asked me not to write about elections in a plea for news variety, the way a potluck host politely says, "Um, we actually already have lots of chips."

That's fine, though, because November only gets more fraught. Have you been to a youth sporting event lately? It's like "Rocky IV" out there, and I'm talking about the parents. People are in terrible moods. They're putting on those big straw hats and starting fights with children and referees, drunk on shaky knowledge of "offsides."

Mostly, I attribute grumpiness to the end of daylight saving time. Full sun now streams through both our blackout curtains and closed eyelids, followed by the sky turning black approximately ten minutes later. This circadian disaster leads right into Veterans Day, and yes, I know Veterans Day falls on Nov. 11 for a reason. Still, I don't believe our veterans deserve a cat making muffins on their heads at 3 a.m. because Mr. Leopold Meowmers thinks it's time for breakfast.

It will take weeks, maybe months, for us to heal. But we don't have that kind of time. Because, after all this discord, we're supposed to end November thankfully? In lockstep harmony celebrating Thanksgiving? Reciting entries from gratitude journals while encircling a woefully freezer-burned unit of poultry no one actually likes? A turkey that, haha, costs 28% more than last year? We're supposed to invite the furry green guy to dinner and be all "Fah Who Foraze, Dah Who Doraze" after he called someone a... what was it... a "worn out old donkey"?


This is sounding ranty, so I want to inject some positive highlights for November. Time to consult the Old Farmer's Almanac, that compendium of wholesome trivia.

OK, Nov. 16 is National Button Day. That's promising, right? That's probably a really big deal for, you know, buttons and those who love them. According to terrible colonial folklore, November is also an ideal time to set out beaver traps and chop wood. So, we have that going for us. Beavers. Wood.

Maybe November is a quiz to pass. A challenge. Can we dig deep and be decent to each other after withstanding so many yard signs and oversized mailers? Why are the mailers so big? Can we attend T-ball without being charged with disorderly conduct? Can we donate food, check on a neighbor, offer decorative buttons to someone who might appreciate them more? Can we walk this strange bridge under the limp Macy's parade balloons, through the gentle hug of the National Dog Show, arriving intact at another seasonal playland of candy and glitter? Ask me again at 3 a.m. when my eyes pop open.


Stephanie Hayes is a columnist at the Tampa Bay Times in Florida. Follow her at @stephhayes on Twitter or @stephrhayes on Instagram.

Copyright 2022 Creators Syndicate Inc.



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