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Let’s Get This Over With

by Big Daddy Graham

January sucks.

If my mother was alive she would slap me upside the head for using that word. So I wanted to get that out of the way and in honor of my mom I promise I will not use that word again for the rest of this article. Unfortunately with my limited vocabulary, I couldn’t think of another word that sums up my bitter hatred for the month of January.

Every other month of the year—except maybe February—has something going for it. March and April signify the beginning of spring and let’s face it; March and April shine better simply because they’re not January or February. Back when I was an up-and-coming stand-up comic, I sometimes secretly took a little glee out of the fact that the act on before me was bombing because it would make me appear funnier than I actually was when I hit the stage after him.

May has Memorial Day Weekend—the unofficial, but official start of the summer— my birthday, and maybe a trip to Great Adventure. June, July and August? No school!

September brings us the beginning of football. October gives us Halloween and November stuffs us with Thanksgiving and we all know what December means: the start of cursing people out in mall parking lots.

So I thought I would write about January in a contrary fashion. Let’s put the month of January under a microscope and let’s see if there’s anything actually groovy about the first month.

And here’s what I came up with.

NFL Playoffs
By far, this is No. 1 for me. Football is a terrific television sport to begin with but the “one and done” aspect of the playoffs is suspenseful and nail biting. Add one key horrible referee call and let the bitching begin. I swear we complain about those horrible yellow flags more than we praise great plays. The NFL is really going to have a problem on its hands in the future if they don’t straighten out this penalty mess.
And you thought people liked to gamble on football before? Now that you can place a wager right on your phone, everything has changed. Wait and see, your Grandma Marie will be throwing cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon at the TV if her team doesn’t cover.

Returning Stuff
I happen to believe I am an expert in returning stuff, so let me give you a little tip. Don’t return stuff in that week between Christmas and New Year’s. The lines are long and the clerks are in a bad mood and they just might hassle you more over the fact that the dress you are returning has a meatball stain on it. (And that’s because you planned all along on wearing that dress at your sister-in-law’s party once before you returned it.)

So relax and don’t return anything until the kids go back to school. There’s virtually no lines at all and the pimply faced kid behind the counter will let you return that 50 gallon trash can that you used to put a keg in on your deck for your New Year’s Eve party with no questions asked.

Going to the Gym that One Time
First of all you have to be really careful who you’re giving that gym membership to. If you have a wife who is in terrific shape because she’s already a member of a gym, then you can certainly buy her another year’s worth. Or new workout clothes or sneaks. But if your hubby or wife has packed on a few pounds this year, don’t even think about getting them a gym membership. It ruins their holiday with all those cookies around. And you can forget getting any action if you catch my drift.

I knew a husband who really thought he was doing something nice when he got his wife six workouts with a personal trainer and she hasn’t talked to him since. And that was six years ago!

In the end, most of us use that membership once or twice, before we get screamed at by one of those loudmouth spinning instructors and never return again. But you can bet your bottom dollar those bills will keep coming.

I can’t believe anyone ever thought the socially important and very cool Martin Luther King Jr. didn’t deserve a holiday.

College Bowl Games
I’m not a huge college football fan, but the bowl games in January are usually tight and fun matchups. When else can you tune in to the likes of the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl? (Yeah, there is such a thing.)

The Days Start Getting Longer
Granted, not that much, but it’s a start. By the end of this dreary God-forsaken month, the daylight stretches out 33 minutes longer. Hey, we’ll take it!

Resolutions Pools
I know a Runnemede family that gathers every New Year’s Eve. The Duffys. There’s eight of them. (Geez, that’s a surprise.) They each write their name and resolution on a dry erase board they put up on their enclosed porch. They each throw in a $20 bill and whoever goes the longest without breaking their resolution picks up $160. They each utilize a team of spies made up of cousins, friends and employees to gather intel. I know for a fact that old man Elmer Duffy once told his trash man to check to see if any of his wife’s sworn off Goldenberg Peanut Chew wrappers were in the trash.

No Dallas Cowboy Games
The deadline for this article was in late December. The Eagles were set to play the Giants on the 29th. So I am putting it in writing that the Birds will win! Therefore, there will be no Jerry Jones sightings in January. Lasso that! You bums!

In the December issue I had asked readers to send me a Christmas card and the response was overwhelming. The official tally came to 417, many of them with handwritten words of encouragement. Thank you all so much, I am truly grateful. I would love to see all of you on Saturday February 15 when Joe Conklin and I bring Two Funny Philly Guys back to Pitman’s Broadway Theatre. It will be my first comedy show in my wheelchair so I’ll need all the support I can get.

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Published (and copyrighted) in South Jersey Magazine, Volume 16, Issue 10 (January 2020).

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