Well, dear Apokalips readers, its that time of year again. Spring bears down upon us as the sun has finally broken free of its frozen winter cloud-shell. Birds are humming. The homeless openly chirp nonsense into the wind. Much to the delight of Frat dudes, 60 year-old tenured Economics professors, and other assorted bros, women on college campuses across the land are adding the following internal monologue to their morning ritual:
What’s the temperature outside?... 55?... Hmm, is it sunny?.. Yes… Then, it’s skirt weather.
But it only takes about a week of April to realize that April and May are two months of pollen and purgatory. Simply two months of moderate doses of sun and rain until Memorial Day trumpets in the romantic and glorious Summer. And why do we love Summer so much? Because June, July, and August naturally fit the bro-mold with their tan-friendly weather, copious amounts of lime flavored beer, and hurricane-powered white caps generating overhead that isn’t anything less than “totally righteous.”
But all this philosophizing and day-dreaming of the Summer to come really has got me thinking about one thing: what about March? Fact, March’s weather sucks. Jammed-in at the tail end of winter and as a prologue to Spring, March is a hodgepodge of snow and slush and rain and sun and cold and warm. I’ve never personally been a fan of the trick the cold-hearted wench Mother Nature plays mid-March when she makes it 60 degrees and sunny on Monday, then has it snow six inches on Wednesday. Looking at weather alone, it’s perfectly understandable why March tends to be easily forgotten. However, my recent wayward thoughts have unearthed a reality that is far different than this misconception. In truth, March is not easily forgotten because not it’s a terribly cold and boring month, but because we were simply blacked-out the entire time. As the time honored saying goes, the month of March comes in like a barrage of St. Patrick’s Day-related bar crawls and out like a Northern Iowa upset over Kansas: A fortnight of drunken joy, rage, and debauchery followed by two fleeting weeks at the end of which you are awoken with your heart racing out of your chest; penniless; delirious; grimacing at foggy memories; and aching for them to never happen again. [Because of this, the second half of the aforementioned (and embarrassingly self-reflective) saying is also interchangeable with “And out like a honeymoon with Lady Gaga.”] When it comes to the bros of the months, June and July and August get all the accolades and glory, but March is the blue-collar worker screaming, “Bring your lunch pales, boys. It’s time for drinking.” March is the perennial, though valuable, underdog of the category and America loves its underdogs, just ask Sylvester Stallone’s Academy Award.
Oh March, how I love thee, let me count the ways. There’s Spring Break, the annual salmon run of the rich, the poor, and the slutty to all points South where the light beer flows like water and the water doesn’t flow at all, because its contaminated and undrinkable. One day, in years past, the smartest man in the world sat in the MTV board room and derived the following equation:
Beach + Beer + Cast of Bio Dome Judging a Wet T-shirt Contest = Greatest Television Show Ever
In the following years, MTV slowly weaned itself off the Spring Break monopoly and entered into the artistic world of documentaries chronicling the lives of pregnant teenagers (see Real Life: I’m a Pregnant Teenager) and the criminally insane (see: Real World). And why do I feel such a special kinship to this show? For me, MTV’s Spring Break was entertaining television that boosted extraordinarily lofty expectations for college life that were never even closely fulfilled. And also, I actually spent most of my Spring Breaks playing NFL Blitz in my parent’s basement, and it is upon these fading televised memories which I base: 1) Spring Break is awesome 2) All my sweet stories about chilling with Pauly Shore. Let’s move on…
Having very few ties to the Irish community growing up, St. Patty’s day was always an intimidating celebration of the unknown. At least, that is until I realized the totality of Irish culture is drinking heavily, singing songs, and eating terrible food. Like tailgating and adult jokes implanted in cartoons, St. Patty’s Day I guess is just one of those certain things you don’t necessarily realize the value of when you’re younger. Once I realized March 17th doesn’t mean just Irish potatoes and wearing green, but is instead an excuse to do a bar crawl on the 17th, one the weekend before, and, of course, the mandatory warm-up bar crawl on the first weekend of the month, I tended to warm-up to the idea. Sure it’s a lot of drinking, and it guarantees you are hungover for the entire first half of the month. But remember what we are dealing with here. This is done in celebration and in appreciation of a great, magical culture steeped in tradition, hard work, and a dedication to greatness. The amount we drink on these days is only a fraction of what our Irish forefathers had to do day in and day out as noble citizens of the motherland. Every sip of Guinness we take and every sip of Jameson that causes us to vomit a little in our mouths is a respectful homage to a great heritage, a great legacy, and a great people who helped build our great country. Now, who wants to drink some traditional Irish Carbombs?
And of course we can’t forget about March Madness. Once the clock turns on St. Patty’s Day and people rise like champions to take “National Drive Drunk to Work Day” head-on, March Madness season is upon us. My friends, March Madness season is a season of pain, a season of joy, a season of feigning basketball intelligence, a season of making-up entire conversations based on marginal truth, a season to drink heavily over and over again, a season to scream five syllable Eastern European names at the top of your lungs, a season to skip work in order to watch 8 straight hours of basketball, and, most importantly, a season of hope for the blissfully retarded:
Guy #1: Dude, my bracket is sick, I sooooo called that Ohio over Georgetown game.
Guy#2: Oh nice man. So I guess you got the Northern Iowa game, too?
Guy #1: No
Guy #2: Butler over Syracuse? Xavier over Pitt?
Guy #1: No. No.
Guy #2: Ok then, not many people had those. Who’s in your Final Four?
Guy #1: Villanova, Kansas, Syracuse, Wofford
Guy #2: Wofford? Dude, c’mon.
Guy #1: Give me a break, man. I’m not pretending I’m a basketball genius.
Guy #2: Well, actually you were, when you were bragging about the random upset you blindly picked as if you knew it was going to happen. But, I have to say that it is at least an improvement over the time you confused Samford with Stanford and had the Bulldogs winning the National Championship. [This exact conversation is my biggest pet peeve of the month]
Now this intense marathon of collegiate basketball can be a tough thing to take on considering you are simultaneous waging war on your St. Patty’s Day hangover. However, mastering March Madness is fairly easy and manageable in four simple steps: 1) Locate a bar with good beer specials 2) Set up camp in the “good booth” 3) Cheer for the school you never heard of 4) And if anyone asks you any questions about the game say the following:
If you’ve heard of the school: “They need to set the pace and establish their inside game.”
If you haven’t: “If they shoot the three they can beat anyone.”
And there we have it, a hastily written elegy to the rarely beloved and oft forgotten, March. About a half a month too late to celebrate March 2010 and eleven and a half too early to pump us up for March 2011. I’d like to think that March wouldn’t like to have it any other way. But of course, that would be absolutely insane, because, if you knew March as well as I do, you would know March has a massive self-confidence probably. Bide your time, March. Bide your time. Remember, global warming is your friend. Sooner rather than later you’ll have all the tan-friendly weather you want and more lime-flavored light beer than you know what to do with. It is then you’ll leave all those summer suckers in the dust.