Mid-January is a depressing time of year.

Second Opinion by Gazette columnist Jim Holtz, Jan. 21.

The holidays are over and everyone has been forced back to their daily drudgery of work and school.

Store owners eyeball the empty aisles of their emporiums and recount the cash they took in over Christmas, hoping that it will be enough to see them through the next two months and wondering if they should have extended the Boxing Week sale into a Boxing Month sale.

The weather seems to consist of a series of arctic blasts followed by accumulations of ankle deep slush, and everyone knows there is no hope in sight until at least the third week of February when we might get a wave of tropical air pushing through the frigid arctic front.

To make matters worse, the movie and TV moguls take advantage of the fact that we are all storm-stayed, huddled in front of our televisions, and so begin the long string of award programs celebrating celebrity, glamour and glitz.

The Golden Globes are followed by the People’s Choice Awards, the Screen Actors Guild Awards and then finally the Oscars. We are forced to choose between watching the same small flock of grinning glitterati strut across a series of extravagant stages or tuning into reruns of Ice Road Truckers or The Life of the Emperor Penguin.

Of course the moguls are feeling the pinch of January themselves and hope to encourage us to leave the comfort our homes, plow through the snow and drop a few bucks at the local movie palace.

Some rugged individuals love the winter of course. Skiers and snowboarders expect the greatest accumulations of snow at this time of year and can hardly wait to make new tracks as often as they can.

Nerdy adolescents like it too. The cold and snow gives them an excuse to stay indoors playing video games. They learn early on how to fake a realistic cough and make their voices faint and squeaky.

Family Day, Feb. 9, is supposed to help end the winter blahs, though being so early in February it might be just a day when the kids can pitch in to help shovel the driveway.

That leaves Valentine’s Day to look forward to as a means of breaking the monotony of the winter doldrums. It is another consumer-based holiday, of course, created by the wizards of free enterprise. Still, it isn’t a bad idea.

At least it focuses our attention on another person rather than winter’s blight, and a little romance is a pretty good way to begin the process of thawing out.


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