Columns » Bob Lancaster

Abolish it!

No more Januaries!


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Abolish it

As a yute, I fought valiantly and pretty much alone for the abolition of January, but the rascal has worn me down here in the twilight and the campaign has suffered as a result. No one has shown interest in taking up the torch. I thought Ron Paul might, or Ross Perot. Huckabee might've, if there'd been anything in it for him. Just an extra hogshead of Velveeta. But no.

Too bad, because it really is a dismal month with no excuse for taking up calendar space that April or October could put to good use. It's the month in which most of history's deplorable and demoralizing events either occurred or were plotted, the month in which the seeds of our greatest outrages and disasters were sown.

In the past I've enumerated hundreds of those events, and I won't rehash them now. I've tried to forget them frankly — and the accompanying roster of all the blackguards and scoundrels, from Xerxes to Roger Ailes, who were born in January under baleful signs, or who did their most dastardly scheming then. No going back over that frozen ground today, but I have recently added a few items to my old brief against January, and thought I'd pass them along.

• Dr. John Brinkley hit upon the idea of “goat gland” surgery — replacing spent Rotarians' nutmeats with fresh-cut caprine emasculi — one January in his native Texas while watching a billy and a nanny mate. He eventually performed the operation on hundreds of men, all morons, all doomed to disappointment, the majority of them at his Arkansas clinic in what is now a picturesque lakeside monastery at East End, south of Little Rock.

• The tobacco-smoke enema as a cholera treatment — and less successfully to resuscitate drowning victims — has been traced to demonstrations by American Indian witch-doctors in January, 1745. Witch-doctors indeed: this was one of the few medical-practice staples of the ensuing era that didn't actually kill more patients than it didn't cure.

• The first midnight cow-pasture livestock organ harvest officially attributed by the Air Force to space-alien medical experimenters occurred in January, 1978, near the Devils Tower in Wyoming.

• Parrot alcoholism was first clinically diagnosed in January, 1947, in a macaw named Macomber that was said to have once belonged to Ernest Hemingway.

• Creation Science was conceived and dedicated in a January soon after the Civil War, originating as a college fraternity prank but then escaping into the influential sector when Gen. N.B. Forrest was named its grand wizard. Before he took over, Darwinists were merely ridiculed; but the general was of a disposition to have them whipped. To this day they aren't allowed to hold forth in Forrest City.

• Carry Nation axed her first saloon in January. Not in the ethnic dialectical sense either.

• It was in January that someone told Dolly Parton, as a joke, that she could rilly sang.

• Auden's elegy to Yeats (“the day of his death was a dark cold day”) was to an extent a mood piece about January.

• The Mongol Horde grew to a size to officially qualify as a horde in January 1203. Scholars dispute the exact number required to make a medieval horde, but it was certainly more than 1.6 million, the standard Fox News estimate of the modern-day Tea Bagger crowd.

• Fred Nietzsche wrote “Ecce Homo,” which I've heard is a gay manifesto, in January of the same year that Jack the Ripper did his best work and Van Gogh cut off his ear.

• The prophet Jonah was swallowed by the big fish in January, and it didn't spit him up until sometime around Valentine's Day.

• It was only in January — and only because it kept him warm — that Howard Cosell would wear the funniest-looking of his hairpieces.

• Madonna and Dennis Rodman first got together in January.

• It was in January that Herbert Tareyton and his pal Philip Morris patented their notion of shredding tobacco leaves, packing the cuttings into rolled paper, igniting the thing, and sucking the resulting smoke into their lungs for the pleasure of the experience and as a way of shortening their lives and ensuring themselves a gruesome death. A man named Skoal took the shredding process a step further, also in January.

• Fat Boy first heard the alluring whisper of recreational OxyContin in January.

• The expulsion from Eden occurred in January, a travesty that surely would've been reversed and remanded if Adam and Eve had had the spunk to appeal.

• It was during the particularly harsh January of 1803 that the people of Haiti made that pact with the Devil that caused the great earthquake of January 2010.

• Tiger Woods signed up for sex-addiction therapy in Mississippi this very January. To answer an Arkansas Times blogger's question, yes, there's more to this than just having his penis cut off. The Mississippi plan looks to strike at the root of the problem, so to speak, with rigorous drills from discredited abstinence-only sex-education brochures and electric-shock aversion techniques developed by Dr. Nick Riviera. There's more to the plan, of course, but privacy concerns prohibit disclosing additional details.


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