February has seldom been my favorite month of the year. Outside of the Super Bowl, there are not a lot of high points for me.
We’re at the back end of the winter months — I am not a fan of the cold — and springtime can’t get here soon enough. And then there’s Valentine’s Day.
Don’t misunderstand me. I am not down on the idea behind Valentine’s Day; it’s just that with it brings expectations I am no good at matching.
I’ve probably already written this far too many times in this space, but I have never been a grand-gesture, romantic-type guy. Thankfully, my wife is budget-conscious and doesn’t want me spending gobs of money on Valentine gifts. She’s not a big fan of chocolate (that actually would be me) and doesn’t want to clutter the house with items like an “I (heart) you” coffee mug.
But I could do better. She still hasn’t completely forgiven me for not taking her to see “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” when it came out last year. She defers to me to let her know when movies I think she’d like to see come out, but I didn’t initiate the conversation for Mamma Mia 2,” and consequently it came and went from the theaters.
She groused about that for months until the DVD came out, which she promptly bought.
I need to do better, but Valentine’s Day comes just 15 days after her birthday, and are we really that far removed from Christmas? That’s three gift-giving opportunities in a pretty short span.
As I was in the office putting the closing work on this month’s issue (which included writing this column), my wife was home sick with a horrible headache. I felt bad not being there more for her, but magazines deadlines are a cruel mistress in themselves.
Even though I work with words daily and try to craft good stories, writing effusive, heartfelt prose escapes me. Our daughter has a far more poetic cadence to her writing than I could even hope to achieve.
I’d like to think my writing style comes from years of working in newspapers, where efficient, straightforward storytelling is a good standard.
An editor after perusing one of my stories compared my writing style to that of Ernest Hemingway, and frankly, that was flattering. But what’s funny is the only Hemingway book I ever read was “A Farewell to Arms,” and that one I skimmed the night before in high school in order to do an oral book report on it for English (I aced it, by the way). I don’t even recall whether we read “The Old Man and the Sea” in class.
Maybe I’m neither a lover nor a fighter; merely a dispassionate observer.
That’s why I struggle with February. My New Year’s resolutions are usually kaput by then and for Valentine’s Day I always feel like I come up short in the “good husband” department.
To which my wife would probably say, “Well, you are short.”