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RSVPhillippi | MARCH 2018


Marching Order

Usually when people refer to March Madness they’re talking about college basketball. But for me, March Madness is the lunacy that comes from waiting for our brief winter to come to an end. It’s selfish I know to complain about our winter when, even at its very worst, it’s nothing compared to most of the country, but I still hate it. I hate being cold. I hate the sun going down early.  Technically winter ends on the 20th, but it never actually ends on that day.  There are always weeks more of cold, damp, dark misery, alleviated only by, well, March Madness. I’ll just hole up in the house and watch basketball until it stays light until at least seven.

It will officially become Spring this month and that means my wife will get it into her head that we should try some of this “spring cleaning” everyone talks about every year. We won’t really do any spring cleaning, but I will have to pretend to be on board with at least the idea until my I can distract her with something else, like, say, going to the zoo, or catching a movie. I’ll even go to a movie about a woman learning not to blame herself, or some other chick flick stuff, as long as I don’t have to spend a weekend organizing the attic.

We will have to make an actual effort to get our yard back into some kind of shape. Fall and Winter do mean a reprieve from having to do any mowing or weeding, but with warmer weather comes the responsibility to not drag down the value of our neighbors' property by having knee-high weeds masquerading as grass. My long-term plan is to have my entire yard taken over by monkey grass so I only have to mow it once a year — but that process looks like it’s going to take at least a decade. So, for now, that means cutting the grass, something I dislike almost as much as movies about women learning not to blame themselves for whatever.

March also means being aware that soon I’ll be seen in T-shirts, and even occasionally in a swimsuit. The maintenance exercise I’ve been doing all winter, which amounts to searching for the remote control and doing laundry, has not been nearly enough to offset the constant consumption of sweet, comforting potato chips and cookies that got me through the winter months.  Now that there’s a chance someone might see me not wearing a coat, I’ll have to start putting in some effort on shedding some of this cold weather lard I’ve built up. I’ve never been someone who worked out for my health, I work out for one reason — vanity.

It’s a common misperception that March is the only month that has Ides.  Every month in the Roman calendar has Ides, it’s just that the Ides of March got famous because that’s when Julius Caesar was offed by a couple of his closest pals, along with something like 60 other people. That not only gave us the famous Ides of March, but also may very well have been the origin of the word “overkill.” It usually doesn’t require the services of dozens of people to stab one guy.

We always get a nasty cold snap sometime in March, which inevitably leads to someone saying that the already-beginning-to-bud trees and the bright yellow buttercups and daffodils that have shown their heads are “going to die.”  Those trees and those flowers have had millennia to figure this out, a little cold weather isn’t going to kill them or we wouldn’t have any to be killed. 

Normally I would really be looking forward to March Madness. I love sports and the NCAA tournament is one of the most exciting events in all of athletics. But the one thing that will be missing is the Memphis Tigers. I’ll still watch the games, but it will be a drag to not have a home team to make me insane.  College sports differ from professional sports in that, most of the time, people are fans of the school they went to or the one that is nearest by. You don’t have to be from Dallas to love the Cowboys or from Pittsburgh to cheer for the Steelers, you just have to be the kind of person who would be a fan of the Cowboys or the Steelers. You know who you are. With no Tigers in the tournament I have no one to be my team. I only went to college for one year and that school’s basketball program makes the tournament about as often as men walk on the moon, so that’s no help. So what I’ll probably end up doing is cheering for whatever team is designated by the sports media as the “Cinderella Team.” Some group of scrappy kids from an unlikely school that makes it much further that they have any business doing. The problem with those teams, of course, is that they have no business doing so well, which means they’re only going to end up losing in a much more high profile game than they otherwise would have. It’s all really fun until that adorable team that we’ve all gotten so wrapped up in gets clobbered by Duke in the Elite Eight.  People tend to forget that Cinderella left the ball early.

All of this is just me complaining from back here in the cold, waning days of February, dreaming of Spring and knowing I’ll have to wait just that little bit longer than I can stand. By the time you read this I’m sure I’ll be happy and warm and still kind of blubbery. I’ll have enjoyed the tournament, mowed the grass and most importantly, not have had to spend any time in my attic.