Silhouettes of our Former Selves

It has long been my feeling that April is not the cruelest month at all, apart from that tax thing that happens then — and who on earth let that get started? People, people. You know all that money is going straight to Texas. They don’t have state tax of their own, so obviously they must be lifting ours. Because if there’s one thing we know about Texans, oh don’t get me started.

February, that’s the cruelest month. Even in soft winters like this one, when the sun is apt to creep out and toss us an eight-ball of 60° weather when we aren’t watching for it, there’s something about the early dark and the trickling cold that never relents, that slips needy fangs in and keeps the flesh pinned to pale colors. The thin washed light, the hard chill, the way the covers on the bed just don’t want leaving. February.

The name comes from Februus, the Roman god of purification (sez the Wiki):

In Etruscan mythology, Februus was the god of the dead and purification. The month of February was named after him. He was also worshipped by the Romans, where he could have become Febris, god of malaria. In his honor, the Februalia festivity were held.

Presumably the malaria bit comes from the Latin febris = fever, which I’d call suspect, but I am a bit transported by the idea of a god of malaria.

Myrtle: Honey, it’s for you. It’s the god of malaria.
Ed: The god of malaria? What does he want?
Myrtle: I don’t know. Why don’t you ask him?
Ed: Well what did he say?
Myrtle: He said, “Bzzzzzz.”

The pre-Gregorian Romans had the right idea — their winter had no months. It was just winter. And after that it was March.

About Linus

The man behind the curtain. But couldn't we get a nicer curtain?
This entry was posted in General Musings. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Silhouettes of our Former Selves

  1. jamelah says:

    Whoa, it’s a post! I personally believe that March is the cruelest month, and that’s what Eliot would’ve picked if he had known what he was talking about. But I’m intrigued by the idea of the god of malaria, mainly because the first thing that popped into my head was a question: what do people say when they pray to the god of malaria? “Oh, god. Of malaria. I’m not sure how to ask you this, but I thought I’d come right out and say it. See, my neighbor, he’s a bastard, and I, uh, I wanted to check and see if, you know, there was anything you could do. If not, that’s cool. But if there’s, um, anything, then, you know, that would be great. I’m just saying. Okay then, peace out.”

  2. jamelah says:

    Just for the record, I wrote the best comment ever a little bit earlier, but it appears to have been eaten. I blame the malaria god.

  3. Linus says:

    Comment received, Jams, as you can see. Our blog security was designed by the same people who put together the PATRIOT act, so we can’t actually tell that it’s working until your comment gets hung up in the approvals process. At which point we get to graciously intervene, untangle it from the tricky code, and benevolently put things to right.

    Or, if you prefer, it goes on an extended route via the Malaria God — you might have a point there.

    We’ll be doing our State of the Pepper address any day now.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>