Walsh’s Wonderings — October is strange
October is a strange month, and not only because it wraps up with us co-opting the Day of the Dead by sending our children into the darkness dressed as ghosts and Disney characters to beg for candy. No, it gets even weirder than that.
It might be the inescapable arrival of fall as the humidity finally leaves, that first night you leave the window open and wake up to see your breath the next morning. It might be the distressing revelation that we haven’t put any money away for Christmas season yet, or whether that’s a good enough excuse to finally skip buying Halloween candy altogether and just turn off the porch lights this year (let those kids beg their parents for candy, as God has always demanded of us).
It’s not exactly one of the “fun” months, marked as it is by the effects of violence; not only is it National Bullying Prevention Month, it’s also National Domestic Violence Awareness Month and National Cyber Security Awareness Month. In addition, October is American Pharmacist Month, which is appropriate considering it’s also Eczema Awareness Month, National Healthy Lung Month, National Dental Hygiene Month and Liver Awareness Month.
More importantly, October is the calendar’s Shangri-La for the American sports fan. The NFL is in full swing, the NHL and NBA are just starting up, and baseball finally plays games that matter. In other words, we hope the New York Rangers won’t lose, expect the New York Jets to continue to lose, dread how the New York Knicks will find novel ways to lose, and know the New York Mets will lose just enough to stay home and watch the Yankees in the playoffs.
The Canadian Football League, which is the Fredo Corleone of football, marches toward identifying its champion in the Grey Cup. MLS soccer, which would be one of those fringe Corleones nobody remembers from the third Godfather movie, also begins its playoffs. (By December, no one will remember who won either league.) Yes, there are a few tennis and golf tournaments, but they don’t even merit a Godfather reference. (Those low-profile events are Analyze This at best.)
If you’re one of the dinosaurs still listening to terrestrial radio, you might know this month as “Rocktober” (even though I defy you to come up with a song about October, or for that matter, any instance where a grown adult should say “Rocktober”). If you’re a fan of horrible German polkas and giant salted pretzels, you might think of “Octoberfest.” However, “thinking” and “Octoberfest” don’t really go together. (Did I mention that German polkas are really bad? No wonder they’re drinking so much beer.)
It’s a month of poor decisions, possibly the result of the first full moon of winter. White pants are worn well past Labor Day, people consume candy corn as if it’s something other than hardened clumps of colored sugar … and Octoberfest. (Octoberfest shouldn’t be a thing, people. We’re better than this.)
The strangest thing about October is that it starts in late August, which is when the first Halloween displays start popping up in stores. Sure, the Santa displays will replace those ghosts and witches on the first of November, but at least that’s in anticipation of something festive. Anyone reading the front page of today’s newspaper could be forgiven for pining for a season of hope and good will.
No, as much as October is a fun month for prediabetics and kids looking for handouts, it’s a strange way to get from September to November.