‘In the cold November rain’

November is a cunning and cruel month. Riding on the popularity of October’s home-cooked meals, falling leaves, and suggestive costume choices, November quietly creeps in and begins its oppressive 30-day reign over our lives. We are driven to despair by November’s gloom and are left crying out for December to come and rescue us with all its festive joy.

Sure, the last few days have been beautiful. So far November seems to be as harmless as a gentle breeze rustling through a weeping willow, beside a babbling creek with little baby bunnies chewing on soft, green grass. How can we complain?

Friends, don’t be fooled—November is trying to trick you. Pretty soon the days will grow grey and cold. The weather will turn on us. Those bunnies will be shot by the farmer, who will chop down that weeping willow and use it as firewood to boil the water from the creek, so he can cook rabbit stew for dinner—strictly metaphorically speaking. The gentle breeze will turn into the harsh, abrupt howl of November.

For the past two months I have been at peace—calm and refreshed. No major assignments, lots of irresponsible spending, naps at Stauffer—the way university life is supposed to be. But then ... cruel November returns.

Suddenly my rent cheque bounces, and I realize that my Carmen Electra Stripaerobics DVD box set was actually not a justifiable purchase after all—not to mention that it has done nothing for my thighs.

This month I have already received two parking tickets—it’s only Nov. 4. And these haven’t been the nice “$10 if paid early, because we know you’re a decent struggling student” tickets. Oh, no. These have been the “real deal $30/send a letter to your angry parents because we just don’t like you” tickets. Stupid November.

I have four essays, one mid-term, and one presentation all due in the next four weeks. Apparently I was supposed to be “responsible” and not “procrastinate”—I wasn’t, and I did. Each of these assignments are absolutely critical to my final grades—which, if Queen’s has taught me anything, are imperative to my finding any sort of future meaning and value in my life.

I can’t stay awake in any of my classes—November has rendered me lifeless. Every lecture, my head falls forward as I slip into an unconscious state, and I abruptly wake to an embarrassing pool of drool soaking through my chicken scratch doodles.

But I am a very experienced November pessimist, and I’ve found a way to defeat my annual nemesis. After much study and research, I conclude that all of the stress, poverty, fatigue, and general gloom that November carries with it can be solved with a simple—albeit twisted—sacrifice. If you hate November as much as I do, get the flu. Trust me.

You’re not just limited to the flu—mono works nicely—as long as it’s a temporary illness that other people do not want to get. However, apparently it’s “flu season” so it may be convenient to work with what’s popular.

Last November I had mono and was excused from class for a week and a half, while receiving extensions on all of my assignments. Meanwhile I sucked cherry Jell-O through a straw while lounging around my parents’ house in a terry cloth bathrobe, catching up with the crazy antics of Archie, Jughead and the gang from Riverdale. It was delightful.

The flu: it’s a small price to pay to defeat a month that afflicts so many. Be brave friends—December is on its way.

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