Winter takes it in the face. Has that adage been written or uttered before? If those precise words have, then I apologize for having just used the maxim in unattributed fashion to whomever first authored it. If not, then someone needs to make a fortune cookie or something and hit off JLitty with the royalties. Either way, the sentiment is surely not original, and any doubt concerning that claim should be rendered obsolete by the noticeable increase in energy and general cheeriness on campus in the coming weeks.
Yeah, there exist some people who prefer the bleak, dreariness of winter, but there are also those who think Emmitt Smith is the greatest runningback of all time. The point is that invariably, some people cling to the misguided.
Generally, I completely abhor few things in life, but cold weather is close to the top of the list, definitely behind racism, but probably ahead of The Ohio State University, tomatoes and getting my hands dirty. (Call me a snob or elitist if you’d like, but I just cannot handle having my hands occupied or incapacitated by dirt and other alien substances.) Feeling cold, having to wear 12 layers, touching myself in private areas to warm my hands – nothing about the winter is fun. (Alright, the last one could be worse.)
Given my strong dislike for the year’s colder months, matriculating in Ann Arbor has been a significant challenge to my general mental health and well-being. Particularly awful has been winter’s reluctance to subside, as she valiantly fights for more face time than that allotted each spring. The tussle between the powers of hot and cold can be confusing – 40-degree temperature swings are certainly befuddling – but there is one day each year that definitively signals the end of winter’s harsh reign.
That day is Masters Sunday – the conclusion of the PGA Tour’s most prestigious tournament, the Masters – broadcasted by CBS two days ago. Every April, when I hear Jim Nantz’s whispers from the broadcast tower adjacent to Augusta National’s 18th green and the quixotic, self-important ramblings of Dick Enberg from Butler Cabin (can someone please shoot him?), I know that winter is on her last legs. Yes, it might snow again, but that will simply signal winter’s last volley, an attempt-in-vain intended to provide her with cover as she retreats into the background, gone ’til November.
Forget that I had a paper to write, a Seder to worry about, a life to lead – nothing marred Sunday for me because the demise of the cold meant that the year’s finest time was beginning. Golf pundits love to say that the Masters doesn’t start until the back nine on Sunday (because of all the drama that Augusta National’s second half has created in the past during the tournament’s concluding round) and neither does spring.
There are, of course, the usual reasons why I get excited about the commencement of the warm season: Girls wear less clothing (hooray for tank tops, tube tops, no tops), I can leave my home without any weather-induced trepidation and I get the invigorating feeling of the plentiful sunlight hitting my neck. However, the springtime is my time for more personal reasons as well.
Admittedly, some are not especially unique. For instance, I doubt I’ll be the only one who makes plans around the NBA playoffs. (Right? Please?) I also won’t be the only one who saves whatever money he can to buy the quality hip-hop records that come out during the spring and summer after a seeming moratorium on quality releases between December and May. (Not all at once, now.)
Then there are less universal reasons. The crib in New York will be spotless because my father commemorates the warm weather by cleaning almost obsessively. Nothing says springtime in the Litman home like waking up at 11 on a Saturday and seeing a 50-year-old man run around the house shirtless, armed with a mop and a sponge, sweating from vigorous scrubbing.
I will also be able to break out the Litty Collection – seemingly innumerable, meticulously maintained T-shirts, shorts and sneakers – from storage and resume my warm-weather preoccupation of coordinating my tops, bottoms and sneakers. Good times.
And at the end of a day spent doing whatever (likely looking for a job and moving the car), I can retire to My Slot, the seat at the end of my parents’ couch on which I lay down, with my feet draped over the end, and watch as the Lakers punk everyone else.
Alfred Ira with a broom in the kitchen; Litty on the couch in the red t-shirt, khaki shorts and red Air Max Bursts; Lakers over the Pacers in 4. And we out like that.
Litman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.