A few notes before we begin:
- This is a ranking of the months only as they apply to the temperate regions of the world that feature distinct seasons. The change from “gross and muggy” to “slightly less gross and muggy” that places like Orlando undergo has not been considered.
- Snow is terrible and the rankings reflect that.
- I fully expect this to be the most divisive thing I ever write.
Away we go.
May is the best month. After another long, miserable winter, and the first half of spring gently easing into things, the world is finally alive again. The trees all have leaves, the sun is staying out longer, it’s warm enough to put away depressing items of clothing like scarves and mittens, but not so warm that your shirt starts sticking to your back after 0.000004 seconds in the sun, etc. Also, the end of May (Memorial Day, specifically), is the generally accepted beginning of grilling and pool season. The first day of grilling and pool season is a great day.
June is basically just May plus 5-10 degrees. This is okay because even the worst of June’s sweltering mid-afternoons are still more of a novelty than the oppressive, inescapable heat beast the rest of summer becomes. June also contains the longest day of the year, sunshine-wise. A pessimist might respond to this by saying “Right, but that means the days are getting shorter from that point on, which is kind of depressing,” but that person is probably just a pessimist because his or her children are out of school now and driving him or her CRAZY with all that RACKET and FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, WILL YOU GO OUTSIDE AND PLAY IN THE YARD OR SOMETHING? Their opinion is therefore compromised and excluded from our findings. June is the second best month.
September manages to introduce the best parts of fall (football, the first hints of changing color in the trees, the reappearance of your precious pumpkin spice whatsits) while retaining the best parts of summer (temperatures that require light outerwear at most, sunlight into the evening, a federal holiday that gives us an excuse to grill a wide variety of meats). The only reason that September is ranked below June is that many of those early signs of fall just crystallize that winter is indeed peeking its head around the corner. Winter is unacceptable. We will get to this.
April is basically bizarro September, with the most important difference being that things are getting better as the month goes on, and will continue to get better for more than a few weeks to come. It is the first month of the year when it is reasonable to assume you are safe from an impending 24-inch snowstorm that will knock out power and/or keep you more-or-less housebound for a week. (Days 1-2 of being housebound due to snow, with electricity and running water, can be fun. Anything beyond that is Lord of the Flies.) Also, it signifies the start of baseball season, which is fun and hopeful, as opposed to games 60-120 of the baseball season, which is as exciting as a standardized test.
So why, you ask, is April ranked below September? Simple, because April has April Fool’s Day and April Fool’s Day is awful, especially in the age of the Internet. People who do April Fool’s Day pranks should be forced by law to repeat March. April is the fourth-best month.
July and August are entirely too hot, but July wins the tiebreaker because August does not contain a holiday in which our nation’s citizens are encouraged to drink massive quantities of alcohol and then attempt to set off illegal small scale explosives in the name of democracy. Sing it, Ray.
See above, July.
There is a great ambivalence about March.
On one hand, the talons of winter are still wrapped around it, as the first few weeks still are capable of producing snowstorms and inclimate weather. This is a double-whammy, the latter of which is the part where a March storm feels patently unfair, because, commmmmmmme onnnnnnn, it’s March. That’s some January/February crap, Mother Nature. Get it together.
But on the other hand, late-March is when the snow starts melting for good and the first signs of spring begin creeping in. It makes people a little crazy, actually. You know you’re delusionally hopeful when the local weather person says the high for the day is 48 degrees and you start debating if you should eat lunch outside. March is an oasis.
8. (tie) November
8. (tie) December
November and December are a coin flip, with the deciding factor being your personal feelings about the major holidays they contain. Prefer the turkey-gorging and football-watching of Thanksgiving? Great, bump November up top. Can’t wait for all the festive lights and tiny wrapped treasures associated with your particular religion’s end-of-the-year celebration? Wonderful, December it is.
Or you could just leave them tied, because pie and presents are both wonderful, and they almost — almost — make the world slowly dying around you worth it. This, conveniently, brings us to October.
October is a bad month. It is the first step toward winter. It is maddening that people don’t realize this, and doubly maddening that they continue to loudly proselytize in the alternative. Let me repeat myself to eliminate any and all confusion: October is a bad month.
What is it, exactly, that you like about October? Is it the brisk temperatures and the leaves changing from green to a scenic collage of reds, yellows, and oranges? Well, (a) late-March and early-April have the same temperature range with added benefit of the days getting longer instead of shorter, and (b) those leaves you are ooo-ing and ahh-ing over are dying. You are taking pleasure in the yearly, cruel death of a living organism while simultaneously praising the environmental conditions that cause it to happen. You monster. You monster.
Or is it the aforementioned bonus features that come with mid-fall: the pumpkin-y bric-a-brac, the sports (football, start of basketball, the baseball playoffs), the fall TV season, and so on and so forth? Well, if we wanna get real about this for a second — if we wanna get really, really real — we could easily move most of those things out of October. We could. If we all, every single one of us, decided that all sports and quality television shows should start in March (we’re watching everything — football, baseball. basketball, season premieres — at the same time in October right now anyway, so it’s not a major adjustment), and that pumpkin-flavored menu items should be offered year-round, and we were super-committed to it, that’s what would happen. It’s the free market, baby.
Cold and snow, with no fun, exciting holidays to break up the monotony? Nope. Nope nope nope. The only things of importance in January are (1) the end of the college and professional football seasons, and (2) uh, Presidential inaugurations? I don’t know. And I got so carried away defaming October that I think I just moved football to spring, so now the playoffs are in, like, August. That’s not perfect, either. We’ll get it figured out. The point here is that January is terrible.
February is everything January is but worse. It’s the Pluto of months, in that it is ice-cold and smaller than the others and no one would miss it if we chose to do away with it altogether. You know what? Let’s do that. From now on January is 59 days long and we just hibernate through the entire thing like bears. Black History gets a real month, like May, with 31 days and cookout-appropriate weather. Valentine’s Day is now optional and sometime in April. Groundhog Day is eliminated entirely, because it is a pointless holiday that consists of disturbed individuals in formal wear assaulting a confused rodent to have it do a job literally any cinder block could do, and the second an intelligent life form from the cosmos sees this charade and realizes what a silly civilization we’ve created, it will rightly assume we deserve to be dominated and show up to enslave us all in futuristic space shackles. Too risky, I say. February’s gotta go.