Irritations Out in February

What do answers, combs, debts, phlegm, and February have in common? Those pesky silent letters which drive kids nuts on spelling tests.

That brings me to what drives adults nuts: Despite the Oscars, Super Bowl, Chinese New Year, Valentine’s, and Mardi Gras, February is still right in the middle of the bleak midwinter blahs.

People get grumpy. Spring is still pretty far away. Taxes are looming. The presidential ads are on ad nauseam. Some of this is caused by the seemingly insoluble I’s: impeachment, Iran, and Immigration. Most of us feel powerless about much of that.

Plus, all those New Year’s resolutions and diets are fading like tans after the beach without huge success.

But February might just be the month where we can control some of life’s chronic personal irritations and lift our spirits.

Like what?

That gunk on top of the toothpaste tube. Once toothpaste went gel, it was Yuk. Remember tooth powder? It’s still a thing, and I’m making the switch.

Potholes. Ubiquitous potholes. My neighbor just got a couple of sacks of sand and filled in the one in front of her house before calling 311.

Squirrels. Mothballs in the attic, charcoal around the plants, and wild bird calls blaring over your outdoor speakers, I’ve found helpful.

Buffering. That annoying red line that halts your favorite episode while binge-watching on Netflix. For a quick fix, try calling your wifi or TV provider and threatening to cancel service. Immediate speed up!

Pump action bottles that leave an inch of the product at the bottom. My friend assures me a serrated bread knife can saw through the plastic for the residue.

Siri in your car. “Call the Kimbell Art Museum” comes back with “Calling Kennebunkport.” The car dealer says to use your phone, not the car for directions and phone calls because your phone Siri knows you better. Ahh, Siri, be my Valentine.

People who get on planes sick. Take sanitary wipes and face masks.

The noise of leaf blowers. It might take a GoFundMe page to get a guy who can muffle that, but it seems possible. I would nominate him or her for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Computer glitches. Nope. It doesn’t begin with an I, but it’s up there with Iran. Can’t be done.

So soothing life’s little irritants might be the best way to sail through Febyooooary.

Len Bourland

The views expressed by columnist Len Bourland are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of People Newspapers. Email Len at [email protected]

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