January is a wicked step-mother of a month. Contradictory and contemptuous, January is sun, rain and snow, all in a half-hour’s time. It’s slushy toboggan runs and black ice on I-75. January is your passive aggressive co-worker who smiles in your face then shoves daggers of ice in your back. It’s not surprising, since the month is named after a two-faced Roman god.

It’s 31 days of endurance that don’t even fit on the standard calendar page. They have to swipe two other days and split them in half diagonally so January can have it’s cake and beat it too.

January is the flu. If May and June are presidential, January is Sarah Palin.

All any of us can hope for is that we’re able to sneak through January without arousing suspicion. It can be meaner than a snake with a skin condition if provoked.

December got it right. It serves up Hannukah, Christmas and New Years so we can have fun and forget the drudgery outside. February is shy, silent and elusive. It wants so badly to get out of the way and not be noticed that it shrinks back to 28 days and even gives us a vernal tease with Spring Training and that silly groundhog thing.

But January, snot-nosed and belligerent, just won’t give up. “Hey, I’m still here,” it cackles, then goes back into its frigid dank hole.

Remember back in the good ol’ days before global warming and Perez or Paris Hilton? Back then, January would beat and rob you, then leave you to die in the snow. Snow? It used to be the one good thing that January could pretend to have invented. Nowadays we barely get enough to cover the pumpkins on foreclosed porches.

Down south somewhere, in Australia or Swaziland, January is probably a celebrated month. Perhaps that’s its last and greatest irony. Some people welcome and revere the month because it’s sunny and seventy and sublime. But if you spend any time in the Midwest, you’ll learn to despise every cold, gray, wet, angry day of it. If not, well, you’re not human … or you’re just visiting from New Zealand.