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The signs are everywhere. Naked Christmas trees are napping alongside garbage cans, the supply and demand for egg nog has plummeted, and Hanukkah Hanukkahed. That means the most wonderful time of the year has come to an end only for January to sadly waddle onto the scene, desperately hoping this will be its year. Unfortunately and undoubtedly, Lucy will pull the football away again and January will end up on its backside wondering why people don’t enjoy things like black ice and the Golden Globes.

The only way to get through this cold, dark month is to distract yourself. Just like anything else that sucks, making January fly by depends upon how much, or how little, you acknowledge in your mind that it's actually January.

When you’re at work, you don't sit around thinking “wow this sucks I’m at work.” No, at work, you do whatever it is you can to distract yourself from looking at a clock and coming to the realization that you have another 3 hours and 45 minutes before you can leave this hell.

As long as you keep an open mind, you can turn anything into a distraction. Have you ever gone through a truly brutal winter? If you have, then you know the debilitating agony of chapped lips. You walk out your front door, bundled up to take on a five-degree wind chill, when your chapped lips face the brunt of a blustery winter morning. As you continue to traverse the frigid winter temperatures, all you can think about is the pain radiating from your lips. Licking your lips to counteract the dryness stopped working weeks ago. Now, it only makes the pain worse.

The only thing left to do is avoid ever moving a single muscle in your face. Because if you do, the dry skin around your lips will crack, and bleeding out becomes a possibility at that point.

So why don’t you just go to the store and buy some chapstick to solve this simple issue? It's because the second that chapstick touches your lips you will no longer be distracted from the fact that it’s January. That’s not what you want. Pain is a distraction. Pain is good.

See how long you can go without using chapstick, and, if you’re lucky, you will be in the hospital recovering from skin graft surgery on your lips before you know it!

You might be wondering why undergoing skin graft surgery on your brutally ravaged lips would be considered lucky. Well, for those of you wondering, I hope you enjoy your pina coladas by the pool on MLK Day, because only a warm climate newb would second guess this stroke of luck. Heated room, adjustable hospital bed, Jell-O, and drugs. The ultimate distraction.

When life has you down, sometimes the only thing that will keep you going is something to look forward to in the future. For some, that means a vacation to a tropical island. Unfortunately, that’s an expensive coping mechanism.

For the rest of us, we’ll have to use more creative avenues to find things in our lives to look forward to this month. While relaxing on the beach with a beer in your hand sounds great, it's up for debate whether or not that can top a large Big Mac Meal. The fries on their own are worth the price of admission. You combine that with the artistry that is the Big Mac and an ice-cold fountain Coca-Cola and you’ve got yourself your own tropical island sitting shotgun with you in your 2003 Pontiac Vibe.

However, the key to getting maximum utility out of your McDonald’s vacation experience is analogous to the chapstick situation. As you might hold off on using chapstick for the benefits of a hospitalization, holding off your trip to McDonald’s allows you to look forward to it for weeks.

Imagine you’re walking out of your office. It’s 5:03 PM and it's pitch black as you put your keys into the lock of the Pontiac’s driver-side door, because the remote unlock button stopped working two jobs ago. You sit down and try to turn the car on, but the aging spark plug won’t let it happen. Just as you're about to start regretting decisions you’ve made in your life, you remember you are just 12 days away from your large Big Mac Meal. You regret nothing.

January won't be easy. Even with these new tactics, there’s no guarantee you will find them beneficial. In retrospect, eating a Big Mac may severely irritate your chapped lips. Maybe just try out one or the other and see how it works out for you. If all else fails, you could try just sleeping more. That and avoiding your friends and family has the potential to quickly speed up the dog days of January. Avoiding them will also help once they start badgering you about how you’re feeling and asking you if you’re taking your antidepressants.

You know what, forget everything I said except the more sleeping and avoiding family and friends part. Just give that a try and before you know it, it will be February!


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