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John Eggers: So how is February treating you?

“Ask not what your fortune cookie can do for you but what you can do for your fortune cookie.”

That’s the best fortune I have ever received. Why? It really made me think about what I was doing and what was happening around us. But what did it really mean?

My wife, Kathy, recently gave me a cup of tea and asked me to guess what flavor it was. After I made a few incorrect guesses, she said hold it up to your ear. What does that mean?

I lost a hearing aid about six months ago and today I put in the one that I didn’t lose. Why today and why not five months ago?

The other day Kathy said she has a new tactic to make our dog, Simon, move. She is going to say, “Sit, stay!”

Is the world kind of turning upside down for you too? It seems like we hear rumors and rumors of snowstorms every week. Some come, some don’t. Is something going on we aren’t aware of?

I have been wearing socks that don’t match for the last week or so and no one noticed. Are we all missing something?

Banning assault weapons is off the negotiating table and it looks like we will continue to allow them. Come on now, really? Someone must have received a fortune cookie that read, “Ask not what an assault weapon can do for you but what you can do for assault weapons.”

Strange things are happening, is it because it’s February in Minnesota?

In spite of Valentine’s Day, ever since I was young February has always been my worst month. It seemed long, there was always cold, sub zero temperatures, Lent started, the fun had gone out of winter, and all the snow storms seemed to come on the week-ends. About the only thing I could look forward to was a new TV program called Superman.

“Faster than a speeding bullet! More powerful than a locomotive! Able to leap tall buildings at a single bound!” The announcer would say. Then you would hear other voices, “Look up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s Superman!” Announcer again: “Yes, it’s Superman, strange visitor from another planet who came to Earth with powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men. Superman, who can change the course of mighty rivers, bend steel in his bare hands; and who, disguised as Clark Kent, mild-mannered reporter for a great metropolitan newspaper, fights a never ending battle for truth, justice, and the American way.”

The first time I saw “The Adventures of Superman” I was hooked. I began writing down all of the things that I could do that I had in common with Superman. I was the fastest runner in my class. If I held my finger in front of my face at a certain distance, I could see through it. And, the girls liked me. I was quiet; mild mannered, just like Clark Kent.

Yes, I was on my way to being Superboy. Superman got me through February.

It’s definitely the February doldrums. Fish aren’t biting. I have to call up our faithful snow removal guy, David, to plow us out every other day. I missed seeing “Lincoln” in the theatre. Gopher’s basketball teams are losing. Hauling wood is getting old. About the only thing working is Kathy’s new strategy to get our dog moving. “Sit, stay, Simon!” Simon gets up and moves.

Hey, let’s not forget the asteroid that hit northern Russia. It could very well have been northern Minnesota. I feel like I am waiting in the wings to go on stage only to find that when I do, the audience had left a half hour earlier.

Do you know that in 1910 if you wanted to buy gas for your Ford you did it at the drug store? There were only 8,000 cars and only 144 miles of paved roads. The maximum speed limit in most cities was 10 mph.

Maybe that’s it. Maybe the fortune cookie was a reminder that I needed to get with it or find an old Ford to drive. I don’t know.

“Ask not what your fortune cookie can do for you but what you can do for your fortune cookie.” February is all so very confusing. Where’s Superman?


JOHN R. EGGERS of Bemidji is a former university professor and area principal. He also is a writer and public speaker.