Welcome to the January doldrums, buttholes! (And rest assured, “butthole” is my deepest term of affection.) Query: Can we all agree that January fawking suuuuuuuuuucks? Forget the abolishment of daylight savings time—January needs to pack its bags and fuck off in the nearest Uber. There is literally nothing good about it. It’s rainy, depressing, and brings out the worst in people... especially Donald Trump, who simply can’t stop committing crimes right in front of us, every (clap!) single (clap!) freaking (clap!) day!

But here’s the thing: Until both January and Trump are arrested and put into a public stockade where we can pelt them with charcoal smoothies (another crime against humanity), it’s up to us to figure out some way of surviving and thriving, and that’s no jiving. (High fiving!) BUT HOW? Friends, when I find myself wallowing at the bottom of an emotional garbage pit, I turn to the “good book”: The Complete Unabridged Compendium of Every Rap Lyric Ever Written by Salt-N-Pepa.

If you would, please turn with me now to page 339 of this sacred hymnal, and let’s read Chapter “Shoop,” Verse 57. And lo! The prophet Pepa spake unto her man, “Getcha lips wet, ’cuz it’s time to have Pep.” Let’s ruminate on this verse for a moment. Now, if one is reading the lyric literally, Pepa is instructing her latest sex partner (the “bow-legged” one, rather than the “man in the three-piece suit” who arrives later), in the finer points of oral gratification. But! She also insists that her suitor display enthusiasm for the act—AKA “pep.” So in order to please Pepa, the gentleman caller must (A) get his “lips wet,” thereby showing clear intent, and then (B) display the requisite amount of “pep” (unbridled enthusiasm for the act). Otherwise Pepa will have no other choice than to issue the stern warning displayed in Chapter “Push It,” Verse 37: “Better make it fast or else I’m gonna get pissed.”

Okay, so what does this have to do with January, the most diabolically awful month of the year? Let's think of ourselves as the "gentleman caller" and January as Pepa. Like Pepa, January isn’t going to do the work for us. It's incredibly easy to simply succumb to the doldrums of the month, and "go through the motions" of living until it's over. But listen up, family, 'cause you've got a choice to make: Are you gonna let 2020 just happen to you, or are you gonna live your best life and fuck some shit up? If it's the latter, then start now. Like Pepa advises us, "get your lips wet" (show the "intention" of improving your life) because "it's time to have pep" (and pile on the enthusiasm).

And this means... what? Turn off Netflix and find yourself a dance party. (Team, there are SO MANY GREAT dance parties in January, hit up the Mercury’s Things to Do calendar and find the perfect one for you.) Get involved with people who share your political beliefs (such as ensuring that Trump is either in jail or eating out of a dumpster by this time next year). Find a physical activity that’s fun (I recommend Jazzercise or a pole dancing class... but you do you). Say something nice to someone without expecting anything in return (pay attention to italics, creepy dudes). And for Christ’s sake, eat the occasional banana! (Bananas always make me feel better!)

Oh! And never forget that I adore each and every one of you, and together (with a little intention and enthusiasm) we’ll make it through January and the rest of this year just fine. Another reason I like you? As clearly stated in Chapter “Shoop,” Verses 28 and 29: “You’re packed and you’re stacked, especially in the back/Brother, wanna thank your mother for a butt like that.”

Yer always pal,
Wm. Steven Humphrey
Portland Mercury