Here's an intervention script for the last days of February. Feel free to use it on anyone who fits the description:

This is a tough issue, and I hope you'll take it the right way. It's not personal. It's not a character issue. You're awesome! But we've all gathered here today to talk to you about something, and it's important. You have to let go.

I know, I know, it's hard. It was a bad December. It's been a strange winter, and we're all feeling unmoored from the usual procession of things. Christmas was brown, Valentine's Day wasn't freezing -- it's madness! We get that. You're off-balance, and when people feel vulnerable and confused, they do things that make sense to them, but which really aren't ... well, appropriate.

So I guess what we're saying is this: It's time to take down the Christmas lights.

You say it's not your fault? They're set on timers, and you just need to go outside and unplug them? Great! We all remember the days when Dad plugged them in when he got home, and after New Year's he just didn't any more because "Santa time is over. Now the long dark night begins," as he put it, staring into the distance with that strange look he got sometimes when you asked him about World War II.

Now they turn on at dusk by themselves. But don't you see how that looks? It's like you can't let go. It's like someone wandering around the neighborhood in the middle of August with a smoldering punk, saying, "Hey, who's got some Roman candles?" We all love the Fourth, but there's a time when it's done, and it's called the Fifth.

What if you never took them down? What if everyone kept them up? Do you really want to have the lights up when the Oreos in the grocery story have switched to pastel colors? That means we're not only past Clichéd Irish Archetype Season, we're approaching Non-Sectarian Rabbit Solstice time.

So let's all pitch in and do some quality unplugging, OK?


Now about that tree in the living room. ... • 612-673-7858