Some Christmas lights in the neighborhood are still up. Let's phone a neighbor and ask why.

"What? The lights?" (Sigh.) "I see those bulbs as something else once Christmas passes: individual torches that bore into the black winter night to remind people that even when winter's cruelty has settled into our very bones, a spark of hope remains. When first the strands go up, they are a bright companion to the trees festooned in our living rooms. Within and without, the promise of light eternal! Should we dim the glory just because the time for peace and goodwill has passed? Do we chop down trees the week after Arbor Day?"

No, but —

"This is the problem we have today. The years flow by with galloping speed; now and then we snag our sleeve on a holiday, and pause. The stores abound with pink and red as Valentine's Day approaches, but there is no thrill as we tromp through the barren districts of February. Really, it's the Lichtenstein of months. We all know that all the candy and cards will be half-off on the 15th as the pitiless scythe of commerce whistles down and marks these signs of love and devotion as yesterday's goods. Now bring in the green stuff for Drunk North Atlantic Island Day!

"Then it's Rabbit and Egg time, which means we're closer to when snow retreats like a skulking rat and the green gathers strength to flow anew. Don't you think all these days deserve lights, as well? Where is it written that homes may shine with joy only between the day of communal turkey dismemberment and the week following the arbitrary start of another calendar year?

"That's why the lights are still up. Sorry for doing my part."

Yeah, but you have a plastic snowman on your lawn holding a candy cane and wrapped presents and a Santa Claus that's connected to some kind of blower; it fell over on its face and now he just thrashes around every night for six hours.

"That's a good point. Actually, I'm in Scottsdale until April, and they're all on timers. I thought I'd unplugged them all. Hold on — I think I can get them from a phone app. Annnd they're off. Thanks."

No problem.