Screenshot from the video below
Tired of the bleak February weather? You are not alone. Kevin Killeen feels your pain.
A longtime general assignment and feature reporter for KMOX (1120 AM) radio, Killeen is acutely aware of the hopeless futility of February in St. Louis. In a video recently shared by KMOX
(and initially filmed this time last year), Killeen shares his thoughts on the calendar's shortest month. His outlook really couldn't get more bleak.
"February is the worst month of the year, but it's an honest month," Killeen says at the outset of the video. "It's a month that doesn't hold up life any better than it really is. I mean, look around here. These buildings, they look like they don't even have any lights in them during a work day. Something great happened here, but it's over with. And that's the way February is."
His bleak opening pronouncement complete, Killeen then moves from his grey, cloudy rooftop outpost to what looks to be a parking garage, where he finds a broken umbrella discarded in a trash can. Somberly, he holds it up as a metaphor for the tragedy of February.
"This says it all," Killeen proclaims. "This has a spring-like or floral pattern on it, but somebody on this February day has abandoned it, with its broken shaft, like a desperate flinging-off of something that's not true anymore. The expedition is getting desperate — people are throwing things aside."
Projecting his own intense nihilism onto the people walking the streets, Killeen speaks of downtown St. Louis as though it is a prison.
"Look around downtown on a February workday. This looks like a place where people who are being punished are sent," he says in a voiceover as his cameraman films the desolate streets. "If you notice the way people cross the street in February, it's different than in the summer. Nobody's tap-dancing or breaking into a Rodgers & Hammerstein song. It's their lunch hour and they're just barely able to get across the street and hunker over a bowl of chili."
Trapped in the impermeable darkness that is February, Killeen sees no light at the end of the tunnel. In his estimation, nature itself buckles to the relentless tyranny of the dreary month.
"Even the land is tired in February," he declares. "Most of the birds who can afford it have gone to Florida, and the trees that once cheered us — they're hard to look at this month. It's as if there is some awful truth out there in the trees. It's hiding in the branches. Look at them. Something that's been bothering you for a long time is out there. What is it? You can almost see the shape of it when all the color is gone, when life is stripped down to the starkness of February."
The impermanence of life itself, and the inevitability of death — these are what Killeen sees in the lifeless tree branches.
"To try to hide the bleakness of February, man invented Valentine's Day and also Mardi Gras," Killeen reasons. "But then February answered back with another holiday: Ash Wednesday. What other month could host a holiday that's designed to remind us that we're all gonna die?"
Are you.... OK, Kevin?
"My father used to have a saying," he says at the close of the video, "that if you can live through February, you can live another year."
This video was shot last year and Killeen is still active at his post, meaning he made it through February 2016. Here's hoping he has the wherewithal to make it through this month — his charming style and sense of humor would be greatly missed if he went gently into that good night.
Might we offer a suggestion, though? A psychiatrist, Kevin. And maybe take the month off and head for warmer climates.
It works for the birds.