Wednesday, February 13, 2008

a pathetic display of artificial sentiment

As a general rule I ignore most holidays as unwanted intrusions into my ritual of daily living. The only holidays that register on my radar are Thanksgiving and Christmas. All the others share the same importance as Arbor day and Presidents Day, which is to say no importance at all. Valentines Day falls into that category.

Valentines Day is the obvious creation of the candy/flower/greeting card cabal, designed to separate as many people from as much of their money as possible, under the pretext of expressions of love. My question is why do you need a special day to tell your loved one that she is your loved one. Don’t you tell her that every day? Why do you need a special day to emphasize those feelings.

And as far as giving her candy as an expression of your love and devotion, isn’t that really just the opposite of your intention? Candy isn’t good for you. It has too much fat and cholesterol and all that other bad stuff that can shorten your life. Maybe giving her an apple would be more appropriate. You know, “an apple a day, keeps…etc.”

Greeting cards should be banned from society unless they are able to say what you intend the same way you would say it. All those mushy, emotional, contrived rhymes and ridiculous flowery sentiments are so far removed from a normal man’s experience that saying them would be as impossible as his walking in high heels and fishnet stockings to the hardware store. And beware the “funny” card. What you think is funny or clever isn’t the same as what she thinks is funny or clever. Be prepared to spend some serious time explaining.

Flowers are the one thing that you can get away with giving on Valentines Day without getting the skeptical look that asks, “what did you do now that requires an apology?” Just don’t go overboard with a floral display that is more appropriate for a funeral home than for Valentines day. A single rose looks cheap, a dozen looks extravagant. I choose to eliminate the problem of too much or too little by conveniently forgetting it’s Valentines Day.

Remember back in your grade school days when the giving of Valentines to your classmates was an exercise in staking your claim to as high a position in the hierarchy of the class as possible. Those who got the most cards proudly displayed the stack prominently on the desk top for all to see and admire thus cementing their position in the upper caste of popularity. I am ashamed to say that I usually had an impressive pile to show off. And I am equally ashamed to say that I didn’t give a flying wet leap at the joypole that Gerald, the farm boy, got none because he always smelled bad. To this day I wish I had shared a few Valentines with Gerald. Imagine how he felt all those grade school years knowing that no one wanted him to be their Valentine. I can well imagine how he might have grown up to be a serial killer or maybe even a lawyer because of that ill treatment.

So Valentines Day is a day to shun as a day of false hope and dashed promise. There is something particularly pathetic about the needy seeking of love and caring by those who would both give and receive those Valentine wishes. Begging for an artificial expression of love is a poor substitute for the real thing. Looking for love is not a bad thing, but begging for it can create a moving target for an obese Cupid shooting dull-tipped arrows. For those who are lucky enough to have found love along the way, everyday is Valentines Day. As Shakespeare said, “Love sought is good, but given unsought is better.”

1 comment:

Carrie said...

Oh, poor smelly Gerald! It wasn't his fault that he was made to roll around in bovine excrement every morning before school. You should all have risen above your pristine towny selves and realized that he wasn't smelly, he was "earthy." Whenever you drink your milk from now on, may you think of poor, smelly (earthy), Valentine-less, unloved Gerald, toiling away in the mucky barns so that you may have strong bones.