And so it shall be told, many moons ago on February 14, the ancient executives of the then-secret fraternity known as “American Greetings” took time off from their busy NAMBLA meeting schedule to ponder how they could use their powers for financial gain by creating an annual holiday in which the majority of the naive public would feel tremendous guilt and anxiety by not participating, but also borderline manic-depression if they were ignored during it. Thus, Valentine’s Day was born. At least, that’s my alleged take on it.
In the past, Valentine’s Day would send me into a nice little downward spiral of depression, causing me to crawl under my covers fully clothed, and eat an entire bag of Fritos while watching ’80s teen horror movies as if I were one of the zombies on my television set, numb and void of emotion. Now that I’m older, a touch wiser, and scathingly cynical, I see Valentine’s Day for what it is — a get-rich-quick scheme for retailers, restaurants, and greeting card companies. Up yours, Hallmark. It isn’t a “holiday” unless I get the day off from work.
Why do we let this particular day dictate how and when we tell the people in our lives we love them? Is it really so necessary that we have a corporate holiday to remind us? Look, I love my father, but I make it a point to call him once a week and remind him — I don’t need Father’s Day to make me do so. If the state of your relationship is so weak that you have to rely on a holiday, and I use that term loosely, to bring any sort of excitement and expression of emotion to the table, than maybe it’s time to ask for your Dylan CD back and call it a day.
The last time I was at the Eckerd on Calhoun Street for my weekly tabloid run, I couldn’t help but gawk at all the stupid crap we’re encouraged to buy for each other on Valentine’s Day. Cheap, flimsy Spongebob Squarepants cards, solid bricks of chocolate shaped into red foil-covered lips, and lacy underpants twisted into rose buds attached to the tops of plastic stems lined the aisles, awaiting panicked boyfriends and husbands to assist them in their last-minute pursuit of getting laid. A teddy bear holding a heart doesn’t say “I love you.” It says, “Hey, you fat cow, happy fucking Valentine’s Day, I just picked this up last minute from Walgreen’s, so obviously I don’t give a flying fart — say, how ’bout you drop trou and bend over the kitchen counter so we can make like two pigs fightin’ over a Milk Dud.” Well, that’s what the voices in my head say when I come across one. And now you see why I’m in therapy.
Lucky for me, I’m so busy getting acquainted with a strange town and a new job that I don’t really have time to give much thought to Feb. 14th. My current situation has been yet another convenient interruption over the lack of any sexy time or romantic inklings I usually obsess over in a not-so-healthy fashion. Now that I’ve accidentally stumbled upon on how to avoid the Valentine’s-induced emotional pitfalls of the season, I’ll just have to figure out how to keep myself distracted this time next year — unless I’m with a new beau by then. And if that’s the case, he damn well better “Skatell” me he loves me if he wants to get him some.
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