- I say the above laughingly. I really do like Valentine’s Day. I don’t know if this process of thought (and the subsequent valentine for my spouse it inspired, below) started because:
1. Everyone in my household has been dropping like flies, one by one, inflicted with some sort of miserable chest cold and today I began to feel a tickle in my throat, or,
2. Because I was reminded last night as I navigated through throngs of desperate looking, last minute Valentine’s Day shoppers, a thought I often have before Valentine’s Day (and some other cultural holidays too) – that this whole thing has gotten a little out of hand.
I was at Walgreens to pick up some saline nose sprays for the above mentioned plague infected family members, and also to pick up a couple of packs of Valentines cards for my kids’ school exchanges. After finally finding a parking spot, I weaved my way through the mass of shoppers. In each aisle there was Shakespearean drama unfolding, contemplative expressions on faces thinking, “is this stuffed animal to be or not to be?”
It’s moments like these, that I like to imagine, on this day of love and consumerism, what St. Val of old might think of this cultural holiday we’ve created. Old Saint Val, a vague legend of a man, probably in fact, several different people: beaten, tortured and murdered by the Roman Empire for trying to spread Christianity; later used by that newly Christian empire to usurp ancient fertility festivals, then Chaucer to create poetry, and finally so many businesses to make billions of dollars a year. It’s quite a progression.
Don’t get me wrong, as I said before, I really do like Valentine’s Day, even aspects of the cultural manifestation it has become – the idea of a day celebrating the concept of love and friendship and exchanging little tokens representing these feelings with the people you love, appreciate and admire – that’s great. And don’t get me wrong, though I try to be reflective and move toward sustainability, I am a hearty consumer, a product of my capitalist culture. However, it was about the time that I flipped over the card I thought about purchasing my spouse at Walgreens to see it cost $9, that I thought “Hells no! This is not so great, this is a racket,” (I’m looking at you Hallmark!). I laughed, and determined to make my own valentine for my beloved. And I congratulated myself for going back to the old ways of making something handmade, and thoughtful and beautiful – like the lacy and poetic Victorian creations people made for each other a couple centuries ago – and of course what came out was this sardonic, not too serious cartoon. Which is probably why that other beautiful, simple, elegant card cost $9. Which brings me to my main and final point in all of this people, find someone who gets your weird sense of humor and loves and appreciates you for it anyway!