Ah, Valentine’s Day! To quote Ralph Wiggum on The Simpsons…”I choo choo choose you.” That line still makes me laugh, because the day used to be one of innocence. Like Ralph, we can all remember passing out small Valentines to our classmates. Everyone got one, including the gothic kid who could make heart-shaped snot bubbles through a straw.

Back then, we were content with how things were on February 14. Everyone got a simple paper card and maybe some “Red Hots”, both of which quickly became spitball ammunition. There was nothing flashy about the day. And then…girls got older and learned from their Jedi Master sisters and mothers that they can successfully manipulate men to buy them expensive things in order to prove their worth.

That line of thinking actually took root at the very beginning. It went down like this…St. Valentine, imprisoned in Rome in the year 245 for fishing without a license, frequently wrote love letters from his cell to some local chick. He was later martyred, but his name became eternal when the girl’s best friend felt obliged to give her opinion— “He didn’t take you anywhere or give you anything? Just a note? Doesn’t sound like he really loved you at all.” Similar to Eve, this young girl bought what the snake was preaching, and centuries later Al Capone got so pissed off that his gang killed some diamond brokers in Chicago. So you see…the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre was indirectly caused by women who claim to be low maintenance but aren’t. Not many people know that story…Just me and Paul Harvey.

Here’s a more modern illustration of how the day has morphed into a sea of gluttony. There’s a commercial for a jeweler that airs every February. Some of you have seen it:

Young girl: “Aunt Amy…Brian likes you.”
Amy: “(gasp and sinister smile) Who told you that?!”
Girl: “He did.”
Amy: “You know what? He told me too.”

At that moment of the ad, right before sane viewers vomit, we see Aunt Amy show off her new diamond necklace. But what she’s really doing is brainwashing that poor little girl into thinking that those sweet, innocent Valentine’s Day cards at school aren’t good enough. The seed of conniving manipulation has been planted. Very sad.

To say that nobody needs a special day to tell someone they care about them only sounds good on paper. The reality is…it’s too late to think that way. Women, led en masse by Hallmark and Oprah, expect a gift on Valentine’s Day. And if you do decide to buy a gift on a random day, just for the hell of it, you better be ready to explain yourself when she asks what you did wrong. Most of them think that if it’s not a holiday gift, it must automatically be an apology. In fact, most florists sell little cards to accompany bouquets. Usually they mention a specific occasion…”Happy Birthday” or “Happy Valentine’s Day”, for example. The ones that say “Just Thinking of You” have a line at the bottom that says, “P.S. I’m sorry.” Even if you try to cross it out, it bleeds through the ink like blood stains on the wall of a haunted house.

I will say this about the day…I enjoy seeing spam emailers take this opportunity to really push their “romance drugs”. They make me laugh for several reasons…

  1. In an effort to grab your attention, many will include a name in the subject line of their spam email, hoping against hope that it’s your name. But it’s not just off, it’s off by a lot. I received one yesterday that said, “You should try Cialis, Ulysses.” Ulysses? Wow…a Greek pharmacy! Who’s the pill dispenser? Pythagoras? Sign me up, because a-squared plus b-squared = good health!!! Who’s with me? Theseus? Bellerophon? Perseus? Come on, guys! We can get group coverage!
  2. Some spam emails include names that don’t match the product. “Erection problems, Matilda?” See there…not only did you guess the wrong name, you used the wrong gender for your meds. Even if you’re aiming for women whose husbands have ED, you’re targeting the elderly…a demographic that doesn’t exactly understand computers enough to read your email. Some advice…hire Wilford Brimley to serve as spokesperson while he sits on top of a horse on TV. He’ll have Matilda eating from his liver-spotted hands in no time. Side note: If your name is Matilda and you’re not an old lady, you must be a unicorn because I don’t believe you exist.
  3. In order to avoid being automatically trashed by most email providers, spammers will misspell key words. Once again, it’s not just off by a little, but a whole lot. “The Best Online Pharmasooooticals”. Four Os? And you want me to buy medication from you? What’s troubling is that these tactics work. I read that the success rate is around ½ %, which may not sound like much, but that means for every one million emails that go out, there are 5,000 suckers saying, “I appreciate your opinion, Doctor. But I can get Viagra on line for less than half the cost. Sure, it’s spelled with a Q, and I better hope an earthquake doesn’t ground the delivery plane in Guatemala, but I’m saving 40 bucks! That’s enough money to buy two or three Billy Bass singing fish to hang on my wall because I’m a fucking idiot.”

As you see, Valentine’s Day can be quite amusing if you let it. True, most of it is pointless and quite frankly, unnecessary. But if it makes you happy, who am I to piss on your emotions? I just think that if you truly need a gift from your significant other in order for him or her to validate their love, you’re what certain Latin speaking people call an “allowshay itchbay”.

Truth is, I’ve never been in love and don’t want to be anytime soon. I don’t think I can handle all the baggage. I don’t think I can even handle the word “love”. True story…the first and only time a girl told me she loved me, she got flustered and accidentally mispronounced it. “Keith…I lurve you.” So what did I do? Did I gloss over it and just move on? Did I reciprocate those words and feelings? Of course not. Instead, I made fun of her. “You lurve me? Really? What a coincidence, because I cher-osh the time we spend together. In fact, you complute me. Really…you had me at lurve.”

At that precise moment, I realized, “I’m a farking dirckhead.” She called me an asshole, and I couldn’t exactly disagree with her. After dumping me, she went on to make commercials as the Aunt Amy character. As for me, I choo choo choose to grab a beer and watch international white athletes un-rhythmically attempt to give each other high fives at the Winter Olympics.

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone…from your good buddy Ulysses.

Categories: Columns