Tuesday, February 13, 2007

A Valentine Gift

Vanessa and I had been together about six months when Valentine's Day 1995 rolled around. I was prepared. Weeks earlier, I'd begun planning my gift.

On the fateful day, I couldn't wait for her to open the package. It was a poem...a Shakespearean sonnet, no less. Three quatrains and a couplet. I had it professionally calligraphied on expensive parchment. I mounted it in a dramatic frame.

Predictably, she was moved. I no longer retain a copy of the verse, so I can't say with certainty it was any good, but it had to at least be passable. She was very excited and, just as quickly, embarassed.

She handed me my gift. It wasn't even wrapped. A crappy small box of chocolates and a tiny white teddy bear holding a heart that said, "I love you." Not quite on the same Effort and Thought (or Cost) level as mine.

And there, you have the problem with Valentine's Day.

The pervasive and perverse nature of advertising has turned this occasion into a chore. The guidelines are clear: Flowers, candy, teddy bears. No thought necessary. Not a few people have referred to it as a psuedo-holiday and that carries weight. The idea behind the day, like so many others, has been lost in an avalanche of marketing and prurient articles in Cosmopolitan. These insidious injections that are slowly shaping and eroding our culture serve to obscure the purity of romantic gestures. Hallmark and See's Candies have turned Valentine's Day into an unconscious action, one complete with expectations and rigid rituals, rendering it akin to yardwork.

And we've let them.

In the above example, I harbored certain expectations. When Vanessa failed to meet them--meet my idea of the holiday--our relationship took a turn for the worse. She failed to see beyond the hype, stuck with society's strict standards, aspiring only to fill the minimum requirements of the day without a nod to the depth of our togetherness. She did what she thought was expected, followed the cultural edict that carries all the romanticism of showing up to work on time. Clearly, I was involved in a relationship that needed to be relentlessly prompted to prove it's worth on what is essentially a random day. With gifts that relate not to the personal interests of those involved but those which have been deemed appropriate. And somehow, people are happy with this show of love, even if it's forced and completely devoid of emotion. Because it's what Valentine's Day has come to require.

My readers, of course, are far more worldly and effective in the ways of the heart. We don't need to be prompted to show our love for those important in our lives. So, naturally, we are derisive about this marketer-fueled ritual, rise above it to share ourselves in ways beyond a last-minute stop at Ralphs for wilted tulips. But have we stopped to think that some people DO need this day? Need the reminder to let their partner know how they feel, even if it's something as simple as a heart-felt note on a card? I assure you they exist. Running daily, to and fro, the hourly tasks of simply living sometimes get in the way of letting someone know their exaulted place in your universe. So Valentine's Day does serve a purpose. Even if it is viewed as a task, this reminder to embrace can be beneficial.

But there's a better way. Remember, there IS a purity in love. A surrender. Some would call it naivete, but it's more like innocence. It's blind, to be sure, but the feeling of love, of attraction, causes all of us to do ridiculous things. I, for one, find nothing wrong with that. It stops us from being cynical. Pushes us to poetry and song and art. We've forgotten that. We've let the red waves of helium balloons and tons of marzipan-filled chocolates obscure the delicate state of love, of loving. Don't blame the capitalist state. It exists to sell you things you don't need. Blame yourself if it works.

Perhaps you still don't believe that there is plenty of good in Valentine's Day. That's fair. Let me leave you with one more point, though.

AJ wanted to buy a card for a little girl at his school. We did and when we got home, he totally refused any assistance in writing the card. No help with sentiment or spelling. He did it all himself.

That's how I ended up with a Valentine for tomorrow. And every year until I die. The sweet wisdom of a five-year-old boy who's unafraid to say what's on his mind, who's unencumbered by society's version of the holiday.

And yes, I'm totally gonna use that line to pick up chicks.


At 2:13 PM, Blogger April said...

I kinda think I want to marry AJ.

At 2:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In the words of that guinness guy

At 2:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

AJ is a playa'

At 2:40 PM, Blogger TenMile said...

You might want to hang on to that one until you need help explaining why you didn't make her birthday because you were at the casino.

And then, you might consider letting AJ spend lots and lots of time with the Poet - revenge need not be direct. Hmmm?

Go AJ!

At 2:53 PM, Blogger elizabeth said...

awwww if only grown men kept that beautiful boy innocence and honesty. if they did, valentine's day would be totally legit.

that boy is going to be trouble for the girly girls.

At 2:59 PM, Blogger Pauly said...

That kid's gonna get some mad trim when he gets older.

At 4:57 PM, Blogger Betty Underground said...

When Kevin and Winnie went their separate ways, I gave up all hope on romance.

AJ won me back in 9 words. That stuff his dad said wasn't too bad either.

I give...

At 5:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Only the innocence of child can bring you back to believe in love from the cynism and broken hearts gained as adults...

At 7:59 AM, Blogger Derek McG said...

I used AJ's line once. The girl smacked me and called me a pervert afterwards. maybe it would've helped if i actually knew the girl.

At 8:01 AM, Blogger John G. Hartness said...

Does it ever bug you that your five-year-old has more game than you?
'Cause I know I'm jealous of AJ's mad skillz.

At 9:05 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

He should set sights for the hot teaching assistant, or least bring her home to dad :)

At 9:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like a stalker.

At 6:10 AM, Blogger katitude said...

I am completely overcome by cuteness...and we all know how rare that is. AJ totally rocks!

At 4:18 PM, Blogger Human Head said...

I don't usually like to let these words out of my mouth, but what the hell...

That shit is totally cute.

(I'm writing in the deepest voice possible to retain a shred of manliness while saying that :))

At 3:50 PM, Blogger Yoyo (Poker Poison) said...

Absolutely precious!

At 12:28 PM, Blogger Kid Dynamite said...

nocturnal emmissions?

At 1:51 PM, Blogger Div said...

Another nice gift from Craig and John tonight...

At 12:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

yOUTUBE. "You pay something for everything you do." ie "We intend on continuing the theater up there to ensure even frewer disfavoreds make it."
I think this, search engines and such are all for distraction purposes. Having endured such skewed searches I know personally the computer decides what hits I am allowed and which are prevented.
They say some trolls in chat rooms are the computer. Yes I suspect they have some ringers, likely some difsavoreds segmentted thinking they are earning, but ALL THIS INTERNET-BASED COMPUTER SHIT CAN ALL BE DONE BY ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE.
Everyone is gone. 2000 was a big deal. Yahoo, Google are all filled with brain-less clones, doing the bidding of the gods. Unlike Hollywood their roles as monsters will wait until the next level, Planet Corporate, aka Purgatory.

What perplexes me is why the gods would remain so soft on pure tools, allowing for open doors for them to achieve a brain, achieving legitimacy? it seems as if clones without brains are the ultimate in disposability, anything else defeats the purpose.
They're not human. They're nothign. If AI stopped thinking through them they'd fall in a heap of flesh.

Things like free MP3 dwonloads hurt people because you are stealing. Search engines, youtube is for distraciton purposes, the god's attempt to consume peopel's attention to ensure they don't find the path and ascend.
Poker/gambling web sites are all controlled by the computer. Other players in the room can be the computer, role playing virtually, stealing the disfavored's money in real time. Other times the players are disfavored, granting them good cards so fat bastard never has to get a job, ensuring he has no chance in this life and has to be reincarnated for he never achieves decency.
But they CAN and DO use the computer to do ALL of this. The challenge is to see how many disfavoreds can disceive and use to segment into preying upon each other.

Before you abandon the web for Las Vegas understand they have the power to shuffle a deck of cards in the desired order as the dealer holds it in her hands.

Gambling is degenerate. As time has prgressed it has become an acceptable evil, but so has casual sex.
Life has deteriorated hard in the last 40 years, for they are paving the way for The End.

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