The night before Valentine’s Day found me (as it has before) crowded around the holiday card section at Target. Surrounded by twenty or so like-minded (or like-procrastinating) fellows, there is a sense of guilty solidarity.
I had my selection narrowed down to two (I opt for funny (which usually means mildly inappropriate) over sentimental in these situations) when just behind me, and very close, I heard:
It was a male sigh, more exasperated than forlorn. I kept trying to decide between my two cards.
“[SIGH!!!!!!!!!!],” again, so close I could feel his frustrated breath against my back. This guy was clearly having a bad day.
Then he reached directly over my shoulder, grabbed a copy of one of the cards I had been looking at and said, not quietly:
“This is such f#$%ing bull-s*%^!”
Whoa, buddy, calm down.
“I mean this holiday is such a crock of s%$#! It’s like the Russell Stover’s guy and the Hallmark guy and the FTD guy and the government all got together and said ‘I know, let’s create a day to screw over all men everywhere! FOREVER!!!'”
“Wait, what do you mean?” asked a baby-faced kid, probably early 20s, standing just a couple feet away. “I love Valentine’s Day!”
“How long you been married?” asked the Valentine grinch, surprised (but you could tell, pleased) by this unexpected challenge.
“Uh…” the doe-eyed twenty-something hesitated, realizing too late the error in interrupting this guy’s rant.
“Exactly….” said the grump, not waiting for an answer, and leaving unspoken the “so shut the f%#$ up!” conclusion we all knew he was thinking.
The newlywed quietly drifted away.
I turned to the guy now, making eye contact, and also revealing that I had been holding my two-year old son on my opposite hip. I didn’t say anything, but wondered if this felt like a reproach to him, like “hey, if my kid’s going to hear language like that, it’s going to either be from me or from the R-rated movies I sneak and watch when his mom leaves him home with me and goes shopping.”
“I’m sorry,” he said sincerely. “How are you doing?”
“Me? Oh, I’m fine,” I said, though, in truth, the little buddy I was holding had a cold and was teething, his sister was teething, his brother had just puked all over our couch, and I had worked until midnight the previous two nights running (yes, I’m aware that was a Saturday and a Sunday) (“weekend” means nothing to me). If his day was worse than that, I was just going to let him vent.
We talked for a second. I didn’t ask him what was wrong. Just that little bit of human interaction seemed to do him good, though. He looked at a couple more cards, picked one, and then went on his way.
Now, I know not everyone likes Valentine’s Day. There might even be some haters in the audience. But this was uncalled for, I thought. I can see how Valentine’s Day could be lonely if you are single, and maybe anti-climactic if you are not. It is sort of contrived and artificial, I will admit. But I still like it. It is a day for love. It is a day to show that special someone that you love them. Yes, you shouldn’t just do that on Valentine’s Day, and there is nothing magical about that one day, and if that’s the only day you do anything nice for your significant other, then you suck. But what’s wrong with a holiday dedicated to love? It’s certainly not the stupidest holiday around (yes, I’m talking to you “Spud Day” in Shelley, Idaho (though the mash-potato wrestling was an admitted delight)).
The romantic in me wishes every day was Valentine’s Day.
Happy Valentine’s Day!!!