Do you know the core theoretical underpinning of Valentine’s Day? Its very essence can be summed up in three totally dreamy, romantic, dare I say quixotic words:
Worst. Puns. Ever.
Seriously. If it’s not those little pesky and all perky and pastel-ly conversation hearts, then it’s a card. If it’s not a silly commercial on TV, it’s an ad in the newspaper.
Bee Mine. I choo-choo-choose you. We’re purrrr-fect. I love ewe. Lettuce be together forever.
Just kill me now.
So I was elated to recently see this timely ad in the newspaper:
There’s honesty for you: You turn me on, but not quite enough. Perhaps this will help. (P.S. I lube you!)
Anyhow, so at this point I’d like to share with you a seemingly unrelated story about a very young, very naïve, very sweet little girl.
Once upon a time, I was short (yes, there was a time), and not jaded, and only thought bricks were made for houses occupied by the smartest of the Three Little Pigs. I was probably 8, and I loved artichokes.
But I was very concerned about the potential extinction of artichokes, because I had just learned about the mass killing of buffalo in the plains in the 1800s.
OK, so here’s the deal: I thought artichokes were animals. No lie. They have a heart, after all. So I remember the day I vocally pondered the potential of a mass artichoke extermination — just like those poor bison — with my parents. And I remember their jaws dropping to the floor in bewildered disbelief.
Up to that point, I had images of artichokes gathered on the range, running and playing with their fellow artichoke friends (and perhaps a buffalo or two) in clusters — perhaps called gaggles, or tribes, or prides. I attribute this image in my head to the song “Home on the Range,” which in my 8-year-old mind, clearly contained the lyrics, “…where the deer and the artichokes played…”
Anyhow, after “the talk” with my parents — you know the one, detailing how artichokes were definitely from Kingdom Plantae, not Animalia, and that they could neither utter discouraging words nor any sound, for that matter — I became known as the girl who would believe anything. Just ask my folks: They later convinced me that curb feelers on cars existed so that blind drivers would know how to keep their vehicles from mowing down poor, unsuspecting pedestrians on the sidewalks.
I shit you not.
And by the way, my parents can confirm all of the above. And I hope they do by leaving a comment below: I’m in need of some serious blogger-cred here.
But now that I’m older, slightly less naïve but far more metaphorical, I kinda dig the symbol offered by my imaginary animal artichoke and its isolated heart. Because I can relate: If we’re speaking evolution here, the animal artichoke as a species must have been routinely blindsided, jaded, perhaps a little bitter and definitely heartbroken. Over multiple generations. And it had a heart that evolved to resemble mine.
Very desirable, yet hard to reach. The perfect core essence, yet covered in layers of unusable crap, then surrounded by prickly, barbed, pokey thorns.
This point was proven recently, as I headed to the store to find a Valentine for Boyfriend Brett. First, I happened upon the place where pink and red and hearts and flowers and balloons and stuffed animals go to die.
Somehow, I successfully found “up” after encountering this dizzying, dazzling display, and I proceeded to navigate to the card section by joining the processional, the steady stream of fish-out-of-water guys carrying their bouquets, and their bottles of champagne, and their boxes of ribbed “pleasure plus” condoms in size XL (yip, actually saw that one).
But as I stood there browsing the cards, I was totally overwhelmed. I opened one card, and repressed a gag reflex. I opened another, and scoffed out loud. Then the next inspired an eye roll and an audible “Not on your life.”
There I was, looking for a card that essentially said, “Hi. You’re cute, and I’m happy we’re together. Bye-bye now.” Instead, all I could find were cards with words like “soul mates,” “forever,” “love of a lifetime,” and other concepts that seriously made me throw up a little bit in my mouth. Tasty.
And then I realized…
That was the sweet taste of success in my mouth. (Ewww. Disturbing, I know…). But I had just found my calling.
I must embark on a new venture, I thought to myself, developing an exclusive line of cards specifically made for those of us who don’t trust. A brand catering to men and women who know that people lie when they proclaim their undying love, à la my ex and all of his effusive, dizzying, dazzling displays of affection found here.
Perhaps these are part of a product line called “Hallmark…of Pain.” The slogan: “When you care enough to sass the very best.”
So, without giving it too much thought, here are some concepts for the first round of “Hallmark…of Pain” prototypes:
Front: You hold the key to my heart.
Inside: Luckily, I have the number to a good locksmith, in case you fuck up. Seriously. He’s under “L” in my contacts on my phone. Take a look for yourself. I’ll wait…
Front: Forever is a very, very, very long time.
Inside: “For now” seems much more realistic, dontcha think?
Front: I am lucky!
Inside: I know this because I’ve slept with quite a few men. You’re not at the top of the list, but you’re not at the bottom either. Congrats – and thank you!
Front: We don’t know what the future holds, but I do know one thing.
Inside: Actually, no, I really don’t. Sorry. Thought I did.
Front: I love you so much…
Inside: …that I’m willing to clean the scary black mold out of the shower for you. But the soap scum stays. Can’t have you feeling too comfortable, after all.
Front: You are the best…
Inside: …I can do at this point in my life.
Front: We are meant to be.
Inside: (With any luck.) Fingers crossed!
Front: I love you with all my heart.
Inside: Even though my heart is cold. Any tiny. And shriveled. And if it were a color, it’d be black. And it’s likely dead, because I haven’t felt much from it in a long, long time. Just so you know.
Front: It’s our First Valentine’s Day!
Inside: Too bad it may be our last. Enjoy!
…and now, a special Valentine for Boyfriend Brett
Front: Shears to us!
Inside: Now stay the fuck away from my hair with your scissors. K? Love ya!
…and finally, what would a Valentine be without those annoying little convo hearts to put inside. But instead of “Sweethearts,” mine will be called “Bitter hearts.” Some samples, which would be oh-so-appropriate for certain people in my life:
And now, dear readers: I’m hoping to hear from you. Please leave a comment below – and no pressure, but keep in mind these are probably the only Valentines I’ll get this year, as Boyfriend Brett shares the same disdain I hold for this happy holiday. Possible topics may include:
- Do you think less of me now that I’ve shared my artichoke/animal and/or curb feeler revelations?
- Do you have your own prototype “Hallmark of Pain” Valentine to add to my list? Or a customized version of a “Bitter Heart” for that special someone?
- Will you be hitting the KY tonight?
- How did you celebrate your VD? (That’s Valentine’s Day, in case you’re wondering…)
And btw, I celebrated by rocking my wicked awesome V-Day t-shirt.
Because, and I never thought I’d utter these totally dreamy, romantic, dare I say quixotic words ever again, but here goes: It completes me.
Move over, Renée Zellweger. You had me at “Love makes me puke!”