So I go to the grocery store today, the day before Valentine’s Day, and right in front of the door as soon as I walk in, is the Vortex of Valentine’s Guilt Driven Merchandise.
There were overpriced flowers of every shade of pink you could imagine.
There were all kinds of conversation-heart candy, packaged in a variety of annoyingly cute boxes and bags.
There were Stickers and Cards and little red stuffed puppies with obnoxious bows and velvet hearts.
And there were boxes of chocolates. Chocolates for all kinds of people. The Russell Stover for the cheap bastards. The Hersheys for the middle class. And the Dove, Lindt, and Ghiradelli for the elite echelon of gullible patrons.
But the kicker for me, the absolute Hardy Har Har of Valetine’s Kitschy Crap, was the ginormous heart-shaped box of chocolates in the center of the display. This thing had to be 3 feet in diameter, was covered in cheesy brilliant red velvet, had a satin bow the size of a cantaloupe on the front of it…and get this…it was made by Russell Stover! Here it is, the biggest heart, the mother-of-all Valentine’s Day Kiss-Ups, the one that some in-the-doghouse guy would soon bring home to his lady love, and it was Russell Stover! That brand is like 99% paraffin, and maybe…maybe…1% cocoa. Why would anyone go to the trouble of buying a ginormous heart of cheap chocolate? Nothing says “I’m trying to make up for something I did to piss you off” like a ginormous box of cheap chocolate.
When I was growing up, Valentine’s day wasn’t so commercialized…or if it was, my parents didn’t buy into it. I’d get a sweet card, and maybe a box of chocolates in a small heart-shaped box. And the day was about love. Sure, it was parental/child love, but it was simple and sweet and not mercenary.
To carry on this simple and sweet tradition, I have been a stickler about my kids making their Valentine’s cards or crafts for their father. I believe there should be some effort from the giver to the receiver. Am I the only person in the world who still buys paper doilies? Quite possibly. Do I believe whole heartedly in glitter and glue and asymmetrical paper hearts cut out by dull kiddie scissors? For Sure. Am I so cynical about the materialist nature of today’s Valentine’s Day that I would scoff at a pair of diamond earrings and a dozen red roses?
I’m only human.
(and don’t forget the box of Lindt chocolates, please.)