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  Issue 26 - Miscellaneous - Valentines Day

“Random Thoughts for Valentine’s Day”
Deanna Rilling

“Today is a holiday invented by greeting card companies to make people feel like crap.”
–Jim Carrey as Joel Barish in “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”

Valentine’s Day. You either love it, hate it, or try to ignore it completely. I’m still undecided on my feelings about the holiday and have remained so since around the time I realized candy conversation hearts were made of chalk (approximately age 10). Currently, V-Day does remind me of how February 14 is a horrible day to make dinner plans- unless you’re going to an establishment where you look up at the menu.

My memories of the holiday are decidedly fuzzy, as I’ve tried to block the majority of recollections about the annual love fest from my mind. All I know is flower stands begin to appear on street corners that were previously occupied by Christmas trees. I find it highway robbery how the price of a dozen roses is jacked up in February while the quality of the flowers significantly declines.

I’ve gone through a variety of phases in my approach to celebrating this day of pink and red ad nauseam. At first, I looked forward to Valentine’s Day with enthusiasm. Then again, I was in elementary school and hadn’t yet become the jaded twenty-something writing on the subject of the holiday for a magazine. However, early memories of V-Day generally involve lots of heart-shaped chocolate and miniature perforated greeting cards inside transparent envelopes. If one was daring enough, you’d attempt to give an anonymous Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle card to a member of the opposite sex. Oh, but you mustn’t forget to disguise your amateur block printing for fear you’d be tortured with the “Sittin’ on a Tree” song, or the threat of cooties.

Fast-forward to my eighth grade year. Apparently, 7-Eleven must have stocked up on those tacky synthetic roses dyed in colors that could never occur in nature. I felt like every girl in junior high that Valentine’s Day was proudly displaying her plastic-protected novelty flower… except me. Then again, I was a late bloomer. My lack of sweater muffins must have been undesirable to 13 year-old boys. Needless to say, I still craved one of those cigarette-scented checkout counter roses more than another Nirvana shirt from Hot Topic.

After I dragged my Converse-clad feet home from the bus that day, I gorged myself on a Whitman’s Sampler. My neighborhood friend, Ronnie, sensed my malaise. Around an hour after I was finished picking through the box of chocolates (I had eaten all of the caramels, so there wasn’t anything worthwhile left), Ronnie invited me over to her house. There, she handed me a stack of those familiar flimsy envelopes. My self-loathing concerning my lack of early-teen mojo was remedied, courtesy of some Crayola markers and a pack of Tiny Toons drugstore Valentines. Ronnie and her younger sister addressed an entire box of cards to me, then “signed” them from my legion of admirers, such as Billy Joe, Kurt Cobain, and, of course, Jordan Catalano (AKA Jared Leto before he wore guy-liner).

For the next few years, I floundered through high school and attempted to make a statement by wearing all black for Valentine’s Day. I had a few positive memories of the holiday, such as when our friend, Chad, bought roses for all of his female friends (totally classy). On V-Day my senior year, my “high school sweetheart” went overboard with the “I love you” stuffed animals and roses, but he was probably just feeling guilty for being a lying, cheating S.O.B. (a pattern which he continued into adulthood and damaged my ability to accept flowers without being suspicious the giver has done something wrong… but I digress).

Still, I’m determined to make this year’s V-Day something I refuse to dread. Though eating a pint of Ben & Jerry’s and watching my single guy friends play Guitar Hero last year turned out to be mildly amusing, I’m thinking about taking a different approach this time around. I may just be inclined to bust out the construction paper and glitter and get crafty with some homemade Valentines for my buddies. Or maybe I’ll get smashed. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

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