The Peanut Gallery – 2/15/11

by Andrew Gjefle

God help us, it’s that time of year again – a horrifying, smarmy reminder of the state of way the world sees things. The signs are everywhere. Pink fills the air at times not called sunset and has reached a point where the burliest redneck thinks, “Eh, it’s not that bad.” The air reeks faintly of tenderness and an extra spritz of co­logne or perfume. People of the opposite sex are actually willing to talk to me. It’s got me on edge, and there can be only one culprit: An abomination that goes by the name of Valentine’s Day.

This holiday has tormented me over the years like no other. From the infa­mous lollipop choking incident to the time my inability to distinguish “lilies” from “dandelions” had my grandmother screaming at me (apparently, even when you don’t have a girlfriend, you’re still obliged to spend money), the day has been like an annual slapfest centered on my self-esteem. I did what any mature person would do and became unhappy and jaded, viewing the holiday as a mali­cious, conniving entity, out to destroy the well-being and bank accounts of young men everywhere.

So, like any good journalist, I decided to investigate my antagonist with the help of Wikipedia. I discovered that the celebration of love in connection with Saint Valentine makes no sense at all. First of all, the title “Valentine” is a his­torical mish-mash (like the Power Rang­ers!) of several early Christian martyrs with the same name. Also, none of them did anything to deserve their connection with romantic love. In all fairness, Valen­tine’s Day ought to be one of wailing and torn clothes (which, coincidentally, is ex­actly what I do); as it is, we’re dancing on the martyrs’ graves.

Blasphemy aside, Valentine’s Day en­courages a possessive frenzy equaled only by Steve Jobs and that old coot sit­ting on his porch, defending his lawn with a shotgun. One time, I saw a girl I didn’t even know run up to my brother, grab him by the hair and yell, “MINE!”, after which several others who hadn’t even noticed till then broke down crying.

At this point, though, Valentine’s Day has become an unstoppable force, and nothing short of the end of the world will stop it. Heck, the Catholic Church removed the holiday from its calendar of saints in 1969, but it has continued ever since, though perhaps for good rea­son. Word has it President Obama’s new stimulus plan is centered around Febru­ary flower sales.

By the time you read this, dear read­er, the dreaded day will have come and gone, but its noxious effects will linger. There will be second dates, wilting flow­ers, and bad poems tacked to walls. Dis­gusting. Most noticeable is the spirit of good cheer that has managed to pervade my wall of postmodern existential angst. How dare they create a day in which to indulge the deepest and truest form of a passion which holds humanity together! Doesn’t it get enough of that already? In any case, I’m going to get fat from all this dang chocolate.

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