Thursday, February 15, 2007

SAINT Valentine's Day?

SAINT Valentine’s Day?
I don’t know why the Valentine’s day mania has gotten
so out of hand, but it is clear that there are a bunch
of sick people out there.

It all started Monday, when I took my eleven-year-old
to Wally World to catch the latest Valentine fashions.
She had to pick up something for her friend down the
street and then a couple of boxes for the yahoos in
her class. Thirty-two kids in the class, seems like
rather a lot of kids for one class to me, but
whatever. That meant that there were two boxes of
valentines to cover every last one of them. She
informed me that her sixteen-year-old sister needed a
package of kid valentines, too. I didn’t ask.

So we found the inexpensive stuffed animal without
“love” connotations, grabbed a little wire basket,
some candy and the obligatory tissue paper to line the
basket with.

“Do we need any candy?”, I asked her.

“No, we’re not passing out candy this year...”

Wonderful, we’re nearly done. While on the card aisle,
she couldn’t decide on which box of valentines to get
for her sister.

“Get ‘em both”, I wheezed, “and let’s go”.

So she threw them both in the basket and we sprinted
to the checkout. And we escaped without any major
injuries and the only damage was a bill of $27. Not
bad. I guess. For Valentines. Thinking I was all done
with hooligan duty, I thought it a small price to pay.

Tuesday night while teaching my class, I was interrupted
by the clucking of my cell phone. Knowing that my family usually only
disrupts my class in a dire or near-dire situation that
requires my immediate intervention/knowledge, I
tentatively answered the phone, only to find out that
I was required to stop by the store on the way home to
retrieve a couple of bags of suckers.

On the way home, I stopped into a different (but
exactly the same) gigantic discount warehouse store to
pick up the requested items. I headed back to the
special revolving holiday section where all the
chocolate and stuffed animal treasures reside.

As I hurriedly peered down the aisles to try to find
those suckers, I marveled at the utter chaos that was
evident in those canyons of desperation. As the
vacant-eyed souls clawed through the picked over items
that were originally intended to bring joy to lucky
lovers, I realized that at 9:45 p.m. on the night
before the single biggest forced holiday on the planet
that nobody really wanted to be there. If they had
wanted to be there, they would have been there the day
before. Right? They were there because they had either
forgotten someone or were guilted into getting a gift.

On not finding any suckers in the melee, I passed a
bewildered-looking employee who stood staring at the sad
collection of stuffed bears who were in turn staring at the ceiling with vacant eyes, cute monkeys with footprints on their faces, and broken-stemmed chocolate roses. I commented that the place looked
absolutely molested. He smiled sadly and knowingly.
While I had his attention, I inquired if there were
any packages of suckers anywhere to be found in the
entire hangar. He indicated that the grocery end of
the cavern may hold some.

Well, he was right, and not a moment too soon. The Dum Dum pops were broken into, and the Snoopy Suckers only contained 12 pieces. That was when I spied the Garfield Fruit Pops, 30 to a bag, for $1.26 per.

So, with all the tearing and stomping and clawing and eye-rolling going on, who was this "Saint Valentine", and what was he REALLY known for?


Rob V. said...

aAron --
You really do have a gift at descriptive writing. You ought to write a novel (in your spare time).
As to Saint Valentine -- he was an underground mobster who was executed in a gang turf war in Chicago in 1924. The bloodbath came to be known as the "St. Valentine's Day Massacre." Somehow, American capitalist retailers put a positive spin on the event and have turned it into a multi-billion dollar celebration of consumerism. Aint free enterprise grand? Did you save me any Garfield Fruit Pops?

aA said...

Mr. V,
no, sadly, i have never seen the Garfield pops again.

maybe they are wearing cement shoes in the bottom of mustang bayou...