After the hate of Super Bowl Sunday has faded, and the groundhog has squeezed his plump hindquarters out of his hole, and the winter doldrums reach their dour, gray peak, we find the sunny artifice of Valentine’s Day. The day when you feel bad for being single and having no one special to kiss, or the day when you don’t lavish enough attention on your special someone and either way end up feeling clumsy in your own heart. We all know this day means nothing and everything. It is a day to compare your love to the love you see all around you. Oh, did your co-worker get flowers, did your sister get a chocolate truffle the size of a grapefruit, and did the neighbor get a big diamond ring from Zales? Are you feeling sufficiently jealous of others and coveting what they received? At least at Christmas, we can get past the jealousy and envy by celebrating in our own special way. Some people go to the cinema, or eat a huge feast with family, some go on holiday, or hibernate with a DVD collection. But on V Day, there is only one way to do anything, and that is with flowers, chocolates, terrible tasting heart candy and an expensive meal at your local, romantic Italian ristorante. The Hallmarks of the world found a way to get a consumer boom in the otherwise slow holiday season between New Years and Easter. The day was created by greed and fed by the need. The need to feel loved. If we can all remember the day is about celebrating the love between people and not the American idea of money buying love, we could have a less stressful moment. Don’t buy things, create memories together. If you have the money, create a big, flashy memory. If you’re broke, watch a sunset together. In either case, find something to celebrate yourselves and your relationship. Someone told me yesterday, “All life is made of, is the relationships between people.” It’s true to an extent; animals, nature and your setting play their own part too, but people make or break people. Make someone’s day today with a smile and a wish for good karma. There is no better gift than a positive future.
I look forward to the day of thanks like pedophiles look forward to the first day of school. I am gluttonous and ravenous and prime myself for the day. I always eat an early breakfast, drink water and try to excrete fully before the call of “it’s ready” comes from the kitchen. In Texas, we have Thanksgiving on Friday so we can watch the UT-A&M football game. It’s odd because everyone on the TV tells us that its turkey day, but I know it’s not. We watch the Cowboys and Lions and Longhorns, but we know our day isn’t until tomorrow. I wait patiently and stuff myself. After the initial fear of puking from overeating passes and I begin to digest, the realization that 364 days of longing has passed and the holiday season has begun settles in to my gorged brain. It is a purely American holiday. It is secular and not based on love. It is a family and friend based celebration. We, who can, eat all that we can. Those on a diet curse their body and those skinny few with high metabolism. The most fascinating part of the day is the traditions and foods that are on our table were probably not similar to the Pilgrims. It’s almost like we created a holiday based on true events but situated to be palatable to American tastes. The Natives gave the poor Pilgrims gifts and they ate together sharing each other’s good humor and feasting on the bountiful harvest. Shouldn’t we then bring food to the less fortunate and eat with them? It would change the meaning of Thanksgiving greatly. The banquet has become such a selfish occasion that most of us couldn’t possibly imagine spending the day away from our couches and dining room tables to spend the day with the unfortunate ones without associates. I know it would be hard for me, but I think it’s something I’d like to try. It would be an easy thing to do it on Thursday and then have our Friday buffet to continue our familial traditions. Let’s take the next year to think if that’s something we’d like to do and give thanks for our blessings, of which there are many.