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Perspective on Valentine’s Day

Do you ever wonder about this Roman character, San Valentino, who was martyred when he died around 268 AD? He was the patron saint of courtly love, beekeeping and epilepsy, according to his Wikipedia page. That’s a trifecta right there. I’m not sure if the beekeepers celebrate him the way the lovers do, but you’ve got to hand it to the Christians, they’ve kept him busy in his afterlife.

Then again, I’m not sure how much work sainthood really entails anyway. Cupid seems to do all the early work. He was the son of Venus and Mars, which fittingly represented love and war, respectively. Most relationships have a healthy mix of each, for while we unite as one we remain independent as well. The key is the balance between unity and independence, as any long termer might point out.

The real winners on Valentine’s Day are the companies that cater to the audience: Hallmark, jewelry stores and florists, and the chocolate makers. For what says “I love you” like a gift from Kay? Humph. The hardest part of the lead-up to Valentine’s Day is navigating the card aisle at the local stores. Here you’ll find some of the lamest expressions of gushy love ever created. Which is why I head right for the humorous cards, looking for some magic in a clever punchline just inside. Inevitably most of these fail horribly as well, leaving you to find the best available under the circumstances. For me, a card that gives me enough room to write something more meaningful than the punchline is my first choice.

When you stack up enough Valentine’s Days with someone, the marketing doesn’t resonate quite the same. For you show your feelings with action and consistency and the occasional bouquet of flowers on a random Wednesday. Valentine’s Day is an acknowledgement that another year has gone by and I’ve still got your back. The rest is just clever punchlines and cheap chocolate.

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