As I was considering what I might possibly write about Valentine’s Day that hasn’t already been written a million times before (it’s a holiday invented by greeting card companies, it’s fraught with the danger of overly-high expectations, it’s a time to share your love, blah blah blah), it occurred to me that bloggers, during the holidays, have a scary resemblance to grade school teachers. For both groups, holidays seem to be impossible to ignore.
Remember how in grade school every holiday, no matter how obscure, your teacher would break out all the appropriate decorations and plaster them on the walls of the classroom? Even Groundhog Day and President’s Day got considerable play at my grade school. I don’t think a teacher in the joint would have dared to ignore a single holiday (except all those blasphemous, religious non-Christian ones).
I bet there were a number of those teachers who wished to hell they didn’t have to crack out the dusty hearts and tattered cupids every February.
In my school when I was a kid, a few days before Valentine’s Day we would bring shoe boxes to school and proceed to put our artistic talents to work at turning these mundane pieces of cardboard into masterful testimonies to the power of love, the future receptacles of reams of tiny Valentines.
I used to secretly envy the kids who would haphazardly slap some construction paper on the top of the box, scribble a heart on it with whatever color crayon happened to be near, and call it good to go, thereby freeing up a considerable amount of time for chit-chat and general trouble-making.
I, being little miss goody-pants, would slave over the box, agonizing if the edges of my construction paper were not perfectly even, drawing and re-drawing countless hearts in an effort to make them perfectly symmetrical before cutting them out to paste on the box. The dilemmas over what colors to use, and if that doily would look good or not, and the frustrations of glitter sticking everywhere except where I wanted it … well, all this business certainly left no time for chit-chat.
I never once wondered what it was all for, or considered that there wasn’t any point to all this effort. The truth was that on Valentine’s day, you were going to get Valentines shoved in your box or you weren’t, and nobody based their Valentine-giving judgment on the quality of the decorated box.
I think that as I’ve aged, I’ve become better at determining what is worth my effort and what is not.
For instance, I’ll sit in my bunk and watch Maggie rip half a roll of paper towels to shreds and think, “I should stop that. Paper towels don’t grow on trees, ya know. Well, actually, they kind of do since paper comes from trees. But it’s not like I can just pluck a roll of paper towels off a tree. So that’s just wasted money down there. Might as well give the dog a couple bucks to chew on, it’s the same thing. I should stop that. Oh hell, the dog’s enjoying herself, and I don’t really want to have to haul my fat ass off this bunk right now. I’ll get it later.”
Apparently, I have a going rate of more than two bucks to heave myself out of this bunk. I appear to know exactly what my effort is worth. I bet I know in other areas as well, but haven’t really thought about it. Good to know the last 35 years haven’t been a waste in that department, anyway.
What else has not been a waste, have been the 17 years Hedon and I have been a couple. Today is our anniversary, of sorts. At any rate, it’s the day we agreed upon 16 years ago, even though I lobbied strongly against it because of the embarrassing corniness factor.
Still, it was 17 years ago today that Hedon and I said we loved each other as more than friends, making this our anniversary. There’s no one I know better than her, or who knows me better, and we still love and like each other. Not too shabby. And surprisingly, it didn’t take much effort either. Sometimes, you just get lucky.
Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone.