What’s love got to do with it?

Did you know greeting cards are a billion-dollar business? It’s estimated North Americans alone spent more than $6.3 million on them last year.
If you consider that Valentine’s Day comes second only to Christmas in the greeting card wars, then you can figure a few dollars went into those sweet, mushy cards that celebrate romance and love each Feb. 14.
So what exactly is it that we are celebrating? For many people with kids, like myself, romance can come in as little a gesture as putting a new roll of toilet paper on the roll.
Keeping that in mind, I decided I would try this year to celebrate this wonderfully romantic holiday according to its origins.
It seems that there is really no certain origin for the day–apparently it comes from two different stories that are both centuries old.
Back when Romans still wore togas and it was still okay to participate in the Olympics naked, there was a tradition on Feb. 15 courtesy of the Goddess of love, Juno, where the names of women were placed in a hat (or a cistern, or whatever they used back then) and men drew out the name of one of these women for feasting and a little nudge-nudge, wink-wink.
Today, I don’t think it would be considered legal to participate in such frivolity so let’s advance a few hundred years to the Christians.
It seems the Christians were not too happy with this tradition (I am not exactly sure why?) so the church decided it was time to tone down the celebrations.
The only way the church thought they could tone it down was to kill Juno, and they knew just the man to perform the difficult task–Valentinus.
But the Christians apparently didn’t give their plan much thought because it just so happened that Valentinus was in prison for performing non-sanctioned marriages.
Now the dilemma was how to get Valentinus out of jail? Whether this is true or not, the story goes that Valentinus restored the sight of the jailer’s daughter. And as a reward, he was released to do battle against Juno.
Well, that is where the story ends. No one knows whether Valentinus defeated Juno or not but considering we have a Valentine’s Day and not a Juno Day, I am going to surmise he did.
Now about the same time in history, there was this other guy called Valentine who was (you guessed it) in jail. It seems Valentine spent his days and nights writing love letters to a woman, up until his beheading under Emperor Claudis.
So, if I am correct, it looks like I have three choices of how to spend my Valentines Day.
1. Find a complete stranger and engage in promiscuity
This would just be too hard to do. First, I would have to find a baby-sitter, which is never an easy task. Then I would have to invite some of my husband’s buddies over, making sure there was something amazing on television so I could get away unnoticed.
I then would have to find a bar and make up a really good excuse to tell my husband as to why I didn’t come home all night. I then would have to pick up my son and take care of him all day with a hangover due to the fact that I would have to be drunk to have completed this task.
2. Get locked up in jail for the night and then restore someone’s sight
The first I am sure I could manage but the second thing might be a problem. I can pick strained peas out of almost any rug, and diaper a child in under five seconds, but I think curing the blind may be a stretch.
3. Get locked up in jail and write romantic limericks
As I already mentioned, I could do the first but as for the romantic limericks, I think there may be a snag. It seems the only limericks I know always start with “There once was a man from Nantucket . . . .”
So with those choices, I think I am going to stick with the sappy cards and a box of chocolates. The heck with tradition. I would rather spend my Valentine’s Day the old-fashioned way–totally commercialized.
Happy Valentine’s Day.

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