Far from the maddening crowd
a decidedly non-traditional take on Valentine’s Day
Say what you want about Al Capone, he was a teddy bear as far as his family was concerned.
“Well heart of mine”, he wrote from prison to his college-age son, “I sure hope things come our way for next year, then I’ll be there in your arms.”
Al was not as sentimental about Valentine’s Day though. He seized the day in 1929 as the perfect time for gunning down seven of his enemy’s associates. While the other gangsters were pitching woo to their Molls in the Windy City, Scarface was plotting and ordering hits from the safety of his Floridian love nest.
In this way, Capone was a man after my own . . . ahem . . . heart. Why bother wasting precious resources running with the crowd when you can accomplish so much more going your own way?
“Men . . . think in herds. It will be seen that they go mad in herds while they only recover their senses one by one.” — Charles McKay, 1841
In an interesting article entitled Diamonds are Bullshit, author Rohin Dhar points out the folly of diamond engagement rings: “You might want one because it looks pretty or [because it’s] a status symbol to have a ‘massive rock,’ but not because it will store value or appreciate in value”
Diamonds, while sparkly and beautiful are not rare — not even a little bit.
Prior to advancements in mechanized industrial mining, only Kings, Queens, Sultans and Maharajahs sported diamonds.
The DeBeers cartel, the ones who control the mines, have been hoarding diamonds in their vaults for a hundred years. Their goblins release a slow and steady trickle of stones, available only to a select few distributors. The result: ridiculously high diamond prices.
A clever 1939 advertising campaign, charmed besotted young bachelors into spending first one, then two month’s hard earned cash on hunks of shiny carbon. Carbon, one of the most common elements in the galaxy! According to one article, diamonds fall like rain on Jupiter and Saturn! My Granny had a real diamond in her engagement ring but she never wore it; afraid of losing the jewel, she wore a big, honkin’ zircon instead.
“If she won’t live forever, why give her a diamond? “ — International Sapphire Council
Sensibly celebrating a holiday really is a matter of timing.
The standard Valentine’s Day protocol represents the worst possible combination of unreasonable expectations, perishable commodities in the supply chain, guilt and the crippling fear of loneliness.
At least refrigerated eggs last a couple of months; that makes the Easter Bunny’s job way easier than Cupid’s even with his army of florists.
Long-stemmed roses for your paramour on Valentine’s day are always far more expensive and nearly always of significantly lower quality.
Last year, I remember a waiter at Logan’s Steakhouse lamenting the price of flowers. I suggested he head over to the lawn and garden department of Home Depot and purchase his honey a really nice potted plant. He loved the idea. If chocolates are your thing, why not celebrate on February 15th instead when all that candy is half price and just as sweet?!
“Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups.” — George Carlin
Although Valentine’s Day is a terrible time for a romantic dinner, another holiday is far worse.
Anybody who’s ever worked in the restaurant industry can tell you Mother’s Day is always the #1 answer if you’re a contestant on Family Feud.
During this most awful dining day, establishments are crowded, kitchen and wait-staff are stressed, and food suppliers struggle for days to provide ingredients of satisfactory quality in ridiculous and often insufficient quantity. Valentine’s Day probably enters the list of rotten-dining days in second place.
I have a friend who belongs to the Ethiopian Orthodox church. Since his people use a different calendar for determining holy days, Orthodox Christmas is usually a couple of weeks after everyone else’s.
How fortunate for Orthodox gift shoppers. What bargains abound!
I understand Puerto Ricans do their main gift-giving on Dia de Reyes, in celebration of the Three Wise Men arriving in Jerusalem with presents. Again, imagine the bargains!
I wonder if Mary and Joseph went out for Chinese food shortly after Baby Jesus’ arrival that first Christmas Day? An important theological question, if ever there was one. And General Tsao’s Chicken? Oy, What a bargain!
Why subject Mom, Grandma, or dear Aunt Margaret to such a trial as dining out on Mother’s Day?
How much better to prepare an inexpensive and, most importantly, homemade baked chicken with box-brownies baked with love?
How about a picnic with chicken salad, the kind with grapes? Moms like that!
Why consign your special loved one to a mediocre Valentine’s Day experience running with the pack of other love-sick wolves?
Even a tasty nosh from the deli is guaranteed good times when served up with genuine affection and some binge-watching on Netflix. Take my advice and do the same for your honey today . . . or maybe treat yourself and/or a friend.
Did you ever notice how lyrics jump out when you hear a great cover of a song you know really well? To all lovers, alone or in maddening groups of two or more, Happy Valentines Day wishes: