With February comes Valentine’s Day and all the hoopla that comes with it. Jewelry stores, candy makers and the folks at Hallmark Cards seem to “love” Valentine’s Day the most. The rest of us seem to just go through the motions.
A lot of folks think Hallmark invented the holiday just so they could sell a lot of cards.
However, the true “Saint Valentine” is somewhat of a mystery. There are varying schools of thought and legends of where the original Saint Valentine came in and little naked angels with curly hair started shooting folks with arrows and hitting them in the head with candy hearts. I’m not Catholic and I don’t know much about the saints.
The Catholic Church recognizes no less than three different saints named Valentine or something close to it in Italian, all of whom were martyred. One of the legends or “Valentines” was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. During this time the emperor decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families. Therefore, this emperor made marriage illegal for young men hoping they could swing a sword better.
The legend holds that Valentine realized that the emperor’s law against marriage was just not right. So Valentine got the notion to help these fellows out. He performed marriages for the young lovers in secret. The Emperor (Claudius II) got wind of this and had Valentine put to death. I’m not sure if they chopped his head off or the curly haired naked guys shot him with heart shaped arrows or what, but they killed him.
Love can break your heart and as the legend goes, it can get you martyred (or dead). In the words of Forrest Gump, “I’m not a smart man… but I know what love is.” I think I know what love is and what it is not.
One psychiatrist explains Valentine’s Day in the following way, “February 14th is an excellent example of a man-made cultural nexus of exultation and disappointment.” There are at least three five dollar words in that phrase. The same psychiatrist went on to start to talk about Buddha’s ideas.
I’m not Buddhist, thus I stopped reading, thinking I wouldn’t understand. Love is complicated and challenging, but five dollars words only make it more so. I understand what the psychiatrist was saying.
Being a numbers guy, I thought I would look into Valentine’s Day. In 2013, approximately $13.19 Billion dollars will be spent. That’s $13,190,000,000.00. It looks more romantic when you write it out, doesn’t it?
180 million cards will be exchanged, with women buying 85% of those. 196 million roses are produced, with men buying 73% and women 15% to send to themselves. I suppose the other 12% are martyred.
This year, the average consumer will spend about $116 on Valentine’s Day. Last year, the amount was about $123. That’s between 5 and 6 percent less. I don’t think the cost of a Hallmark card or box of Whitman’s Samplers has gone down. This could be explained by the fact that our paychecks have gone down (if you haven’t noticed).
Divorce lawyers also see an increase of about 40% in their business in February; perhaps they have some sort of agreement with Hallmark.
One interesting statistic I found was that over 80% of the folks said they had rather have an “experience” rather than jewelry, chocolate or some other gift. The researchers couldn’t find out what the “experience” these folks were hankering for was.
Love holds different meanings for different folks. We can say the same about one’s ideas about “an experience.” You never know what is going on in a person’s head, let alone their heart.
What we all need is a batch of the “Love Potion Number 9” that the Clovers originally sang about in 1959. If you haven’t had the pleasure of hearing it, you need to give it a listen.
In the song, this fellow went to see “Madame Rue” (You know that gypsy with the gold-capped tooth). Anyway, Madame Rue looked at his palm and made some sort of magic sign, then she told him what he needed was, “Love Potion Number 9.”
The fellow noted that the magic potion smelled like turpentine and looked like Indian ink. Why Indian ink? I suppose because it rhymed with “sink,” and that’s where Madame Rue was mixing up the powerful stuff.
The bottom line was after holding his nose and closing his eyes – he took a drink. Then he started kissing everything in sight, including a policeman.
Madame Rue’s recipe was not quite right. It was too powerful. The only gypsy I’ve ever really heard about was Mayhayley Lancaster down around the Alabama-Georgia line – she’s been dead a long time. However, if she was alive, I would give her a $1.10 (a dollar for her and a dime for the dog) and ask her. Mayhayley was the best at what she did. She made a fortune telling fortunes.
Without a gypsy or a martyr, I have to come up with my own recipe for Love Potion Number 9.
Honestly, I think it would be very simple.
First there needs to be bacon, bacon bits or bacon grease. I’ve been reading about all of these wonderful things you can do with bacon grease. It has been scientifically proven that the smell of bacon cranks people’s tractors in a Valentine’s Day kind of way.
Okra – yes, okra. They say Cleopatra ate okra, or at least something like okra. Cleopatra was beautiful and love should be beautiful - so we need the okra. Some form of bacon and some form of okra. I suppose it could be fried okra, pickled okra or roasted okra. I’m not much on boiled okra.
Love smells good; it looks good, now I just need something to give it a kick. It needs to be something hard to find like bat whiskers or mosquito wings. Honestly, there is only one thing I can think of that would give my Love Potion Number 9 the kick it needs.
Yes, make it a dirty (dancing) hair. You know the kind you can’t catch or get out of your food. I have this thing for the scene in the movie, “Dirty Dancing,” where Jennifer Grey (“Baby”) does the “shaky move” on the log dancing with Patrick Swayze.
I need a hair from Jennifer Grey, that would give it the kick (or shake) that it needs.
Bacon, okra and a hair doesn’t sound and sure wouldn’t look like something that would put you in the mood.
Love is never what you expect it to be.
Think about it this way. You can fry your okra in bacon grease, or you could drizzle your okra with bacon drippings before you roast it or you could sprinkle your pickled okra with bacon bits. Anyway you look at it; it has a hair in it. It should have a hair in it. Love has a hair in it.
Some people push the hair around, trying to avoid it, and then they call everyone they know just to talk about the hair, forgetting the smell of the bacon and the taste of the okra.
Other folks will sit for days, months, years, even lifetimes, staring and pointing out the hair in their bacon fried okra, refusing to ever eat it again.
Then there are those who don’t look for hairs or never saw the hair or won’t let on if they do. They'll just eat the hair.
Bless those who don’t look for hairs and those who know what real love is.
Thinking about it, I want to drizzle the okra with melted bacon grease, sprinkle it with Kosher salt and roast it. I’m not Jewish, but I love Kosher salt.
Jennifer Grey, please send me one strand of hair. You know how to get it to me.
Cranks My Tractor
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Tell 27 people you love them today; something good will happen.I'm BN Heard and I like semicolons, dogs and okra (anyway but boiled).