Valentine’s Day is the worst holiday ever foisted upon the natural human (except maybe Christmas).
The idea that one day or another should be special for one particular reason or another is utterly bizarre, especially when our consumer culture has indelibly etched the need to satisfy our loved ones with useless tokens of affection designed to represent our understanding of their needs, desires and affectations. If we were to live in a way that represented our affection and compassion for one another on a daily basis, we wouldn’t need this bullshit. I love you. I really do. But if you need flowers for proof, you’re an idiot, and I am failing to show my love in some other way.
I am not a puppet. And your list of requirements? You can shove it, because you aren’t a princess. You’re just a human being, a temporary arrangement of dust. If you are lucky enough to be touched by something tender in this life, you will prove to be a rare beast indeed.
Over on Facebook, there’s been a cyber chain-letter going around called “25 Random Things About Me.” It’s meant to be a project of self-revelation; once you’ve been “tagged” (i.e. received someone else’s list), you compose your own list of 25 bits of information, and then you send it out to 25 of your friends or “friends.” One of my non-Facebook friends finds it disturbing that we would have to use a social-networking tool to learn such things about one another, but I think it helps to get these casual details out of the way in order to get to more meaningful territory.
I’ve made a number of “25” lists. I started with a list of song lyrics from songs I heard about me. Like so: I’ve got two eyes, they’re both the same size, and I believe I can fly.
The next list I made was “25 Things that Aren’t About Me.” Here, I made up a bunch of stuff, like “I once wrote a song for Mel Tillis and won a Grammy,” and “I have five rows of teeth.” Some of my friends thought I was lying and said they thought these things really were about me. Can you believe that? It’s crazy.
With my most recent list, I really put it on the line, revealing myself in ways no one had before (to my knowledge). This list included true facts about me. Here is a sample:
2. I am taller than I am wide.
8. Most of the things I eat are food.
11. I can count to infinity but I choose not to.
12. Walking is one of my most common activities.
13. Sitting down is something I do a lot, too.
17. I have been to Indiana.
20. I have taken a ride in a car or bus.
22. When I use shoes, I put them on my feet.
23. Another thing I do a lot is sleep but really no more than once or twice a day.
24. I have had at least one conversation about weather.
25. One thing that I have never done, but will probably do some day, is die.
It was amazing to discover that my friends and I had so many things in common!
Of course, I am still working on my “real” list. I have narrowed it down to 793 items (damn if there aren’t a lot of “things” about me), and I have started sorting them into a variety of sub-lists: historical facts, philosophical positions, cultural affectations and favorite tofu recipes (oddly, one of the longer lists). If you are really interested, send me an e-mail and I will forward a link to my secret blog.
Meanwhile, here’s a list of things you can buy for your Valentine. Don’t bother getting me anything. All I want is a good steak dinner, and I already have the steaks.
1. “Watchmen” action figures. Yeah, Rorshach is awesome, but the Silk Spectre (Modern) has nipples! Your lonely geek friend will love this. The movie opens March 6. Get your tickets now!
2. The first 12 volumes of the bloody, incredible graphic novel series, “100 Bullets.” Volume 13 will collect the last 13 issues later this year.
3. Louisville is for Lovers 2009: Lies/Loss. This year’s edition of John King’s annual compilation showcases an embarrassingly excellent pool of talent. You’d think Louisville had a music scene!
4. “Burn Notice, Season One” on DVD. All the lovers love Bruce Campbell.