Conversation hearts and W-2 forms

It would be nice if I could begin with one of those aphoristic quotations in italics dealing with love. The kind of quotation which is printed on little plaques that people hang in their living rooms over bowls of potpourri and in pink on special deluxe brands of quilted toilet paper.

Such quotations are useful on many levels. They are a valuable tool for the time-strapped reader: (Ah, an article about love. Highly commendable.) They are also a handy outlet for overflow erudition that the author could not manage to fit into the essay itself. Sadly, having purchased a slew of low-budget toilet papers recently, my stock of quotes is rather low. Another impediment is that this column is not about love. Rather, it is about conspiracy. Conspiracy and February 14th, known in common jargon as Valentine’s Day.

Many people are unaware Valentine was a saint. He is famous for driving all the snakes out of Ireland, or some such feat. The date seems rather arbitrary. No one seems to know whether it commemorates his birth, death, or circumcision. No one cares. I certainly do not care, and I am not claiming anyone else should care.

What is significant, and what we should all care about, is that February 14th is one day before February 15th, which is exactly two months before tax day. Coincidence? I think not. You see, Valentine’s Day is one of the biggest conspiracies of all time, concocted by prurient government officials and the CEO’s of companies that produce items with no concrete consumer base, like balloons, fake flowers and talking underwear.

Couples who celebrate Valentine’s Day can take several routes. Because the nature of Valentine’s Day encourages people to dig deep into the depths of their characters and share with their significant others whatever they have found, some couples end up a little more enlightened than they may have wished. Sexual perversions or a tendency to write really bad poetry may surface. In severe cases, of the roses are red variety, the result is an immediate termination of the relationship. Such terminations are exceedingly painful to both parties. One party berates herself for terrible judgment while the other merely sits, stunned and battered, a shell of the person he once was. Both are involved in self-flagellation well into the month of April.

In less severe cases, both parties are disillusioned but attempt to patch up the mirage for another month or so. Then it ends, leaving them at their most emotionally vulnerable right around April 15th.

As for the couples pictured in advertisements for special weekend rates at glitzy hotels, couples who sail through Valentine’s Day in a blissful state, they know not what they do. They have been brainwashed by those insidious little candy hearts that appear every February.

We are all familiar with those candy hearts, and chances are it began in grade school. In the beginning, no one ever bought them, but somehow they were always present, sprinkled around various crannies or enticingly displayed in a paper bowl. Every year you tried them, certain that no product with such longevity could taste as terrible as you remembered.

After a few years of this, the low-level government agents whose job it was to sneak into grade schools everywhere and deposit large sacks of the aforementioned candy could reduce their work load. No longer children, adolescents were now indoctrinated into the candy-heart philosophy. They were buying them, bags at a time, without knowing or questioning why. Worse yet, they were incorporating the sugared inanities into their vocabularies.

Adolescent #1: “Be Mine.”

Adolescent #2: “Kiss Me. You Devil.”

Such unquestioning adolescents grew into unquestioning adults. They bought the balloons and fake flowers and talking underwear. They never questioned the justice of the ever-growing federal government. They never questioned why a nation would set aside one day a year when every citizen was societally induced to be romantic. They never questioned why this day would be exactly one day and two months before the day when Uncle Sam was praying everyone would hold hands and pledge allegiance and join together in one big un-question.

And every year Uncle Sam breathes a sigh of relief because the emotionally shattered and blissfully happy do join together, in blissful ignorance and celebrate, unknowingly, not-thinking.

Conspiracy theories tend to be rather trendy. Believe this one, or not, as you wish. Just be alert, and if someone with a glassy film over their eyes approaches you and says, “Fax Me. Say Yes,” please, please do not respond with “Foxy.”

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