Valentine's Day

Chad W. Lutz
Ah, Valentine’s Day. That very special time each year couples and loved ones celebrate the joy and comfort of each other’s company. For many, it’s about as good a reason as any to dry heave. For others who enjoy the holiday, it’s a special moment honoring a bond shared between two people. Over the years, many people have grown to loathe Valentine’s Day, which, in their minds, is equivocated to an over-hyped Hallmark marketing ploy.

The history of Valentine’s Day is rather dark and brooding. The entire holiday is based around the politically charged assassination of a Roman priest around 269 AD. The priest, Valentinus, as referred to in his Latin tongue, was accused and charged with providing aid to jailed martyrs. Valentinus was eventually beaten and beheaded for his treasonous behavior, of which we now commemorate by buying our sweeties and snookums precious shiny objects and chocolate-covered what-have-yous.

Other theories on the origin of St. Valentine’s Day include a supposed mid-February Roman ritual in which boys would draw the names of girls (literally draw) to honor the goddess of sex. Pope Gelasius I first established the holiday in 496 AD, although later removed from the General Roman Calendar in the late-1960s. Historically, the concept of romantic love and Valentine’s Day began during the High Middle Ages when courtship was a testament of valor. As a child I can’t remember being taught any of this. But who’s to say a little candy didn’t distract me from sitting still or paying attention to lesson.

Back in the days of L.A. Gear shoes, Sonic the Hedgehog, and Michael Jordan, a piece of candy was about all it took to get me to sit still for a few minutes. Did the effect ever really last that long? Not really, but it served its purpose in persuading me to craft giant red, white and pink elephants entirely out of construction-paper hearts and unnecessary amounts of Elmer’s Glue.

Today, I almost feel torn. I remember my childhood, and how much fun it was to go around the room and pass out Valentine’s and scribble extra-secret notes like, “You are pretty,” and, “I really like you,” to the young lassies who patrolled my heart. Now, well, it depends on the year, I suppose. There are no parties at work with trays upon trays of sugar-frosted cookies, no Letter-People feature to serve as both a break in the studies and a lesson in spelling. I’ll go into work on Tuesday and I’ll be lucky to get a smile out of my co-workers, let alone a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Valentine proclaiming, “I like you as much as pizza!” As an adult, Valentine’s Day is almost tragic, almost if it weren’t for my love of Love.