Something More Than
Just Chocolate & Roses
Some people simply can’t help but being cynical about Valentine’s Day. We’re not them, but there may be something to it. After all, why do we celebrate love in a day dedicated to several ancient religious martyrs, all supposedly killed for their pious fervor?
Wikipedia lists them all, along with references to 14th century poet Geoffrey Chaucer, and some lore and arcana surrounding the date. What it doesn’t mention is the day’s infamous link with Al Capone, and the likelihood Halmark Cards are the biggest-selling item of the day.
BLOOD AND CARDS
The U.S. largest card maker, of course, plays down such view, mainly because they regularly cash in on other holidays throughout the year too. But it’s unlikely Hallmark will ever shake down the mistaken belief that they actually invented Valentine’s Day.
Back in 1929, when it was still known as Saint Valentine’s Day, it was already a tradition in the U.S. for lovers to exchange chocolate and roses, and off course, Hallmark cards too. But it took literal buzzkiller Al Capone, a notorious Chicago gangster, to tint it bloody red.
That’s when he ordered the elimination of seven foot-soldiers of his nemesis Bugs Moran and, perhaps on purpose, made romantics all over feel terribly guilty. Capone always had a penchant for gore and was years ahead of Hollywood publicists in manipulating tabloids. But, as we said, we’re not them, and today is definitely not the time to talk about murderous sprees of a bygone era, or a card company making a ‘killing,’ selling cards made of recycled paper. Thank goodness for small miracles.
That’s why we’ve been saving the picture that illustrates this post for so long. The skeletal remains of a Roman-era couple reveal the pair has been holding hands for 1,500 years!
The grave of the man and woman, who were buried together between the 5th and 6th century A.D. in central-northern Italy, was uncovered last year, during a routine excavation. More, the woman is wearing a bronze ring and appears to be gazing, elated, at her male partner.
Of course, and there come chiming the cynics of our shoulder again, there are many other plausible explanations for the discovery and, compared to the rich trove of archeological data originated by the ancient burial site, most of them are really irrelevant.
To us, though, well it’s touching, and it doesn’t matter that things could’ve been different had them been alive today. Can you imagine sticking with someone for that long, regardless whether you’re alive or dead? Letters to the editor.
HERE’S LOVE MOST FOUL
Which brings us to today’s most original program to take a date to: a romantic tour of the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant, a sludge-processing facility in New York City’s Greenpoint.
It’s an awfully environmentally-conscious way of spending a day that, let’s admit it, has its share of wasteful activities, not always conducive of love feelings and romance.
You and your date will get to see how the plant cleans 1.3 billion gallons of wastewater each day, at least some of it, stuff that has gone through your own track, all to produce plenty of methane and carbon dioxide gas.
At the end of the tour, you’ll be given Hershey’s kisses, to be enjoyed presumably some miles away from the building, but still. We can’t guarantee it but you may even impress your date with such a thoughtful and fun outing.
Or you can always volunteer at one of the city’s Soup Kitchens or Food Banks. We hear that days like today help at such places is scarce and they can use a few extra hands to serve those who may not even care that today is Valentine’s Day.
However you choose to celebrate it, and as long as it’s harmless to everyone, we do wish our readers a very happy day. We still get a bit emotional by the sight of lovers showing affection to each other.
Unless, of course, it’s a ‘in your face’ thing, in which case we tend to let them all have it. We’re funny that way.