[As it turns out, I am occupied today with certain...umm...particular matters, so I am re-posting last year's subtly-edited blog post. See you on the other side.]
As we approach the day of reckoning, the most dreaded day of the year for many of us, perhaps it's of some comfort to realize that it's all based on someone being executed. Yes, long ago Mr. Valentine was killed for daring to marry couples in secret against the wishes of the government. Romans, you know. So strict. Strange how what goes around comes around. At any rate, he paid for his crimes. And there is nothing more romantic than that, right? Dying for love, for the cause of love. So, well, there's that. Otherwise, it sucks.
Chocolate, flowers, tokens of affection, greeting cards, love notes.... Most of this slush funding comes as crass commercial putsch, of course. Marketing 101. It's all just a crummy money mill. Invent a season and sell stuff for the season--or else you will be labeled a rube, called insensitive, shown the door as the truly despicable person you are! It's foolproof inasmuch as only fools fall for it. And there are so many fools among us. Especially this week. I fall for it every year. But not this year!
So this love thing.... What is it? Science tells us it's nothing more than a firing of neurons. It's a biochemical reaction to a certain stimulus. See a pretty face, feel happy. A pretty face is determined based on genetic programming and environmental quirks. We know what we like. For men, it's easy: there are ass men, boob men, and so on. For women...well, I've read they like broad shoulders and a non-physical attribute called confidence. Magazines can be wrong, I hear.
Even so, it's a walking stimulus. Advertising is based on walking stimuli; Valentine advertising is based on sex-related stimuli. The problem is that such stimuli exists year-round, so what's the big deal for one particular day of the year? Because, dear lovers of love, if you do not demonstrate said love to said lover on or near this special day, you are a dolt best and an ex-lover in the making at worse. There is no middle ground, only a pit of ruin. And that pit is not filled with chocolates.
Yet never fear! We have the means to solve your problem. Just like the commercials now on radio and television and with increasing annoyance the Internet (every single ^&@#$%^&* web page!) there is a message that you (me? yes, you!) have a problem. You did not know you had it but you do. And it will zap everything that makes you you right out of you! You do not want that problem, do you? Obviously not.
So for a certain amount of money we can give you something which will solve that problem. Drug companies seem to do this, too, and clearly have mastered the art.
You go along with your simple, unadorned life thinking it's just a matter of getting older, not having a quality sleep, suffering a poor diet, not having enough friends, or at least not enough cool, hip, advertising-worthy friends (but who can ever have enough of those?), and then...B A M ! ! ! No, it's not your fault, so don't worry. Besides, we have a solution.
Buy this! Plenty to choose from. Eat this! Drink that! Take this! Wear this! Drive that! Look this way! Pay me! Pay us! Pay all of us! Or else you are not the person you want to be. Or else you can never be the kind of person you think you are! Give us money and we will roll back time, give you a make-over, prep you for your big re-debut, help you sweep the lover of your dreams off his/her feet! We will make you a god/goddess!
Give us your money. It's that easy.
Oh, for shame. Got no money? Well, then you don't count. Never counted, in fact. And who would want you in their lives anyway? That is, without the money to buy all the solutions you obviously need to fix all the problems you obviously have in order to fit into this perfect, virtual society we have constructed and dutifully maintain for the glory of all who worship the almighty Valentine and his many minions of Münchausen mania! Because only then will you be worthy of membership in the Valentine Club!
Just click off the obstinate media and return to your humble, quiet existence. Perhaps cuddle up with a wonderfully understanding book boyfriend or book girlfriend. Many do. It's not that weird. Three-hundred pages or so will definitely last longer than an awkward round of that sexercise thing you used to do--well, that was before that Valentine thorn stuck in your side started to hurt.
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