Monday, February 14, 2005
From Me To You With Gut-Wrenching Terror
Just because I'm single doesn't mean I should be left out of the Valentine's Day festivites. I took it upon myself to conduct a research project to better inform my contemporaries about the inside secrets of the so-called Hallmark Holiday.
Yes, that's right, I went to a Hallmark store. My intention was to interview the staff and to learn just what they thought about the whole business. Of course, today is the worst possible day to attempt such a stunt. When I arrived on the scene, about 30 minutes ago, there were long lines of guys wearing defeated facial expressions. They stood there, shoulders slumped, abjectly clutching ceramic figurines and boxes of raspberry chocolates.
I decided a tour of the store would be in order. I used to visit this particular location often as a child. There was a Flipside Records next door where I'd buy Yo MTV Raps trading cards and B-52s cassingles for my imitation brand walkman. I'd frequently venture into the Hallmark to see if any new jigsaw puzzles were in stock that I could add to my list. You know, the "please daddy buy this for 10 bucks and you'll get at least 30 hours of shut-the-fuck-up time" list.
I don't know if Hallmark changed or I did. The puzzles are still there. But the card section seems larger. Once I passed the soon to be inflated pastel holiday section (that's Easter to you) I discovered that you can buy a Valentine for more people than just your sweetheart. You can send one to every person you've ever shared oxygen with, and some you haven't.
I was tempted to buy a box of valentines that were pre-printed "To Little Johnny, I wish you were born. It is deeply saddenning to me that my Godless daughter took your life a mere week after conception. She will burn in a lake of eternal fire, but I will join you when they turn this respirator off. Stand true with St. Peter at the gate, and I will join you soon. There I will sing you the lullabies that Jesus told me you long for so keenly." I would send these out anonymously, all marked with a return address from the Bethel Baptist Church on Roselle Road. The only thing that held me back is that I would never see a return on my investment. I would not have the opportunity to witness the facial expressions of the recipients or the looks of consternation the church staff would express upon reading the angry repsonses.
I learned something else. There is a secret war going on in this country that all men and most pre-menopausal women know nothing about. It involves ceramic figurines and candles. I am dimly aware that many enterprising women have graduated from Mary Kay and Tupperware to hosting house parties to hawk scented candles and Hummel figurine variety bric-a-brac. How are they to succeed when corporate behemoths like Hallmark are hiring twinkly eyed matrons in turtlenecks to sell these items from storefronts, complete with homespun wisdom and soup recipes?
I'm not even going to touch the Christmas ornament issue. That's enough for today. 2:45 PM - Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm
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