Thursday, April 28, 2011

Course Overload #26: Bah, Lovebug!

With another holiday coming up, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about holidays in general. We all know that holidays are like expensive restaurants: some, like Wendy’s, are just better than others, like Bob’s Slop Emporium… but why? On my way to class one frigid afternoon, I pondered the situation.

Some holidays are undeniably great, like Easter, Christmas and Arbor Day. They’re the holidays you wait all year for, and fall into a deep depression when they end. You know what I’m talking about – pretty much any holiday where someone gives you something for free, unless it’s a dead, rotting caribou or a copy of Open Water on DVD.

Most other holidays won’t make you wet your pants in the middle of Wal-Mart, but they’re still pretty nifty. A good example is Halloween. If we all got the day off from school and work and those dirty children came around handing out candy instead of begging for it in ridiculous costumes, I could probably be fed Halloween intravenously as some sort of plasma-like, life-sustaining fluid. Alas, for some strange reason, a few people just don’t like having round after mind-numbing round of children dressed as insipid Pokémon viciously pounding on their door until 3 a.m.

Gimmie all your candy, bitches!

Thanksgiving fits nicely into this category as well: Although you get to gorge yourself on delicious meat products to proudly uphold America’s tradition of being the most grossly obese nation in the galaxy, rarely have I ever received a decent Thanksgiving present. In fact, I think it’s called Thanksgiving simply because it’s closer to Christmas, and that’s something for which to be thankful.

So, unless you’re some kind of heathen who can’t stand children masquerading as the undead and begging you for candy, all holidays fall into either the “life-sustaining” or the “pretty good, I guess” categories… except for one. Valentine’s Day has long been the subject of heated debate. There are legions of people out there, like women, who would defend it to the death. Yet, for every soldier fighting in the name of love, there’s another fighting in the name of sanity. Millions of people, like women without dates, despise this day of candy and roses and would just as soon donate their favorite eye charity than have to endure it. For example, before we got together, one of my exes used to refer to Valentine’s Day as “Bitter Island Day.” I guess she must have liked the name, because she still called it that when we were together for some reason, even though I took her to a nice romantic dinner at the local strip joint and bought her a PlayStation that we keep at my house.

In an attempt to bring together these warring factions, this phenomenon warrants closer investigation. Why do so many people hate Valentine’s Day? It carries the mark of an awesome holiday, because there’s a possibility of receiving a wonderful, free gift! Or maybe even several, with a bunch of red things with green stems to cushion the bounty during transport! And my God, you could even get some candy! It’s like Easter and Christmas combined! Which would be really confusing for Jesus.

No, it’s not what’s up for grabs on Valentine’s Day, it’s the method of receiving it that has so many people saying “Bah, lovebug.” You see, to receive anything, someone has to be madly in love with you and dash through a fiery gauntlet of horrors known as a “flower shop” to retrieve your gifts. Or, your boyfriend and/or girlfriend needs to go to Price Chopper and buy you a box of chocolates. With adversities like that, it’s a wonder that anyone gets any gifts at all.

But sometimes, Valentine’s Day rolls around, and you’re caught without a significant other. It all makes sense to me now; I can really see how it would be upsetting to not have someone to share your candy with. It makes me wonder what jackass came up with a holiday that not only excludes some people, but wildly alienates them as well. (Or, right. Thanks, Hallmark!)

But the more I thought about it, the more I realized something: There’s plenty of joy and fun to be had with a partner (like playing a multiplayer video game), but there’s also wonderful happiness you can find by yourself (like playing a single player video game). See, it’s all about enjoying the phase of life you happen to be in right now. Why tear yourself up inside about not having a date this Valentine’s Day when there are many, many more Valentine’s Days where you will have someone in the future? As a wise sheep once said on an episode of the old Garfield and Friends cartoon, “There are two kinds of problems: ones that you can solve, and ones that you can’t. There’s no sense worrying about the problems you can solve, and there’s no sense worrying about the ones you can’t.”

By the time I thought of all this, my class was over, and I was walking back to my car. Suitably, a cop car sped by, its sirens blaring.

“Sirens are so romantic, like Valentines Day,” I said out loud.

My girlfriend was standing by my car when I got there. She was smiling, so I did too so I wouldn’t get in trouble. But wait! Oh no! During all that thinking about holidays, I had forgotten that it was National Give Dead Animals to the Ones You Love Day!

I’m still trying to figure out how she got that dead, rotting caribou to swallow that copy of Open Water.

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