When love is not madness, it is not love

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Spanish playwright Pedro Calderón de la Barca got it right over 300 years ago when he wrote of love and madness. On this day, we celebrate that reality with love, kisses and cash.

According to a survey reported in today’s Pittsburgh Tribune Review, “on average, lovebirds are expected to spend $116.21 each on V-Day merchandise.” If you’re 25 to 34, your average expenditure on Valentine’s Day is $189; if you’re over 65, then you’re getting by for about $60.

The temporary chocolate, balloon and flower department at the local Kroger—billed as the largest Kroger store in Georgia—was mobbed. Fortunately, I was just passing through en route to the Krispy Kreme doughnut display.

The facial expressions of those lined up, as though waiting for a St. Valentine’s Day massacre, were hard to read, though–surprisingly–nobody was showing outright fear. Maybe the fearful people show up later in the day. Some people were festive and others were determined, while most were businesslike and dutiful as though picking up sentiments of love was no more difficult that grabbing an eight-pack of toilet paper off the shelf.

In grade school, long before the political correctness mob outlawed the practice, each student in homeroom created a special Valentine’s Day mailbox for himself or herself and taped it to his desk. Mailboxes were typically crafted out of large mailing envelopes adorned with hearts, flowers and other cute pictures cut out of magazines.

Meanwhile, each student prepared a stack of cards to be distributed to his/her classmates via these mailboxes. Some people gave cards to everyone. Some only gave cards to their best friends. Many anonymous cards were hastily tucked into mailboxes by people who wanted to say “be my Valentine” without the recipient knowing who had a crush on them.

The practice has been discontinued because some kids didn’t get squat. Who knows, maybe they were ugly or unlovable or beat up people on the playground or wore clothes that had been handed down since Civil War days.

I don’t know, maybe this is good. An empty mailbox is a very hard lesson so early in life. Yet, it could be instructive as well. Some of those with empty mailboxes in 5th grade had full mailboxes in 6th grade because they changed their attitudes rather than having to face another massacre of the heart.

Love can be cruel as well as mad. Plato called it a grave mental disease. Jerome K. Jerome said it’s like measles; we all have to go through it. Victor Hugo said that being convinced we’re loved is life’s greatest happiness. Love’s reviews are mixed, don’t you think?

Is cupid a poor shot, is falling in love hard on the knees, or are there some kinds of madness that we just can’t do without?

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You may also like a bit of dark Valentine’s Day satire: Quiet Crowd Celebrates Penicillin G’day

This report was filed by the infamous, yet lovable, special investigative reporter, Jock Stewart of the Junction City “Star-Gazer.’

Or, on a lighter side, you may like a free copy of the “Love and Chocolate” e-book filled with humor, recipes, stories and (of course) love by the authors of Vanilla Heart Publishing. You can download your copy here: Gift from Malcolm

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2 responses

  1. It has been a long, long time since I was a kid handing out Valentines. I wonder how much it has changed for today’s kids, but maybe I really don’t want to know.