In honor of whatever this Saturday happens to be.
If I had to name the worst holiday ever invented, it would be National Everyone Puts Ice Cubes Down Your Pants Day. But Valentine's Day would run a very close second. When you think about it, Valentine's Day has a number of elements that make a truly awful holiday.
First, there's the lack of normal holiday advantages. We didn't have a day off of work yesterday. (Or at least I didn't; if Valentine's Day actually is a federal holiday, my boss has fooled me again.) And there's no big meal prepared for you on Valentine's Day. For all its faults, Thanksgiving at least gives you a nice filling dinner. Valentine's Day? Mostly mass-produced lousy candy that even I don't want to eat -- and that takes lousy candy.
The usual holiday promotions aren't really around for V-Day, which is probably a good thing because I don't like them when they are. I think I saw that the local tanning salon was offering a Valentine's Day discount on a massage. That strikes me as almost sadistic; it's like offering a Thanksgiving discount on plastic food.
But in addition to the lack of positive things, Valentine's Day also has many disadvantages. First of all, the mascot is highly bizarre. Thanksgiving has turkeys, which are fairly tasty and generally accepted. Christmas has Santa Claus, and I think we can all get behind the concept of a jolly fat man who gives us gifts for no good reason. But Valentine's Day has the most grotesque creature imaginable -- a winged baby with a dangerous weapon.
If you were to ask any parent what's most important to keep away from a baby, you'd probably hear various examples of things that might be dangerous. (For example, anything not made out of Nerf.) And parents attempting to keep their children away from this kind of trouble usually have but one defense -- restricting mobility. Strap the baby into a carriage, keep it fenced in a crib, weave it into a basket, duct tape it to your ceiling, do something to keep it from moving and destroying itself, others, and all of your possessions. So what does Valentine's Day do? Give that baby the power of flight, and then hand it a bow and arrow. Delightful.
What's worse, the whole holiday is made to further emphasize who is in a relationship and who isn't. Do we need a special day to point this out? Word generally gets out without us having a whole holiday for it. It's a shame that people have to feel lonely during Valentine's Day. (It's a shame if porcupines have to feel lonely during Valentine's Day too, but at least you can understand the hesitation to hug.)
After all, even people not in a relationship frequently have platonic love -- which means love of an old dead philosopher, like Plato. As a former philosophy major, I have a lot of platonic love. But platonic love is not what V-day is about. Especially since my philosophy Valentines never caught on:
"How do I love thee? How do I know I love thee? Can one ever truly claim absolute knowledge?"
"If only you could know the love I feel for you, but you never will, because we cannot have access to the internal mental states of others."
Or my personal favorite:
"Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
Due largely to the Kantian categorical imperative,
I love you."
Hallmark just doesn't understand how romantic these sentiments are. So they'd rather stick with their winged arrow-shooting baby making people feel bad for being lonely every Feb. 14. I'm tempted to make a retaliatory holiday on the 15th called Mjollin's Day. The mascot will be a baby on a skateboard wielding a giant mallet, and we will celebrate by stunning each other with tasers. This may seem unpleasant, but look at it this way: at least Valentine's Day is over.