Feb 12, 2021

It’s D-Day for V-Day: Some Last-Minute Cards

Honoring an executed Holy Roman priest—with chocolate

By Ed Goldman

Perhaps you’ve heard that Sunday is Valentine’s Day. I mean, it’s possible you missed some of the icky-poignant, senior-targeted, made-for-TV movies on the Hallmark Channel—elder-romance-themed shows with names like “Love, Laughter and Bursitis,” “The Assisted-Living February Miracle” and my personal fave, “They Died With Their Pantsuits On.” 

Maybe you’ve experienced the tsunami of politically-correct ads in every medium possible, such as, “This Valentine’s Day, give [him, her, them—or him, her and them] an $80 Kate Weiser Chocolate 35-Piece Artist Collection from Neiman Marcus. EMTs included for multiple orders if going to the same address.”

Edgy Cartoon

“Alas, Poor Valentine…”

I’m not sure why the Hallmark people thought that celebrating the execution of a Holy Roman priest named Valentine around 269 or 270 A.D. should prompt consumers, many centuries later, to give their lovers boxes of candy and doggerel-dense greeting cards. 

Maybe the first cards were reportorial in nature: 

Roses are red,
This is a fact.
Just heard that Valentine
Got himself whacked.

On February 14, just nine years ago, my wife of four years (on paper) served me with what used to be called a bill of divorcement. The specific date was “a very deliberate choice,” she later told me, smiling. 

Naturally, I was shocked—not by the papers, which were long overdue, but by my discovery, entirely too late, that she had a gift for irony. Another few years and maybe she’d even have started doing puns. I probably should have been more patient.

As it turns out, one of her former romantic partners had also broken up with her on a February 14, so perhaps her doing the same thing, albeit to a different guy, was empowering—revenge by proxy, or something. The way you’re instructed to pass Patek Philippe wristwatches from generation to generation.

Yes, this truly is a holiday that can bring out the best in people. Maybe the greeting cards should reflect that a little more accurately. Here are five samples.

1. TO SOMEONE WITH SELECTIVE AMNESIA

You say you’re disenchanted,
I can only say, “Of course.”
You want your vows recanted
And I truly understand it:
But some years ago, we planned it
And obtained a full divorce.

2. TO SOMEONE WITH “ISSUES”

You said my insecurities
Were driving you insane.
That must have been a short drive.
Would you like me to explain?

3. TO SOMEONE CAUGHT CHEATING

I ask you what you see in him—
A thing one shouldn’t do,
And mainly when the answer is,
“I see he isn’t you.”

4. TO SOMEONE WHO SAYS, “LOVE YOURSELF”

I like your philosophical
(And possibly, apocryphal)
Self-serve idolatry.
You say that I should try it, too,
But if I did, we’d both love you
And who would then love me?

I like you wrap your arms around
Yourself and say your charms abound.
It must feel really nice.
Therefore, I think I’ll break up ‘til
I love myself (I know I will!)
So thanks for your advice.

5. TO SOMEONE WHO REALLY DOESN’T NEED THE CANDY

I’m sorry that I didn’t buy you
Choc’late truffles, turtles and rejoice in you in more ways.
You hardly were ignored.
In fact, you are adored.
I simply can’t afford
To go and widen all our doorways.

Ed Goldman's column appears almost every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. A former daily columnist for the Sacramento Business Journal, as well as monthly columnist for Sacramento Magazine and Comstock’s Business Magazine, he’s the author of five books, two plays and one musical (so far).