• my dear valentine •
Flowers, candy, red hearts and romance. That’s what Valentine’s Day is all about, right? Well, maybe not. To be completely frank, after, for decades, now, being, yearly, hanged upon the horns of an ongoing dilemma, along the lines of an “appropriate appreciation gesture,” be it, just the right card, flowers, candies, jewelry, or combinations, thereof, I find a little education on my part has gone a long way to reduce the perennial pain of it, and to realize my personal goal, some happy day, of leaning towards a semblance of mental health, and, too, of potentially becoming a meaningful part of a satisfied and grateful society: meaning me, of course: of me, by me, and for me. God bless us, one and all.
Then, this happened, last night.
What synchronicity! What a windfall!
Check this out.
I heard, on NPR, that Valentine’s Day has it’s origins in anti-marriage, execution, and war.
Say whaaa? I know, blink, blink, and hiccup!
Oh, to heck with suspense.
Here’s the patooty-wooty:
In a nutshell, about two thousand years ago, a nutcase of a king, nicknamed, “Claudius the Cruel”, decided to outlaw marriage.
Crazily, it seems, married men were refusing to go off to war because – get this – they had much rather be safe at home, with the wife and kiddos, than risk death and dismemberment, for the sake of the Republic.
I know. Right? What the heck? Go figure.
So, new law.
No marriages, period.
No connubial bliss, no sanctified unions. Nope. None at all.
No problemo. If you’re king, of course. That’s what ‘mail order’ brides are for. So.
(Everybody is horny, and, presumably, pissed, and ready for a fight. Now, Rome is ready to invade… everybody. A perfect state of a union. Yay, for War!!)
Fox News, anyone…? Ever heard of it? Sound familiar? Hm. Nevermind.
Then (‘bit of a sticky wicket, whatever that means), a certain Roman priest, by the name of Valentine, a dissenter, believing in the inviolability of the institution, was, on the sly, performing illegal marriages, at four bucks a pop. He was executed on February 14 (sometime between 269 A.D. and 278 A.D.) on the orders of the king, Emperor Claudius II, for breaking the law of the land (and, also, for “pocketing the proceeds”, even though, technically, being a priest, and wearing robes, having no pockets in his robes, he tamped the proceeds away in a sock, which, as it happened, belonged to his “roomy”, Brother Whitman. Hence, the infamous term, “socking away”, was born, as was, “Whitman’s Sampler”, formerly, “tampler”.).
Valentine was sentenced to death: a three part execution of a beating, a stoning, and finally a decapitation, all because of his stand for Christian marriage. (I guess a civil union wouldn’t do – especially if the County Clerk really, really, didn’t want to.)
Bummer, dude, totally. For him, that is. For the rest of us, (those of us who aren’t complete losers, and live in America…and can afford our own) we get chocolates.
~ Tim Burchfield