People Who Could Use Some Love

Susan Page
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Wednesday - February 14, 2007
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Valentine’s Day, I have to admit, is one of my least favorite holidays. I’d far prefer to celebrate Groundhog Day over this pricey, anxiety-filled occasion.

At least when Punxsutawney Phil ventures out every Feb. 2 to see his shadow (or not) and predict winter’s future, no one feels pressured to pay $6 for a greeting card or sad when no one calls them “sweetheart.” Fruit-and-veggie-eating ground-hogs don’t promote candy either, which may be the reason they (according to Phil’s official web site resist germs, insects and plagues. Groundhogs also whistle in the spring when they begin courting. Instead of flowers, candy or jewelry gifts, you might try just whistling at your sweetie on Valentine’s Day. Just be ready for a forecast of six more weeks of winter in your relationship.

If I went under hypnosis, the shrink would probably trace my anti-Valentine attitude to a tragic day in third grade. Not only were the Valentine cards I brought to school to hand out pitifully small compared to my best friend Janie’s, whose big, lacy hearts also contained little candies that said “Be mine,” but the boy I liked gave her a big, pink, heart-shaped box of Pangburn’s chocolate creams - and me nothing. The hurt kept my face red and stomach sick the whole day.

I’m thinking the lady astronaut, Lisa Nowak, who’s charged with attempting to “do in” her love rival must’ve had a similar experience when she was in third grade - only her hurt lasted 30 years instead of just a day. It’s no coincidence that she went all weird in February, the month of “luv.” If only NASA screeners had asked her about any third-grade crushes, it might’ve thwarted her bizarre five-state, Pampers-clad road trip to conk “the other woman” in the head with a steel mallet.

Of course, retailers love Valentine’s Day. I did, too, when I owned retail photo stores which sold glamorous pictures of women to give to their sweethearts. Retailers need every promotion they can get their hands on to stay afloat, so I certainly don’t begrudge them this one.

In fact, I might be able to turn my Valentine’s Day attitude around if I think of it as an appreciation day for our hardworking small-business owners. Remembering the stress of having to stay open and staffed 10-12 hours a day, seven days a week makes me want to rush right out and buy a little something for anyone I know.

I still maintain that expressions of love should come when the heart is truly moved, and not because of a national holiday. But given that around a billion Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged each year in the U.S. and 110 million roses are sold in a mere three days time, the V’Day is here to stay.

So, succumbing to public pressure, here are a few of the “grown up” Valentines that move my heart:

Marines, soldiers and sailors in harm’s way: You’ve “forced” your way into my heart, so Cupid, shoot an arrow at your enemy - every sniper, suicide maniac and evil beheader to protect my heroes.

Hawaii’s Charter Schools: Your heart’s an open “book” and the pages say, “You need more money, honeys.”

Doctors: Take my pulse. It races for you - to stay here. My heart is “broke” that there are no pills to cure our Hawaii health care ills.

HIV/AIDS Orphans of Africa: If you are 3 or 6 or 9, I wish you’d be my Valentine, with a heart to cover you with love and soar your spirits like a dove.

Happy belated Groundhog Day.

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