Tomorrow, Wednesday, February 14 is V-Day. And the cash registers have been jingling incessantly throughout the whole of last week. For days tainted by commercialism Valentine’s Day gives Christmas a run for its money – big money. It is heralded with a superfluity of marketing initiatives by cunning companies to cash in on the general emotional cupidity and stupidity on display.
Yes, it is that time of year again. Love is in the air, romance begins to settle over everything and we are all forced to wade knee-deep through images of hearts, cards, perfumes, flowers, cuddly bears and chocolates.
That is why on V-Day you observe a great deal of people walking around feeling light-headed and full of love. Yes siree, Stupid Cupid’s arrows seem to be sending everyone quivering into a trance in romance.
The greeting card industry, florists, jewellers, confectioners and restaurateurs all rake in zillions of bucks during V-Day every year. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not against romance. I think romance is an important part of the man-woman relationship. Yet, throughout the years I have found that there are many different types of romance. And it doesn’t necessarily involve flowers, chocolates and lacy heart shaped cards.
Often it appears in the smallest of actions, and in the simple, quiet moments of everyday life. I would choose comfort, security, and old-fashioned loving devotion over wildly romantic encounters any day of the week. All you florists, confectioners, perfumers and card sellers are welcome to send your hate-mail to the address below.
But before that cherubic, chubby imp starts stringing his bow and ruffling his wings it would be a good idea to get ready to run like the blazes. That is because Cupid’s arrows have been known to have caused mischief and mayhem from the time his darts drove Daphne away from Apollo. History has established that he is a lousy shot.
Yes, Stupid Cupid often gets it wrong. It seems pretty obvious that the little bounder has a capricious disposition and I suspect a malicious streak as well. His arrows are lethal weapons to the lovelorn and he sometimes uses them cruelly. In this day and age he terrorises a good many hearts. Still some people say: If only Cupid would re-arm and update his weaponry, with no strings attached. Someone suggested that instead of a bow and arrow, he should be equipped with a semi-automatic weapon.
With a real weapon, the rascally son of Venus could bar adults – and by adults I mean parents and teachers – from making children swap Valentines. What the heck are they trying to do with these very small kids anyway? Aiming to churn out whole generations of ‘Valen-tinies,’ I guess.
Besides, think about the incurably romantic oldsters? They would be spared a world of grief when they are pierced broadside and the feelings are un-mutually one-sided. Sometimes plot does not always race at a pace that suggests love is just about the only force that keeps the universe moving with ever-palpitating geriatric hearts. To be sure the missile does not always keep to the straight and narrow. It flies awry often. To add to the confusion the fanatical freak does not always hit dead centre.
I suspect sometimes it is because the over-zealous scamp likes to use certain people as target practice. To be sure of hitting the target, he shoots first and calls whatever he hits the target. But do not make the mistake of advising the arch little archer to improve his archery skills because he will turn around and fire back smugly: “If practice makes perfect, and nobody’s perfect, why practice?”
Personally, I think this urchin dressed only in a diaper, flying around blindfolded and shooting arrows at folks, is just plain dangerous. Oh sure, it may seem like fun and games, until somebody gets an eye or both eyes put out! And then everybody invariably spews out the hackneyed cliché that ‘love is blind.’
What is Valentine’s Day and exactly what are we celebrating? Many different stories surround this special day we celebrate in honour of the ‘Patron Saint of Romance,’ a third century Roman martyr named Valentine. According to legend, Valentine was a priest in ancient Rome.
He was executed by the Roman Emperor, Claudius II, for running around in a diaper while shooting sharp objects at people. No, wait a minute, Cupid does that. Sorry, I will get down to changing only Cupid’s diaper. Although the truth behind the Valentine legends is questionable, the stories certainly emphasise his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic, and, most importantly, a romantic figure.
Anyway to get on with it, the misinformed Emperor Claudius, felt that married soldiers were not as ill-tempered, brainwashed and eager to do battle as the unmarried troopers. But St. Val being a hopeless romantic and realising the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages in secret for young lovers. When Valentine’s actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death. Valentine was beheaded, which may have possibly inspired the adage ‘head over heels in love.’
And there was our long-time associate Percival. We rephrased his name to ‘Vul-Percy,’ which in Sinhala parlance could mean anything from libertine to lecher, or cad to lady-killer. ‘Vul-Percy’ gifted a lovely lass he fancied a heart-shaped box of chocolates on V-Day which she refused to accept. Worse still was her acerbic comeback: “Sorry Percy, but I decline being your Vul-entine!”
But closer home there was my old friend and former schoolmate nicknamed Surchepps, who I have deservingly immortalised in many of my satire columns.
He was an inveterate punster and a darned good one at that. As an alumni of St. Ben’s he had a sort of paradoxical rivalry with a pretty, witty Shepherdian, in the convent next door. Her name was Mercy, although she never lived up to her name when crossing swords in any verbal battle.
At a social gathering once we matched Surchepps with Mercy in a fun debate on love that called for insults in rhyming couplets. I was voted unanimously as moderator and set out the rules which decidedly forbade profanity of any kind. Surchepps won the coin toss and fired the first volley: “Of loving beauty you float with grace. If only you would hide your face.”
Mercy returned fire: “I want to feel your sweet embrace. But leave that paper bag on your face.”
Surchepps: “Violets are blue, roses are red. I hate your guts and I wish you were dead!” Mercy: “I see your face when I am dreaming. That’s why I always wake up screaming!”
As moderator I had to step in and cry halt to the debate when I observed it was going too far. Surchepps: “My feelings for you no words can tell. Except for maybe go to hell!” Mercy: “Violets are blue, roses are red. Shame, your backside is the size of a shed!” (Gaston de Rosayro – email@example.com)