Friday, February 12, 2010

Nothing Says "I Love You" Like an LSD-Addicted Frog

Walking through my local Kroger during a grocery run yesterday evening, two things struck me: 1. The nausea quotient of Valentine's Day, which I had thought already reached the top, has discovered new heights this year, and 2. Judging by some of the gifts being sold, people seem to express their love in exceedingly odd ways these days.

First, I should explain why I, a sane single woman, was even walking down the valentine aisle in the first place. I have a ROTC girls' party coming up in just over a week, which involves a "white elephant" gift exchange. I thought something in the way of chocolate might make a good gift to give, so I meandered over to the aisle which would be most likely to have the most options. Unfortunately, after that brief tour of "The Aisle of Love," I was too revolted to make any purchases from that aisle. I think I'll buy the gift after this pink and red holiday passes (goodness, even the colors they use for that day are sickening when put together).

Now onto what I saw. Apparently, this year, you can now express your undying love for that special someone with these unique (and tasteless) gifts:

1. A blue bug-eyed frog with a stupefied, almost soporific expression on its face, and its little tongue hanging out, apparently from the effects of some hypnotic drug. In his arms, he dazedly cradles a heart that bears the plaintive request "kiss me" (sorry bud, you're just not my type). If you squeeze this little fellow's arm, he starts playing a very loud rap song, encumbered with poor grammar and words which, contrary to current popular belief, do not actually exist in the English language.

2. A very creepy monkey with an almost sadistic expression on his face, who clutches a heart with the ominous phrase "You're Mine" written on it in bold letters. Ah, finally, the perfect gift for the girl who issued the restraining order against you last week!

3. A ginormous, sugar and chemical-laden, hypnotically-colorful lollipop in the shape of a rare flower never seen in nature. Nothing says "I love you" like carcinogens and diabetic coma!

4. The world's ugliest headband. I thought at first it was meant for a child, but upon closer (shudder!) examination, I discovered it to be too large for a child's head (unless, of course, your child is that huge baby The Enquirer likes to put on their front cover whenever they run out of new rumors to start). This hideous creation featured a HUGE gaudy red sequined heart coming off the side of it. In the first place, as I already mentioned, it is beyond ugly. In the second place, I'm scared of the traffic accidents that could result from drivers distracted by the huge heart coming out of some woman's head.

There were many other valentine atrocities that I saw in that aisle; thankfully, I have miraculously blocked them out of my mind, and thus will no longer be tormented by the memory of any of them.

Honestly, folks, I have nothing against the principle of Valentine's Day. A day of tangibly demonstrating your love for someone is certainly a great concept. Of course, I believe that if you truly love someone, you shouldn't need a holiday to demonstrate your love (you should be doing it every day), but that's another matter. In principle, Valentine's Day is wonderful. In practice, however . . . ick. Whatever happened to just writing someone a letter, extolling the reasons why you love them? A person can read your words a hundred times, and be reminded each time of your love. Or, if you absolutely must express your feelings through the practice of spending money, why not give a gift that truly reflects the person you love, rather than giving them some cheap stuffed creature that is just going to wind up being sold at a future garage sale (although, stuffed animals are very easy to burn in the instance of a break-up, and are often a great anger-releaser for the bitter, newly-single girl). Yes, it's the thought that counts. That said, if the thought results in a tasteless, bug-eyed frog that raps, do you really want that thought to count?

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"Passage—immediate passage! the blood burns in my veins! Away, O soul! hoist instantly the anchor!
Cut the hawsers—haul out—shake out every sail!
Have we not stood here like trees in the ground long enough?
Have we not grovell’d here long enough, eating and drinking like mere brutes?
Have we not darken’d and dazed ourselves with books long enough?

Sail forth! steer for the deep waters only!
Reckless, O soul, exploring, I with thee, and thou with me;
For we are bound where mariner has not yet dared to go, And we will risk the ship, ourselves and all.

O my brave soul!
O farther, farther sail!
O daring joy, but safe! Are they not all the seas of God?
O farther, farther, farther sail!"

~Walt Whitman, "Passage to India"