Valentine's Day '24

Valentine's Day '24
Photo by Alexandru Acea / Unsplash

Dear Literati,
Valentine's Day probably originates with some saint who did a lot of good for the people, spreading goodwill and love, maybe a whole lot of sexiness (pious sexiness between husband and wife), and was probably sacrificed in the town square for selling medieval dildos or suggesting that Old School methods of sex were probably kinky based on an illiterate interpretation of the text.

OF course, I'm speculating here. I haven't bothered to go down the Wikipedia downward spiral that would finish beyond the line where Cthulhu is being argued on a forum as a representation of male anxiety.

But here's my hot take: Valentine's Day is good. Even with the commercial bent, the bizarre traditions of slinging postcards in an era when we largely forgot to mail postcards, I think anything that can remind us that love is a good thing, a big thing, a gripping wrap around our anxious hearts telling us it's okay to be sentimental is a good thing.

I remember being a particularly cynical kid, feeling that sentimentality was some sort of kin to fascism and weak thinking. But the funny thing is after you're older and have had enough experiences of the gritty, savage, real world where people fall to their deaths by screwing around the office, where loved ones succumb to any number of diseases, and people you believe in as friends can at the same time believe they're superior to others when they themselves have a smartphone in their pocket, an electric car in their garage both made with the rare earth metals spoon scraped from some distant third-world country's mountain by a kid supporting their family when they bail on school, some sentimentality make all of this a bit more bearable. And real: because I, you, we can't fix problems like that swiftly, or often, at all, from a morose place of cynicism.

So eat some chocolate. Give some to the ones you love, send emails and flowers, and say, Hey, I love you. Of course, if they have a restraining order on you, or you tend to do things that other people label as creepy, stick to the people who know and appreciate you or at least owe you money.

Happy Valentine's Day, all of you.

Love, Joe

And if you want to really embrace commercialism, buy my book and send it to those who can read.