The 62 Percent: Are you a Hallmark Victim?



Sixty two percent of North Americans celebrate St. Valentine’s Day by exchanging cards, candy or a “romantic” dinner. If you’re math illiterate, that’s half of the population buying into the idea that giving a Whitman’s Sampler will get you laid.

Flowers distributed on the awful holiday: 180 million

Heart shaped boxes filled of corn syrup and fake caramel: 36 million

Money spent for the Valentine’s Day annually:  $14 billion

Yup, that’s correct. Fourteen billion dollars are spent on some materialistic thing wrapped or made with plastic. Plastic. Plastic. Plastic. There is a poor albatross on some uninhabited island that is going to eat that plastic wrapper and die from it. Don’t even get me started on plastic. For some reason, Hallmark and the rest of contemporary society have strangled the idea of love into a one-day holiday. Creativity and sincerity have been thrown out the window, only to be replaced by conflict diamonds, flower bouquets or poison-filled chocolate deemed edible by the USDA.

But, if you want to feel better about “buying” something, just know $14 billion is only 10 percent of our national student loan debt: ONE TRILLION DOLLARS.


On a lighter side, this lovely holiday has some extremely abstract roots dating back to Roman times.  Actually, no religion, culture or space-being theory has any clear connection to Valentine’s Day. But, I just wanted to give some insight on a loosely affiliated theory about Valentine’s Day’s history before hopefully blasting this holiday off the calendar.

Lupercalia. If you were hanging out in Rome while Paganism was still in style, one would celebrate Lupercalia during the middle of February. Lupercalia was a Pagan festival of love and fertility. With keeping tradition, in order to get the ladies ready for some “hot and heavy,” the grateful Pagans of Rome would start the festivities off with a delighted animal slaughtering. Then, after a quick butchering, the men of the neighborhood would take the tails, skin, and entrails of those animals and whip the woman to entice the fertility inside them.

I don’t know about you, but skinning an animal and then beating one’s partner doesn’t really seem to inspire me. Actually, who am I kidding! When in Rome!

Valentine’s Day cards really came on the scene around 1840 in the UK, and ever since then, the holiday has been forced into our faces. Unfortunately for me ,Valentine’s Day was a big deal growing up. My mom made sure we made her a card and sent my brother and I to school with candies and flowers for the girls in our respected classes. Today, the tradition still continues. My dad will remind me weeks in advance to send something to my mother, and I still bring flowers into my place of employment for the better half of our staff.

Valentine’s Day is a business opportunity. I groom myself a bit more, possibly even shower after skiing, and buy into my individual table’s love affair. Like every other restaurant in America, the reservation list is two-top hell. Then, add in the factors of an over-ambitious boss who overbooked everything, and the fact that each patron thinks they can stay, camp and enjoy a four course meal. I call that a conflict of interest.

Oh, and my favorite. Valentine’s Day brings people out of the woodwork. For some, this occasion will be the only time some folks eat out. One side of me feels for these people. Maybe they are broke and have been saving up for this lovely occasion? Or maybe it’s the easiest day to grab a babysitter?

The other half wants to cut out my eye with a dull cold spoon. These folks have no idea what they’re doing. It can be so frustrating for any server who has to recite the menu for the layperson; basically walk these people through their dinner. And then, after prohibiting you from flipping the table, the hammer comes down hard- a 10 percent tip. WOOF!  I have seen this way too many times. Deep down I hope I over-served these folks and their “thingies” don’t work.

So, what I am really getting at is that Valentine’s Day is as cool as a hit and run. If you really love someone, or looking to ignite something with someone, there are so many cooler ways to do it then hiding behind the Valentine’s Day holiday. Flowers are awesome, but not on Valentines Day. And chocolate is even better, when it doesn’t come in a heart shaped box. Be creative and unique about your love/sexual inquiries. That special someone is worth your time, and not the plastic.

Three things to wrap things up (Get it? It’s a pun):

1)   I don’t hate Valentine’s Day, I despise it

2)   Plastic is the Devil

3)   I am currently eating chocolate out of a heart shaped box that my mother sent me

Yours truly,

Secret Server

*“History of Valentine’s Day” (Video)



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