Valentine’s Day, an annual holiday celebrated on February 14, originated as a Western Christian liturgical feast day honoring one or more early martyred saints named Valentinus, and is recognized as a significant cultural and commercial celebration in many regions around the world, although it is not a public holiday in any country. Now, we Catholics are a strange bunch and have a thing for martyred saints.
Growing up in Woodside in the late 50s, I attended St. Sebastian Grammar School, where the good nuns would continually implore us to emulate our school’s namesake. The problem was that everywhere I looked throughout the school, I would see a painting or statue of good old St. Sebastian tied to a tree in the throes of a violent death with several arrows sticking out of his torso. To be honest with you, he did not look like a happy camper!
Saintly martyrdom aside, I have always thought that Valentine’s Day is a faux holiday celebration created by an insidious conspiracy on the part of our nation’s candy, floral and greeting card industries. It’s the one day of the year, a young guy can walk into a flower shop and not be greeted with the “I wonder what he trying to apologize for?” sympathetic stares of staff. Of course, on the brighter side of this holiday, the candy, floral and greeting card moguls are only after my hard-earned cash and are not entertaining any thought of tying me to a tree as an archery target...at least I hope not!
Those of you who have followed this column since the get-go, know that a few years back I sustained a rather egregious brain fart, which led me to believe it might be a good idea that, rather than spend my kid’s inheritance like a drunken sailor on candy, flowers, cards, etc., I would attempt to make Valentine’s Day more of an educational experience for the entire family.
Needless to say, nothing good came from this horrendous brainstorm and, in fact, it turned out to be a very, very bad idea. The repercussions of my ill-fated attempt to thwart this commercialized “Holiday of Love” served little more than to immediately place me back in the conspiratorial camps of candy, cards and flowers forevermore...if for nothing more than my own personal safety.
Grace has been hinting about a real body massage lately, so I reached out and spoke with a local masseur, who recommended a hot stone massage, a type of massage therapy. It’s used to help you relieve muscle tension and pain, and reduce stress and anxiety. During a hot stone massage, smooth, flat, heated stones are placed on specific parts of your body. The stones are usually made of basalt, a type of volcanic rock that retains heat. I told the massage therapist that I was a little concerned about the temperature of the stones being placed on your body and was assured that hot massage stones are heated to between 130 and 145 degrees. That’s why you should always go to a licensed massage therapist and not your local McDonald’s where they sometimes offer a hot coffee massage.
And so, this year, in addition to the requisite candy, cards and flowers, I have also procured a rather substantial gift card for a local health spa where my beloved will be able to avail herself of an ultimate hot stone massage. I also mentioned to “she who must be obeyed” that as long as she will be spending some time with a massage therapist, she might as well unload some of her personal problems. I assured Grace that there is no shame in seeking out the help of a therapist. After all, that’s where Waldo always goes to find himself.
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