I would be more apt to celebrate Valentine's Day if the carving of love spoons was encouraged.
That's how they roll in Wales when their version of Valentine's Day lands upon the calendar like a bloated pigeon hitting an airplane window.
According to the BBC, the Welsh observe St. Dwynwen's Day in January. The legend behind this holiday is insane. It has something to do with a saint who falls in love with a maiden, sparking much disapproval by said maiden's overbearing father. A suicide takes place, followed by a pilgrimage to a well full of sacred eels that can forecast the outcome of relationships.
All this leads to a custom that exists today in which Welsh dudes carve a "love spoon" for their sweeties. This spoon is decorated with various symbols, including the number of children he would like to conceive.
I don't know, man. Look it up for yourself.
Regardless, this national peyote trip they're on in Wales sounds preferable to the soul-eating commercial gantlet we foist upon ourselves on this side of the Atlantic on Feb. 14.
I don't hate all commercial holidays. They seem to make many thousands of people very happy, which is fine by me. If people are happy, then I'm (mostly) happy.
But when it comes to Valentine's Day and birthdays, including yours and my own, I just don't care enough about them to set the date aside in my head to celebrate.
For instance, I had the following conversation at work earlier this week. It was with a co-worker who was speaking about her new boyfriend.
Co-worker: "What should I get a guy for Valentine's Day?"
Me: "What? Nothing."
Co-worker: "I have to get him something!"
Me: "No. You don't. Trust me, he doesn't care."
Co-worker: "Well, I'm going to anyway. I have to think of something by Thursday."
Me: "Thursday? Valentine's Day is this week?"
Co-worker: (Glares at me, mumbles something under her breath.)
It all comes down to the fact that I hate being pressured to show affection toward anyone. I have an icy exterior as it is, so the hearts-and-chocolates thing is a tough slog for me.
Could this stem from my experiences in grade school? I remember my teachers burning taxpayer dollars having us produce Valentine's-themed art projects.
What a waste. You mean there wasn't a lesson based on tribal or folk art that could have filled that slot? Valentine's Day in public school? Wrong in many, many ways.
The worst part was when we were coerced into buying those vile, licensed Valentine's Day cards by the box. We were told to fill them out, one for each student in the class. Even the classmates I hated received a Valentine with my signature.
Love and affection were tainted within so many of us from the get-go. When everyone is forced to do something nice as part of some bizarre classroom group therapy session, then these feelings get cheapened.
We had this psycho delinquent kid named Kevin in my third-grade class who made a show of tearing up his Valentine's cards from all the chubby girls in class. I remember me, Donnie H., Derek T., Tim H. and Josh P. laughing our arses off at Psycho Kevin. The teacher finally corralled him and then turned her attention to the horrified girls, saying something like, "Don't think anything of it, he's just embarrassed."
Within that anecdote you can understand why no one is truly happy upon reaching adulthood, and no amount of Valentine's Days can gloss over this fact.
However, I believe the introduction of love spoons into our national discourse could alleviate some of the commercial negativity weighing us down on Feb. 14.
A properly made love spoon requires thought and effort and even a bit of creativity. In other words, everything our version of Valentine's Day excludes in favor of forced gratification.
Reach reporter Chris Conrad at 541-776-4471 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.