Tyrades! Love In The Time of Recession

Friday, February 13, 2009

"Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know how many times they'll have to discount the dadblamed thing down before it's gone."

Well, maybe Forrest Gump's momma didn't really say that, but it would be entirely appropriate in this era of layoffs, reduced hours and plant closings. According to the National Retail Federation, overall Valentine's Day spending is expected to drop by 14 percent this year.

Romantic cutbacks are everywhere, and not just in the form of cheaper floral arrangements and 49-cent Valentine cards. Have you seen the price of arrows? Ol' Dan Cupid is using spitballs instead this year. Balloons proclaiming "I (heart) Suzie" now whimper "I (gall bladder) Suzie." The expression is no longer "I love you a bushel and a peck" but "I love you in the new convenient 15-ounce size." Those "Jacuzzi suite getaways" bear a striking resemblance to a plastic kiddie pool and that finicky mixer you bought at the yard sale last year. It's not unusual to hear someone utter the passionate words, "You hold the key to my heart, but, unfortunately, as of 9 a.m. the bank holds the key to my house."

Maybe it's high time for reining in of all the Valentine folderol. I feel no ill for the purveyors of flowers, jewelry, and other Valentine merchandise, and I'm not saying they have a racket or anything; but they work extremely hard to give us a guilt trip for not having the perfect holiday. Really, it's enough to give Valentines to your Significant Other. I have it on authority of the commissioner of baseball that the '69 Mets really are not waiting with bated breath to receive something sentimental from you.

Just watch the commercials and see if you don't detect the subtle message "Sure, he gave you a kidney transplant and he has been a loving stepfather to your three kids from your exes, but when was the last time that self-centered sack of excrement bought you some bling? Huh, huh???"

Life has too many peaks and valleys as it is. Why does February 14 have to set such an unreasonable standard? It's too jarring when one day your lover is buying you a unicorn or proposing to you by convincing the College of Cardinals to send up a smoke signal, and the next day he's back to "Y'know, my golf buddies and I decided that since your birthday is only six months from Valentine's Day, one gift ought to..."

Valentine's Day should be celebrated 365 days a year, with simple inexpensive gestures like compliments, holding the door and of course those three little words: "Found the remote!"

You and your spouse/partner could even exchange stacks of I.O.U.s for a foot rub, a day of house painting or whatever. If you're a politician you can always get off with, "That I.O.U.? Oh, our grandchildren will take care of paying that one."

As for me, this Valentine's Day, I'll probably compose a mushy letter for Melissa, give her some second-hand DVDs of romantic comedies we watched in our courtship days and take her to a nice but moderately priced restaurant.

("You want fries with that?" "Fries? Do I look like I'm made of money, buddy? I'm just celebrating Valentine's Day, not renewing my wedding vows!!")

Note: Danny Tyree welcomes e-mail at tyreetyrades@aol.com. Yes, the doghouse is wired for Internet.