Monday, February 25, 2013

My Nuts Are Your Nuts: Assessing the Post-Valentine's Fallout

From Sunday's Times and News-Star

And now a moment of silence for the men who fumbled on Valentine’s Day. Been a long week. Sort of like it was a long week for Napoleon after Waterloo.

This is one of those penalties with no pre-determined time limit. The sun won’t shine again until your mate decides to open the shutters, which depends a lot on luck, the level of your apologetic sincerity, and even diet. Might want to stock up on ice cream this week. And maybe vacuum.

We’ve all been there.

But there is hope! Remember: in only 50 short weeks you’ll have the chance to mess up again.

Valentine’s Day really is a tricky setup. We’re expected to play our hand like Valentino when, every other day of the year, we’re nothing more than Jethro. Nor are we expected to be. The unforgiving spotlight of romance is like a baseball when you’re having a bad day fielding: it will find you no matter where you hide.

Open mouth, insert excuse. “But honey, I …”

Famous last words. If you fumble on Valentine’s Day, you’d better be in a coma or passing a kidney stone. Otherwise, the jury can be harsh.

I enjoyed this Valentine’s Day as much or more than any before, though in honesty I was drawing from a very small sample set. Rarely have my gifts and cards and flowers been up to par. But hey, even a blind squirrel finds an acorn.

Speaking of, a friend of mine gave his wife of 50 years a card that scored big. Pictured was a very nice squirrel handing a sack of acorns to another somewhat awed and grateful squirrel. “My nuts are your nuts,” the card read. Nice…

He followed that up with something in frilly flannel from the sale rack and, boom!, winner winner chicken dinner. You can get away with being a tad tacky when you’ve got a half-century of matrimonial air underneath you.

There is a fine line we walk in this realm of gift giving. My friend Lil’ Tone toyed with the idea of getting his wife some Gold Bond for Valentine’s Day. “You know how women love gold,” he said. And they do. And they, like most any gender, hate to chafe. Be that as it may, Gold Bond is not a good Valentine’s Day gift, not unless you’re beloved is under house arrest and wearing a tight ankle bracelet.

I trusted Lil’ Tone last year, somewhat blindly, and got my Valentine Seasons 1 and 2 of “Downton Abby,” the surprise public television hit set in class-divided England 90 years ago. What a delightful roll of the dice! Home run! We watched both seasons in less than two weeks, then sweated it out until January for Season 3, which ended Sunday night.

See, you’ve got to watch the Brits. You’ve got to watch them every single second of the day. Because what happened – and you Downton fans I exchange mail with know what I’m talking about – is that the season we waited 10 months for was over in two. I think it was eight episodes. Sunday’s finale ended with Matthew, who didn’t sign a contract for Season 4, getting wiped off the pages of English history. Lady Sybil didn’t sign for next year either so she, too, was axed.

Of course, this was my fault. I gave a Valentine’s Day present that was the gift that kept on giving -- but only until the disappointing season finale. At least Gold Bond would have lasted longer.