So last night- after an arse kicking week of full on man-work, I was tucking the lovely and complex Obersturmführer Bällerinä* into bed when she said-
*5yr old daughter
“I’m soooo excited for Valentime’s Day, Dad! I made you TWO cards!”
To which I said-
“I can’t wait to see them! I bet they’ll be beautiful.” That’s what my mouth said. My Brain thought something completely different-
“Dude, you’ve completely spaced getting ANYTHING for the Obersturmführer’s third favorite holiday, haven’t you? What a feckin’ eejit.” I shot my Brain a look that said “shut up”.
“Did you get me a card too, Dad?” she asked.
“Of course I did, Wiggles! I wouldn’t forget one of your favorite days of the year. But I will be running out in the morning for some special Valentine’s surprises that only get sold on the actual Valentine’s Day.” My Brain was not impressed.
“Worst. Dad-Lie. Ever. You, my friend, are a dick.” Thanks Brain, glad to see us working so well together.
That’s how I ended up at the Safeway at 7:45am this very morning, metaphorically cramming for my Valentine’s final exam. I was not alone.
The parking lot was oddly full as I cruised around in ManTruck looking for a spot. Before I parked, I saw three different dudes walking out of the store with balloons and/or large bouquets of flowers, and frankly they didn’t look too happy about their impending day of love.
I parked, headed in, cruised straight to the card aisle, and stopped in mid stride after turning the corner- eight guys were crowded around the three Valentine’s Day racks, feverishly jostling for position to pick through the bones of the remaining cards. It was a full on card buying mosh pit. So with elbows swinging and my knees kicking high, I waded in like the Ska-boy of my youth.
“Just waiting to get to the bar.” I said to the harried looking dude who had just turned the corner of the aisle to join us at the racks.
“I bet those cards are about as expensive as a drink too, huh guys?” I asked the lads in front.
“This one’s 7 bucks, and this one’s 6.” said Mr Sweatpants Flipflops. Every single one of us gave a wry chuckle and slowly shook our heads, a jury of peers convicting Valentine’s Day of monopolizing the market, and falsely raising prices.
“Throw in some roses, candy, and balloons and you’re looking at a hundred bucks just to get the day started.” said Mr. Hairy BigLeatherJacket, “And then I’m taking my wife up to a bad and breakfast in Mendocino with the champagne and roses waiting for us... 350 bucks for one night!” Mr. BigLeatherJacket received our nods and condolences in return, which gave him the confidence to continue telling of his Valentine’s budgetary woes.
“So I say to my wife, ‘Honey, why don’t we do the same trip in three weeks when it’s $200 less, and she says ‘But it won’t be Valentine’s Weekend!’
“Probably got dinner, too right?” I asked “That’s an easy $150 on Valentine’s Day.” Again- we Brothers of The Rack, we Bearers of the Valentine’s Wallet- nodded our condolences with offerings of “I hear you, man” and “It’s crazy, right?”
By the time I got to the rack, it had been well picked over. Fortunately, there was a good selection of kid’s cards, so I sorted the O.B. quickly. The card for Mrs. Huttsez, however, posed a much bigger problem. There was nothing left but over the top, maudlin shite- “To my beloved wife...” kind of stuff. So, I tried to find the most gag inducing one I could find and I wasn’t disappointed. As a picture speaks a thousand words, here’s the card.
The inscription said- “You complete me”
Open mouth, insert finger.
Cards chosen, I headed over to get a balloon for the Obersturmführer, and was not at all surprised to see several of my comrades from the card aisle waiting their turn at the counter where a beleaguered woman was cranking out balloons at a furious rate. The line was filled out with about 5 other dudes, so I opted for one of the more expensive huge heart shaped ones that says “I love you” on it for my daughter, and booked it for the register. And by expensive, I mean $15.99 expensive. For a balloon. Thanks for that, Capitalism.
Two Valentines Day Cards? $12.98
A heart shaped balloon? $15.99
Hearing Mr. Hairy BigLeatherJacket’s story, and experiencing the fraternal bond of Valengouging with some random dudes at 7:45am at the Safeway? Priceless.
All that being said, in spite of the ridiculous $29 dollars spent on 2 bloody cards and a balloon, they were a big hit. I made Obersturmführer Bällerinä some heart shaped eggy bread (aka french toast- keep up in the back Yanks!) served with some fresh “raspbwessies” and her favorite pink juice. She loved her card and balloon. Mrs. Huttsez got the joke when she opened her card, and totally laughed at the gag factor. I like her.
Speaking of Mrs. Huttsez, I’d just like to say thank you for the lovely Valentine’s Day present you gave me.
When I got back from the store and told her what had happened, she said-
“You should go and write that story as a blog post and put it up today. There’s not a lot going on, and we’re meeting some of her friends at the park. It’s funny and I think you should do it. Plus, it’ll be good for your soul.”
Thanks Mrs. H, you were right. I’m a lucky guy.
Do something tender and selfless for your loved ones today, ok? It’s the best gift you can give.
I’m gonna go and install a canopy covered in pink ribbons over my daughter’s bed. She’s vibratingly excited. Won’t cost me a penny.
I don’t care too much for money
‘Cause money can’t buy me love
That’s it for now.
Come “like” Huttsez’s facebook page- I’m a liker, not a fighter.
Thanks for reading. See you soon.
“... the unread voice of a generation.”