Hallmark is a four-letter word

With the Middle Eastern world tearing itself apart, Mexico mired in a worsening conflict with organized crime and Mother Nature apparently attempting to bury the East Coast under heaping piles of snow, one may find it difficult to find any hint of love in the world come St. Valentine’s Day. As for those of you who dislike Valentine’s Day purely on principle, I will quote the talented U.S. Marshal Rooster Cogburn in saying: “I can’t do nothin’ for ya, son.” One thing I can do is shine some light on this holiday that nowadays has been swallowed up and harvested as a “greeting-card holiday” in the purest form. The history of Valentine’s Day dates back some 600 years to when it was first mentioned in a work by Geoffrey Chaucer. He wrote: “For this was Saint Valentine’s Day, when every bird cometh there to choose his mate.” Thus, Chaucer started the snowball rolling on this fine spectacle that we fancy to call a holiday. The truth about Valentine’s Day is that consumerism makes it all too easy for us to be lazy and generic in our displays of affection. Nothing says “I really can’t be bothered to spend time on you” like a card displaying a stock photo of a cute puppy or a box of the same chocolates that you’ve purchased for the fifth year running. Personally, my perception of Valentine’s Day is mixed. On one hand, it’s a terrible, corny, uninspired way for Hallmark to make enough money to continue funding its evil, made-for-TV movie enterprises. However, deeper down, it can be a way for you to show genuine emotion for someone by using the skills that probably drew the two of you together in the first place. If you’re musically inclined, harness your inner composer and play something original for your loved one. If writing is more of your thing, write a funny little story or a totally random poem. Take some pictures, invent a snowboard trick or make a short film. Heck, you can even dissect something in your loved one’s honor, or whatever it is that you science kids do for fun. I’m not suggesting that everyone should go around singing love ballads and writing mushy love poems for their significant others. Rather, I’m encouraging a simple rethinking of the way Valentine’s Day is celebrated – a mesh between the classic ideals on which it is built and our own generation’s unique way of expressing ourselves. If you know your loved one well enough, finding something that will really make them happy and showing them that you made an effort will not be difficult at all. After all, with all the hate and strife that is going on in the larger world, we owe it to each other to show true appreciation for what, and who, we have.