Dr Deckchair Funderlik's extra-special Valentine's Day Love Bundle
This week would seem like a suitable opportunity, given (nudge nudge grin grin flash flash wink wink!) the day (you know, THAT day... the BIG ONE ... the day to end all days, the blinding quotidian flash of existential recognition, you know, THE DAY, the BIG V eh? eh? eh? eh?) that's in it, to discourse on d'amour, the big thing - sometimes fluffy, sometimes squelchy, the huge sticky bag of liquorice allsorts that goes under the name of Love. Which is a pity, because I really really wanted to go on about dingo baiting practices in the Western Territories of Australia. I have so much to say on that particular topic, all of it heartfelt, all of it so personal and true... But no, the dingos can wait. Today, my Theme, my Topic, my Marathon, my Mars Bar, my Milky Way, shall fall from the lips of the Muse Aphrodite herself, just like that small dribble of chocolate that fell from my darling's lips this morning - today I shall wrestle naked on the linoleum of literature with Love.
So, where to begin? Well, an obvious starting point is BBC TV's Nationwide of February Fourteenth 19791. On that day, Frank Bough interviewed a fairly large and frightened looking man who happened to go under the name of Mr. Valentine Card. You can imagine how the interview went. You can even imagine Richard Madely and Judy Finnegan doing the voices, though I advise against this.
'Valentine Card - is that your real name?'
'Yes it is.'
'Ha ha ha ha ha, how unusual! and, tell me, how did you get that name?'
'Well, my family name is "Card" and my parents decided to call me "Valentine"'.
'Oooh! Gosh! Isn't that amazing?! So, every Valentine's day must be very exciting for you, eh?'
'I suppose so...'
'And do you get many Valentine cards? Imagine! You get a Valentine card, and inside it says, "To Mr Valentine Card!!" Imagine that!'
'My wife sends me a card.'
... And on and on and on and on and on and on... He probably does the same interview every year. Maybe he goes to group meetings where everyone is called 'Valentine Card" and all the cards in the meeting room are discreetly removed before hand and everyone can talk about anything they like as long as it isn't cards. Maybe there are other 'Card' people out there. 'Christmas Card' is a likely possibility, 'Birthday Card' - well maybe. 'Playing Card', 'Report Card', 'Identity Card', 'PCI Ethernet Adapter Card'... now, I'm getting distracted. I need to form my thoughts into a good stiff bundle if I am to manage this love business.
Right, Plato. Plato wrote a lot about Love. Love was one of his favourite things to write about, as well as logic, invisible cities and caves. Plato believe in love as a motivating force called 'Eros' who he personified, through Socrates, as a shoeless vagabond, an enduring enigmatic trickster, an impoverished charmer, wandering the earth, inspiring poor humans to deeds of greatness and intellect. But, I mean, come on! That can hardly be right, can it? Where's the candles? Where's the flowers? Phil Collins on the stereo and a bottle of something sweet and bubbly? Plato obviously knew nothing. So we can forget him.
Many single people feel somewhat put out on Valentine's day, like cats. But, imagine how it must feel for the single post-people2. This is the only day of the year when anyone takes the slightest interest in them, and its not even because of their brilliance at chess or flower arranging, its just to see if they've got a card in their sack. Then they go home and make themselves a frozen vegetable curry for one and read the newspaper. Maybe some of them have a pet tortoise, but that's not much of a consolation prize is it? Perhaps, in a fit of festive madness, one of them paints a heart on their tortoise before leaving the house in the morning, and then they forget about it and then they come home, and settle down to their dinner and then they see it - out of the corner of their eye - the freshly-painted tortoise blinking up at them as if to say 'Well, pal, this is it., I'm all you've got...' and then they ring the BBC to complain. OK, so all the charges have been dropped now, but what I'm saying is, it could happen to anyone, see?
Anyway, Aristophanes had a fable about love which apparently helped him get through the day. It goes something like this. Once the world was full of really strange creatures. They had four legs, four arms and two heads. They kind of rolled around chatting among themselves, eating quiche, listening to Cliff Richard and generally being really very happy. But then, like at all great parties, it kind of got out of hand, and the Gods were annoyed.
'What can we do?' asked the Gods.
'Let's kill them. No, that's boring, lets split them into two instead.'
So, that's what the Gods did. They split these creatues into two. So each one became two sorry halves. Each half now had two legs, two arms and one head. And, get this... wait for it.... wait for it.... THAT'S US! You see, we poor saps are one half each, and each one of us is doomed to wander the earth looking for their other half, which, on joining in union, will once again bring us a taste of that bliss we once knew before the Gods rendered us asunder. Hence the phrase: 'My better half'. Which is all very well, but I mean, come on Aristophanes, its all a bit depressing isn't it? I mean, readers just won't go for it these days. Where's the balloons? Where's the fun? What about Rene and Renata on the stereo and a drive in the Ferrari?
If Aristophanes was right, then we'd all be sending Valentine Cards with 'I think I found you at last. Your arms look very familiar' on them. Except for Valentine Card of course - he'd just write 'Yes. Me again'. Which raises an interesting point at a most opportune moment. What do we actually write on Valentines Cards? Well, if personal experience is anything to go by3 I reckon most of us must be writing something along the lines of 'Hello, this is me, you know, the one who follows you around dribbling and scratching and eating crisps'. Or 'Hello, this is not your mother.'
Actually, when you think about it the idea of Valentine's Cards is really scary. I mean, what kind of person thinks: You know, what would be really good, is if there was one day in the year, just one day, when I could send some poor unsuspecting soul a note which says 'Listen, you don't know who I am and I am not going to tell you, but I can tell you this much: I am obsessed with you and I like to follow you around and hang about bus shelters watching you... from afar...'? So, you see, it is obvious. Valentines day was invented by psychopaths.
Given this, what do I advise? Well, I think everyone should hide. I would recommend hiding in a cupboard, which is what I usually do, but then everyone would know where to look. So I recommend hiding in your favourite hiding place and not coming out until the next day, which is when all the psychopaths like to hibernate.