Saturday, February 14, 2015

Happy Valentine's Day

Most guys don’t love Valentine’s Day. It’s a holiday designed to trap them. If you’re dating more than one woman, you’re dead. If you get the wrong gift, you’re dead. If the gift is too cheap or too elaborate, you’re dead. If you get her a humorous card with Bush on the front you’re dead (although in that case you deserve to be).

Or worse, they love the gift and card too much. Then you’re REALLY dead.

My problem with Valentine’s Day is that it’s also my birthday. Try going out to a nice celebration dinner when every restaurant is packed (especially on a Saturday night), all the prices are jacked way up, and everyone is trying so hard to create a “romantic atmosphere” that when their date isn’t looking they’re popping Lexapros like Tic Tacs.

Still, not to be a cynic I would like to offer an explanation for what love really is. It comes from that font of romance -- an episode of TAXI (written by Ken Estin).

Louie is trying to win back his girlfriend, Zena. He asks if she loves him. She says she doesn’t know what love is. He tells her she’s in luck because he does. And he’s the only person alive who can say that. He’s read what everyone else says love is and they’re always wrong. She finally asks him what it is, and Louie says:

“Love is the end of happiness!

The end. Because one day all a guy’s got to do to be happy is to watch the Mets. The next day you gotta have Zena in the room watching the Mets with you. You don’t know why. They’re the same Mets, it’s the same room…but you gotta have Zena there.”

That to me expresses more heartfelt love than any bouquet or bling or blowout dinner. Maybe you should change your plans and just get together in her apartment. Especially since I still don't have dinner reservations and would prefer not celebrating my birthday at Taco Bell.

Thank you and happy Valentine’s Day.

39 comments:

Wendy M. Grossman said...

It was with great astonishment that I learned, sometime late in my 30s, that Valentine's Day was actually celebrated and taken seriously by adults. I had always thought - assumed - it was just one of those stupid things they made you do in elementary school.

I am still astonished that this is apparently not the case.

wg

slgc said...

Happy Birthday!

MikeK.Pa. said...

As a baseball announcer and comic writer, I'm sure you don't mind sharing your birthday with two late greats - baseball announcer Mel Allen and comedian Jack Benny. Happy birthday, from one Aquarian to another.

Oat Willie said...

According to "Futurama", those candy hearts in that picture at the top are made of bone-meal and earwig honey.

Wendy M. Grossman said...

Duh. Happy birthday!

wg

Mitchell Hundred said...

Hah, that actually is what I have planned for tonight. The woman I've been seeing is coming over to my place, and we're going to cook dinner together. Although in my case, it's less due to consideration for others and more due to the fact that we've only been going out for a couple of months (meaning that planning ahead wasn't really a thing).

Anonymous said...

I will never forget the first time Louie stepped out of the cage and we got to see how little he was. Great writing. So funny. Happy Birthday to you!
Janice B.

Anonymous said...

Great writing. And classic.
I am not DONE with my pitches for a sitcom. I will never be DONE.
Happy Birthday. Writing DEALS are for coolest of all.

Steve said...

Bush jokes--timely. Any Nixon jokes while we're at it?

Mike Schryver said...

But you apparently have no problem with the even more dated TAXI reference, Steve.

Also, this is a re-post.

Hamid said...

Happy Birthday, Ken!

I'm making a stand by not joining in the crass commercialism of Valentine's Day. I'm also single but that's beside the point.

Barbara C. said...

Happy Birthday!!

My Catholic nerd friends and I like to pass around the picture of the skull of St. Valentine on Facebook to remind people it is actually a religious holiday that was secularized.

Nothing says love like being beaten and beheaded like St. Valentine. LOL Oh, wait, I guess "Fifty Shades of Grey" is apropos, then.

Jon said...

I am a florist. It's my lunch break. We're swamped with business and had to hire temp drivers to cover all the deliveries. Men. Lots and lots of men. All willing to fork over a hundred bucks or more -- sometimes much more -- for flowers. I LOVE this holiday!

YEKIMI said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
YEKIMI said...

Only thing Valentines Day means to me is it was the day I was adopted. Don't have to buy a thing for a dame because most of the ones I've asked out have said they'd rather date roadkill. Oh..,...and Happy Birthday!

Wendy M. Grossman said...

Jon: Hah. A friend of mine who used to work in a florist's got pretty cynical about such holidays for a while after she took a phone call from a guy who commissioned two flower deliveries, each with a card that read, "You are the only woman in my life."

wg

Dan Ball said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, KEN!

One unintended benefit of having your birthday today is that people probably don't bother gushing about Valentine's Day with you since they're too busy wishing you a happy birthday.

I love this post today, too. A diary from the trenches.

Anonymous said...

No offense, Jon, but you florist folk are evil. Just evil. Taking advantage of the fact that we men will willingly spend enormous sums of money to ensure that we will continue to get laid.

Oat Willie said...

In my area 1 800 Flowers just sacked the management and has laid off many others since buying it. Love Stinks?

Johnny Walker said...

I like and observe Valentine's Day, but I do think it's pretty evil:

If you're single, it makes you feel more single.
If you're in a budding relationship, it puts unnecessary pressure on everything to be more than it is.

The only people it really works for are those solidly in love, and that's only if you don't manage to screw it up.

It's a relationship assault course/minefield.

I'm sure more relationships end over the Valentine's Day period than any other time of the year. So much for celebrating what you've got.

Oh, sorry. Happy birthday, Ken!

Anonymous said...

Ken Said:

"If you get her a humorous card with Bush on the front you’re dead (although in that case you deserve to be)."

I didn't make that mistake. This year I sent one with a picture of Obama saying, "my border's are always open for you."

I forgot Valentine's Day last year, but I got away with it after I sent my gal a card the day after with Hillary Clinton on it saying, "What does it matter now?"

She thought it was hilarious, and I was back in like Flynn.

pumpkinhead said...

Louie and the meaning of love:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oaAA3PMLulk

Mike Barer said...

You share birthdays with another great M's announcer, Dave Sims!

RCP said...

Happy Birthday, Ken.

Buttermilk Sky said...

My BF from high school got married on Valentine's Day so her husband would always remember their anniversary. She's divorced now.

I'm glad you were born, but I'd happily abolish the entire month of February. It's cold, it's miserable, and it happens to be the month both my parents died. Others must feel the same, because it rarely lasts more than 28 days. Also hard to pronounce. Who's with me?

Artie in Sin City said...

And a Happy "B" Day to you!

Wow, double duty on this wonderful February day...

All the best, you deserve it...Keep lots of folks smiling all the time...

http://www.jibjab.com/view/o05Xs2P6TG-itQtOoSzHCQ

Ciao for now

Artie out

DetroitGuy said...

Perhaps if you didn't refer to them as "dames"...?

Roger Owen Green said...

Happy Valen... er, happy birthday!

Cap'n Bob said...

I remember this as the anniversary of the bungled hit on Bugs Moran by Al Capone's henchmen. You mean it has another significance?

Happy birthday, Ken.

GC said...

Happy birthday, Mr. Levine!

VP81955 said...

Happy birthday, Ken...just in the nick of time. (Got back from the Kings-Caps game.)

Barry Traylor said...

I am one of those weird guys I suppose as I like Valentine's Day it is nice cheering up in the middle of Winter. Can't say I liked it as a kid (I'm an Old Geezer) and I was sort of like Charley Brown as I always seemed to be passed over at school for getting any cards. Oddly enough there was a girl with red hair in my 5th grade class named Charlene Landis that I had an unrequited crush on. Funny that after all these years I still remember her name and few others.

Jeffro said...

Ken, a Happy PVD, and a belated Happy Birthday. Many happy returns of the day, although it must be bittersweet with the recent news of the loss of your dear friend.

We humans tend to make the concept of love too complicated. We should all be inspired by the pure love that is exemplified by other creatures. Particularly, the love of a dog for her owner:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u60kLYQjTRE

By the way, I love you. And that's not the same kind of love that Louie has for Zena (or Sissy has for her ailing owner). It's more of a fraternal kind of love. It figures—I am from Philadelphia. (There I go myself, complicating the concept of love; I'm only human, after all.)

Cheerio,
Jeffro

LouOCNY said...

For some reason, I seem to be a day behind here

A belated Happy Birthday to you, Ken - the world would be a much duller place without you!

Jeffro said...

One more thing regarding the love between dog and man, and this dovetails with Taxi: It's the episode where Alex gets his dog back from his ex-wife, only to learn that it has a short time to live because it's old and sick. Despite the heartbreak, Alex is determined to do everything in his power to make the dog's last days as comfortable possible, and then still be utterly devastated when the time comes. It has to be one of the most profoundly epic TV tear-jerkers of all time. I must have caught that one in reruns a dozen times. And every time I cry a bucket without fail. Oh! I'm crying now just thinking about it.

Not-so-cheerio,
Jeffro

Jeffro said...

VP81955,

I stayed-up late to watch the King's game on NHL's Gamecenter Live. It's always great to see the Crapitals get arse-whooped.

Cheerio (once more),
Jeffro

VP81955 said...

That's all right, Jeffro. I'm looking for the Nationals to return the favor to the Fightins' this summer. And until MLB came to its senses and finally brought baseball back to D.C., I rooted for the Phillies during my years in exile, about nine of which were spent just outside the city line in Bensalem, and included that delightfully weird 1993 team. (RIP Harry and Whitey.)

Anonymous said...

http://www.steynonline.com/6809/the-bridges-of-madison-county

Clint Eastwood can do romance better too.

THE John in Toronto said...

We celebrated VD with a bottle of wine, the couch, the "Friends" episodes where Chandler proposes to Monica, and each other.
And we shared a salad Nicoise (she had the lettuce; I ate the potatoes).
It was nice being together with no particular place to go.