A few years ago Josh was a staff writer for the Tester Newspaper- it's a military thing. Round about Valentine’s Day 2004, I wanted to repaint the living room in what is now our old house. I asked Josh to get me a gift card from Ace, so I could pick up some paint. He forgot and instead wrote the following piece. Posting is on my blog is not plagiarism; I'm close to the source and got permission. The article was published in that weeks' edition of the Tester.
This (aside from Parker and maybe my engagement ring) is my favorite gift from Josh.
Wednesday, February 18, 2004
I'm a Valentine's Schmuck
A day to show your undying love for that special soulmate and promise her your affections until the sands in the hour glass of time trickle to the bottom and fall still.
Or if you're one of the millions of Average Joe's such as myself, it's a date marked on the calendar with a giant black "X" as an impending natural disaster.
Why? Because I always, without exception, manage to botch this supposedly simple holiday every single year.
Yes, another one has come to pass, ladies and gentlemen, and once again I share a doghouse with many a fellow man around the globe.
I don't know why, but this stuff happens to me year after year. After all, my intentions are good. But like The Simpson's Ned Flanders once said, "I can't feed my family on good intentions, Marge."
Last year, it was a tsunami of problems when I ventured forth into the kitchen in search of adventure, danger and dinner. Like Indiana Jones exploring the pre-Columbian ruins in the beginning of Raiders of the Lost Ark, I entered a place where only the bravest of men dare to venture and few ever return unscathed.
Cooking is obviously unfamiliar territory for me, but for my true love I'd climb the highest mountain, brave the deepest sea and ruin the simplest recipe.
I had found a meal on the Internet (honey-mustard salmon, if you're interested) that promised to be so simple, a small child was capable of preparing it. However, the supermarket was all sold out of "small child," so I was flying solo on this mission.
Remember that scene from the movie where Indiana was fleeing the cave as a giant boulder threatens to crush him underneath its massive weight? Well, substitute "boulder" with "stench of burnt mustard-coated fish" and the scenarios are practically interchangeable.
Even my dog wouldn't come out of hiding for three days and had to be fed by my old roommate. I can't say I blame him, though.
So, with the idea of cooking scratched forever more by my girlfriend and the good people of the Solomon's Volunteer Fire Department, I had to take a completely different approach to this year's Valentine's Day gift. This time, I thought the best approach would be to just simply ask her what she wanted and then deliver it to her that day.
Can't miss plan, eh?
Well, for all practical purposes, it should have been. My girlfriend, the doll that she is, asked for two things and only two things: a CD of songs I would burn for her and a gift certificate to the hardware store so she could select paint for her kitchen redecoration project.
It was handed to me, fellas. This Valentine's Day is going to be a cinch! All I had to do was remember to do two little things. Couldn't be simpler!
I have a few theories on why men forget all the things that women tell us.
When early Neanderthal man was young and still hot-to-trot on the hunter/gatherer concept of society, the man and woman had two very different roles. Men went out and threw sharp sticks at the dinner, while women stayed home to care for the family.
Women listened to the needs and wants of the children and made mental notes on how to improve the family's way of life.
Men threw sharp sticks at things.
Women told the men how they felt life could be made easier if certain changes to their lives were made.
Men threw sharp sticks at things.
The role each sex played back then determined how many of us act today. Women communicate to us what they want, men throw the remote at the TV when the Dolphins turn the ball over. Times haven't changed all that much.
So this past V-Day, I showered, shaved, picked up the CD, bought a very sophisticated bottle of wine that happens to be one of her favorites and began to walk out the front door when I realized that something was missing. What was it? What did she tell me? Was it something important?
Oh, silly me, I know what I'm missing ... a Valentine's Day card, of course! So 10 minutes before my arrival at her home I was out at the supermarket, card-shopping for that special someone.
Why they don't overstock grocery stores with Valentine's Day cards is beyond me. How many do they actually order, anyway, 12 or 13? But being of quick mind and exquisite judgment, I made one of the most brilliant decisions in the history of Man, a move so legendary that it will be forever recorded in the annals of Man history.
I'll just spice up a non-Valentine's Day card!
Let's see what we got here: "Dear grandson ...." Nope, that one won't do. "With our deepest condolences ...." Nah, too heavy. "Happy Anniversary!" Yeah, close enough. What's the difference, right?
After crossing off a couple of the more trivial words such as "Happy 25th Anniversary" and "After 25 years of being married to you" I was in business! Just a few scribblings with my pen and it was an entirely new card!
Being the debonair kind of guy that I am, I presented Nikki with her gifts and asked her a romantic question: "What time do we eat?"
But of course, if you've been paying attention, you've probably already noticed that there was no mention of the hardware gift certificate or of any paint. That's because I forgot all about it and was subtly reminded the next day as we drove by the store on our way grocery-shopping.
My memory works fine on stuff like sports scores and statistics, but just seems to go to waste on stuff like that. I know I'm not the only one, but I'll be darned if I'm not going to do better next year. Because I'm going to remember what she wants. I'm going to get it done ahead of time to avoid all the embarrassment of looking like an insensitive Morlock.
Because when all is said and done, it really is all about your partner's ... WHAT?!?!?! The Yankees picked up A-Rod? Not the Yankees! Anyone but the Yankees!
Now where, was I? Oh yeah, throwin' sticks.