Wednesday, February 15, 2006


Someone e-mailed me this morning and asked me what I got Melody for Valentine’s Day yesterday. This was my answer:

I am an eschewer of Hallmark Holidays. I know that Hallmark did not invent Valentine’s Day, but it has become so closely associated with it that the firm has hired Cupid as its East Coast Distributor. As for lauding Melody with such things as flowers and chocolates, I avoid predictability whenever possible. I am a man of spontaneous combustion.

On the way home from work yesterday, I saw a guy emerging from the flower shop with a vasefull of product. He looked so sheepish. He really did resemble a sheep—a sheep carrying a bottle of roses. Getting one’s wife flowers on Valentine’s Day is like going to church on Christmas and Easter. It’s like saying to God, “Okay, God. I’m doing what I’m supposed to do here, so please try not to send me to hell.”

I knew the guy, so I gave him a knowing wave. He yelled across the street, “Marriage insurance!” I had to laugh. Fire insurance, marriage insurance—what’s the difference?

You will never find me at the flower shop on February 14, or at the bar on St. Patrick’s Day, or in Selma on the Day of Martin Luther King. I’m more likely to visit the florist on Wednesday, April 12. Why then? What does that day mean? It means nothing. The day does not exist on Hallmark’s hallowed calendar, and this is why I favor it. It is for this very reason that I may be there. April 12, 2006 is an arbitrary day. It’s a day on which spontaneous love for my wife could very well spill from my heart and land on her desk at work in the form of a professionally arranged bouquet. But now I’m doubting it. Because now that I’ve announced this day as a possible contender for my spilling heart, I am forced by my own doctrine to avoid it. Notice to one and all: I, Martin Zender, will not be seen walking from the local florist with a vasefull of product on Wednesday, the twelfth of April, 2006.

I may, however, venture surreptitiously to Selma.

© 2006 by Martin Zender