A Likely Story (1984) – Penzler Books

Yesterday was Valentine’s Day. My attitude toward holidays generally is that they are a terrible interruption in the life of a freelancer–nobody’s around in any of the offices to take my calls–and my attitude toward Valentine’s Day in particular is that it’s on a par with having a feast day for coronary thrombosis. Don’t people realize the awful harm done by romance? All those cutesy red valentine hearts should be edged in black. “Be my valentine,” is an insidious sentence to teach a child. (As with most general festive occasions, we busy adults have also left this one to be observed by our children.)

The whole thing is a ghastly mistake anyway. St. Valentine, if there ever was a St. valentine, had nothing to do with hearts or romance or Hallmark Cards. Way back when, there may actually have been two priests named Valentine, both martyred during the reign of the emperor Claudius–and he seemed such a nice fellow on television, too–or the two stories may refer to the same ill-treated priest, or he may just be a legend after all, like St. Christopher. The point is, his feast day on February fourteenth has to do with martyrdom, not love and sex; or am I missing something here?




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