Those of you who remember the way I bitched about Thanksgiving and New Year's Eve might have expected me to write something dismissive or contemptuous of Valentine's Day. Dear reader (I love it when columnists write "dear reader;" it always sounds so cloying), I will not. For somewhere today, probably in the Deep South, a redneck hid a cubic zirconia engagement ring in a bucket of KFC Extra Crispy and broke into a nervous sweat, hoping to God (or his favorite NASCAR driver) that his unsuspecting girlfriend wouldn't accidentally swallow it. And when that girlfriend found that ring, slathered in grease and rat droppings and whatever else those poor chickens are fried in after they've been decapitated by the ever-smiling Colonel, her eyes went as wide as they did that time in her junior year of high school when she peed on an EPT stick and got a false positive -- and they filled with tears of joy as she accepted his proposal.
Yes, this is called our most romantic holiday for a reason, and for the sake of romance, which has given us so many great movies and songs, I'm willing to overlook the most preposterous things about Valentine's Day. Take, for example, its crass commercialism, with all its stupid suggestions that women only care about jewelry and chocolate. I won't say a word about that.* Nor will I dwell on the fact that countless couples who are happy tonight will have acrimoniously split by this time next year. After all, that's hardly unique to Valentine's Day. (There are people who are single now who weren't single on Columbus Day.) Instead I will wish you all a Happy Valentine's Day, one I hope was filled with Preston Sturges films and old Drifters records, or whatever it is you like. (Maybe you're more the "Breaking the Waves" and bondage type, which is cool. You might have to be a masochist to visit this site with any regularity.) Oh, and I hope you took care not to pass STDs to anyone -- that's only supposed to be done at Christmas.
*I'm making a real sacrifice here because there's a lot I'd like to say about the fact that "Nights in Rodanthe," which was easily one of the worst films of 2008, is currently selling at a respectable clip on DVD simply because it was released to coincide with Valentine's Day. If hell exists, a seat must surely be reserved there for Nicholas Sparks.