As I was thinking about what to write today, I thought I'd take a look at the alleged source* of this holiday in order to see if we could learn anything from him. Turns out, there is! Huzzah! Unfortunately, these lessons aren't exactly happy ones. You'll see what I mean.
1) It Doesn't Pay to Help the Downtrodden - St. Valentine was a priest who was marrying Christian couples in Rome. Unfortunately, Claudius II (emperor of Rome and all-around crank) had decreed that it was a crime to aid or abet members of this new, fringe religious group. This put our friend, St. Valentine, into figurative hot water.
How This Applies to You - Do you remember that time your down-on-his-luck friend needed $100 because he needed to pay rent? Do you also remember how he emphatically promised to pay you back "as soon as he could?" Do you remember how you still, six and a half years later, have a $100 shaped emptiness in your wallet? Yeah, you're sort of like Valentine doing a good deed and getting bupkiss for it.
2) It Doesn't Pay to Assert your Message if the Other Person Doesn't Want to Hear It - St. Valentine was thrown into prison for his crimes. Somehow, he made friends with Claudius II (because, according to this and the movie Gladiator, emperors of Rome frequently hung around prisons). Unfortunately for St. Valentine, he just couldn't shake his whole "I'm a Christian and so should you!" mentality, and he kept trying to convert old Claudius. Claudius unceremoniously sentenced Valentine to death.
How This Applies to You - You know how you keep telling your boyfriend that he should under no circumstances spend his extra money on things that he wants until he pays off his debts/builds up his emergency fund? You know how he keeps telling you to talk about something else? You know how you keep it up? DO YOU SEE HIM WALKING OUT YOUR FRONT DOOR RIGHT NOW, NEVER TO DARKEN IT WITH HIS SHADOW AGAIN? Yeah, it's kind of like that.
3) It Doesn't Pay to Lose Your Head - It turns out that St. Valentine was kind of a tough guy. According to tradition, the king's men (no word on what the king's horses were doing) attempted to both club him to death and to stone him to death, but Valentine was not to be killed so easily. After Valentine ostensibly snarled, "Is that all you got, you %^@#$?", the emperor's men beheaded him. In memory of this, we give each other chocolate (likely because of the unpleasant legal and moral ramifications of exchanging disembodied heads once a year).
|"I cut it just for you! Happy Valentine's!"|
Happy Valentine's Day, everybody!
Photo 1 by moonlightbulb.
Photo 2 by whatmegsaid.
*Wikipedia can't make up its danged mind about the origin of the holiday, so I'm going with the story of St. Valentine as recorded in the Nuremburg Chronicle of 1493. You're welcome.