Tuesday, February 15, 2011
DAY 4: THE SILVER SURFER
Happy Belated Valentine's Day!
What better representative than the Silver Surfer, the premiere ambassador of Peace, Love, and Eternal Grooviness, to celebrate a day that necessitates going out of one's way to recognize romance through the power of confectionery.
The Silver Surfer reminds me a lot of myself when I was young: a sleek near-naked silver idealist possessed of the power cosmic, traveling throughout the cosmos, a hippie harbinger of good will and benevolence absolute. As far as superheroes go, could they make this guy any more ridiculous? Wait, did I mention that his mode of transport is a surfboard? This is the equivalent of putting a spoiler on a mini-van.
I don't really have a Valentine's Day tale to share with you because my beautiful wife and I don't really celebrate the day. It's not that we are too-cool-for-school pathetic and aging hipsters, because where we come from we have a word for those guys: douchebags. I'm also not going to nauseate you by smugly proclaiming we celebrate and recognize our unbridled love for each other daily even though it's true because that would just be smug and nauseating. No it's simply because we're not competitive, and love, notably Valentine's Day, is a competition. Vying for ones affections, beating out the other suitors, buying the most expensive gift or planning the most romantic evening because you know your significant other will be comparing notes with their peers the next day, a competition in its own right. The marketing for love is competitive as well, delegating carats and specific expected salary expenditures on what it will take to get that special albeit shallow someone to love you forever. I once saw an ad for a lingerie store that appealed to women's innate insecurities by proclaiming "If you won't wear it for him, someone else will". I actually kinda liked that one.
The Valentine's Day Contest begins well before we have untangled the concept of love or our hormones have been released from their feeble prepubescent cages. It starts with those damnable cards. Not those overpriced and saccharine Hallmark cards that you get your wife/husband/girlfriend/boyfriend, but those small and flimsy perforated business card sized sentiments populated by a speech impeded Tweety Bird postulating that he tot he taw a Valentine's or Batman uncharacteristically asking "Would you be mine?". You know the ones, we all got them. Well maybe not all of us, and that's the point. School and it's microcosm of elitist cliques is difficult to navigate and survive as is without sanctioning popularity contests like Valentine's Day. In a precursor to social networking and amassing "Friends" and "Likes" you would compare how many Valentine's Day cards you had each been given during afternoon recess. I have to admit that I usually did alright, but I always felt bad for the kid who had the fewest. It was setting a lonely stage.
My grade school was very small, only three hallways shaped like a capital "I". You were stuck with the same 30 malcontents from Kindergarten until Grade 8. And the dames, well they were slim pickings. There was the spanish girl whose bosom developed well before we did and it frightened us, the smart girl who liked to pop her zits so she could examine the pus under a microscope, the jock who prided herself on being able to kick any guys ass who also frightened us, and the new girl. She wasn't like the rest of the girls, mostly just by virtue of being new. She had pale alabaster smooth skin, long blonde hair like spun gold, and the lightest blue eyes. When I got a Valentine's Day card from her depicting He-Man holding his sword aloft and proclaiming "By the power of Valentine's, Will you be mine?!" I was immediately smitten and filled with a feeling of boundless joy. I strutted across the courtyard like a sixth grade Tony Manero, the only sounds I could hear were my heart thundering in my ears and my white faux-Converse Sparx crunching on the gravel. I walked right up to the new girl, took a deep breath, flashed my brightest Starbuck smile and said "I will". "Um, like you will um what?" she replied. I coyly held up the Masters of the Universe Valentines in my sweaty hand. "Oh that", she said, "My mom MADE me give one to EVERYONE in class", and promptly returned to her conversation about My Pretty Pony or Punky Brewster or crushing and devouring men's souls or whatever it is sixth grade harlots commiserate about.
I just looked her up online after I typed this; divorced, three kids, and easily a good buck ninety.
If love's a competition, I win.