Share Your World — 02/14/22

Today is Valentine’s Day and Melanie has given us a series of ‘love’ questions for today’s Share Your World prompt. Personally, I’m not a big fan of Valentine’s Day, but let’s give this a go, shall we?

Which traditional Valentine’s Day gift would you rather receive: chocolates, flowers, or a card with a personal message?

I was going to say a personal massage, but then I reread the choices and I saw personal message, not massage. But I’m still sticking with personal massage.

Do you like romantic movies?

Not particularly, but my wife does, so I do watch them to please her. Because, you know, happy wife, happy life.

Is Valentine’s Day only about romantic love? Or is it a good occasion to celebrate friendship as well?

I think it can be about celebrating friendships as well as romantic love, assuming one is inclined to celebrate Valentine’s Day at all.

How do you deal with unwanted romantic attention?

At my advanced age, I’d be shocked were I faced with romantic attention, wanted or unwanted.

Share one or two of your favorite memories of your special loved one if you’d like.

The first time I laid eyes on the girl I eventually married I felt as if I had met a real life Disney princess. I was the frog who somehow persuaded her to kiss me, and that kiss turned me into a handsome prince. All that is the honest truth, except for the part about me being a frog who was turned into a handsome prince by a kiss.

Blogging Insights — That’s Interesting

For her weekly Blogging Insights prompts, Dr. Tanya provides us with a quote about blogging or writing and asks us to express our opinion about said quote.

This week’s quote is from Lee Odden, a marketing strategist, author, speaker and social media expert.

“A blog is only as interesting as the interest shown in others.”

I think this quote is a bit of a conflation of two different notions. One being the ability for a blogger to write interesting posts and the other being a blogger who shows an interest in what other bloggers have written.

In my opinion, some bloggers can be very good at writing interesting posts but not so good at reading and commenting or showing an interest in the works of other bloggers. But I don’t think that makes an interesting blog less interesting.

And there are probably some bloggers who show a strong interest in the posts of other bloggers, but that doesn’t necessarily translate into those same bloggers having the ability to write very interesting posts.

I know I probably sound a bit like a contrarian with my opinion about Mr. Odden’s quote. But I would probably revise his quote to say, instead…

“A blog is only as successful as the interest shown in others.”

Wrong Place at the Wrong Time

I just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time,” Harry would always say to his friends and family. Ever since the accident, his injured spine was killing him. Sometimes the pain was so excruciating that he thought he might collapse from it.

Harry was praying for a reprieve from the constant pain. “At least dial it down to medium,” he would often say out loud even though he was the only one around, hoping that maybe God would hear him. Unfortunately for Harry, his prayers went unanswered.

Harry was known as a wily guy, yet despite all his wiles, he couldn’t persuade a doctor to extend his prescription for what he needed to make his almost unbearable pain go away. He became so desperate for relief that Harry went to the streets to pull a very dangerous thread. He found a guy who could score some oxycodone for him, and, poof, the pain would be gone…or at least bearable…for a while.

All of Harry’s friends were at his funeral three months later. The service was a poignant one, with handwringing and tears, and for some, feelings of guilt for not seeing this coming and not being there for their friend. They were all devastated when they learned of Harry’s addiction. He was a such smart man, a wily man. A man who didn’t deserve to OD on oxycodone. A man who just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.

Written for these daily prompts from yesterday: The Daily Spur (spine), My Vivid Blog (collapse), Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (reprieve), E.M.’s Random Word Prompt (medium), Your Daily Word Prompt (wiles), Ragtag Daily Prompt (thread), and Word of the Day Challenge (poignant).

Valentine’s Day Rant — Redux

I have published this same post on Valentine’s Day in 2018, 2019, and 2021. Nothing has changed regarding how I feel about Valentine’s Day, so this re-post is for my newer readers who may have missed this annual rant of mine. Enjoy.

Today is Valentine’s Day and aren’t our little, romantic hearts all aflutter?

Not mine.

I am not a fan of Valentine’s Day. Call me unromantic, jaded, or cynical, but to me, Valentine’s Day is a totally bogus “holiday.” That’s why a column by syndicated columnist Tom Purcell that I read a while back still resonates with me.

Purcell wrote that on Valentine’s Day, women “dream of romance, surprise, and having sweet nothings whispered into their ears — and if such things happen, they hope their husbands don’t find out!”

But for men, Purcell said, “Valentine’s Day is a contrived undertaking that makes mandatory the things — flowers, dining out, expensive jewelry — that should be reserved for the times when we do something really stupid and are desperate to make up.” I hear you, Mr. Purcell!

I started to wonder what’s really behind this so-called holiday, so I Googled “Valentine’s Day.” It turns out that Valentine’s Day was originally observed to honor early Christian martyrs. The Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine, all of whom were martyred. Interestingly, no romantic elements are present in the original, early medieval records of these martyrs.

Some historians believe that Valentine’s Day is celebrated in the middle of February to commemorate the anniversary of Saint Valentine’s death. Hmm. Did all three saints named Valentine die in the middle of February? Did it happen in Chicago and was Al Capone invovled?

But others claim that the Catholic Church may have decided to place the Saint Valentine’s feast in the middle of February in an effort to “Christianize” the pagan celebration of Lupercalia, which was celebrated around the middle of February.

Lupercalia was a festival in honor of Lupa, the she-wolf who suckled the infant orphans, Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome. Lupercalia translates to “Wolf Festival.” During the festival, Roman priests would sacrifice a goat for fertility and a dog for purification. They would then cut the goat’s hide into strips, dip them into the sacrificial blood, and take to the streets where they would gently slap women with the goat hide strips.

Oh wow, it doesn’t get any more romantic than that, does it?

Having educated myself on its origin stories, I am more convinced than ever that Valentine’s Day is the epitome of the expression “Hallmark holiday,” a phrase used to describe a holiday that exists solely for commercial purposes.

Send a Hallmark Card Day

Valentine’s Day as a romantic holiday was actually concocted during an intense, closed-door brainstorming session at the corporate headquarters of Hallmark Cards, Inc. The Hallmark executives were trying to figure out how to sell more cards during the lull between the Christmas and Easter holidays. One exec suggested creating a romantic holiday celebrating a Roman she-wolf and some martyred saints. “Yeah, that’s the ticket!” all the other execs shouted out.

That, my friends, is the true story about how the Valentine’s Day holiday in America came into being. (And, as Mark Twain said, “Never let the truth get in the way of a good story.”)

Anyway, I hope you all have a happy Valentine’s Day. Unfortunately, mine probably won’t be very happy. When my wife reads this post, there is no doubt that, as Tom Purcell warned, I will have done something really stupid and will be desperate to make up.

Damn you Hallmark Cards, Inc. and your stupid Hallmark holiday.

Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #156

Welcome to Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge. Each week I will be posting a photo I grab off the internet and challenging bloggers to write a flash fiction piece or a poem inspired by the photo. There are no style or word limits.

The photograph below is from CookmePancakes @

For the visually challenged writer, the photo shows a woman sitting on a chair looking out of a large window at a long suspension bridge on a gray, foggy day.

If this week’s image inspires you and you wish to participate, please write your post, use the tag #FFFC, and link back to this post. I hope it will generate some great posts.

Please create a pingback to this post or manually add your link in the comments.