It’s high time we put the pomp and circumstance of Valentine’s Day on trial.
All rise in the proceedings of The People vs. Valentine’s Day...
Heading up the all-star prosecutorial team is Mr. Geoff Rynex.
And handling the defense of Sir Valentine is Mr. Sam Eichner...
Prosecution: Folks, let me start by asking you this simple question: when’s the last time you pulled out a calendar and marked down “Valentine’s Day” as something to actually look forward to? Probably never, I’d assume. Yet every year we’re expected to remember this trivial day of hopeless romance, or lack thereof. Perhaps if the whole thing weren’t such a grand spectacle of prix fixe dinners and heart-shaped chocolate boxes, we’d be more inclined to let this ridiculousness stand.
Defense: Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, the prosecution is right. Valentine’s Day is a trivial holiday. Prix fixe dinners are involved. As are heart-shaped boxes, filled with chocolates, which are also, not coincidentally, heart-shaped. But I’m going to ask you to peel back the lace red curtain and look beyond what was so glibly referred to as “a grand spectacle.” To ask yourself whether Valentine’s Day might be justifiable in its service to something greater—to the entity we hold most dear on this earth. I’m talking, of course, about love. And sex. But mostly love.
Prosecution: Ah, yes, love. The grand facade that Valentine’s Day hides behind to sell countless greeting cards and the diamond industry uses to sell shiny rocks. Are we to believe that love on one day can feel any different than it does on every other day of the year? Do you expect us to believe that you can only get laid in the middle of February? This “love” you speak of has been manufactured to the point that we now have people walking around thinking that a heart is shaped like a pointy pretzel. Where are the chambers and the valves, Hallmark? Where?
And what’s the deal with this Cupid character? Is he Valentine’s creepy cherubic cousin? Why does one day need multiple spokespersons? What is this, Geico?
Defense: Lace lingerie. Massage oil candles. Edible underthings. Little red feathers that are, like, super ticklish in sexual situations. The prosecution would have you believe that the only industries propped up by Valentine’s Day are blood diamonds and forest destroying greeting card companies. But I ask the jury this: do you really think all that other fun stuff would exist without Valentine’s Day? My response to this rhetorical question is the same as if the soles of my feet were being disturbed by that red feather. Which is to say: Belly. Aching. Laughter.
And don’t start in on Cupid. He’s a harmless missionary for love. An overweight old dude in a robe slides down your chimney and eats all your cookies every year, but you don’t see anybody complaining about him.
Prosecution: Oh, we’re just getting started on Cupid. As a matter of fact, we call the baby/angel/cartoon himself to the witness stand.
Cupid... er, Mr. Cupid... is it just Cupid? So what’s your deal? Look at you, flying in all jubilant and love-struck, acting like you don’t have a care in the world. News flash, Cupid: arrows hurt people. And I’m not talking about the people you’re shooting them at. I’m talking about the innocent bystanders caught in the crossfire. Those lovelorn folk who can’t seem to fall in love without thinking they need to be “hit by Cupid’s arrow.” Guess what: you’re making these sad, lonely people even more miserable by rubbing it in their faces. Doesn’t seem so angelic after all, does it?
Defense: Objection! Leading the witness.
Honorable Judge Fox of Manitowoc County: Sustained.
Defense: Cupid, may I ask how old you are?
[Cupid blinks absentmindedly.]
Great. Now, can you tell me what your arrows are made of?
Cupid: Goo-goo ga-ga.
Defense: May the record clearly state the witness has responded “goo-goo” and “ga-ga.”
Ladies and gentlemen, Cupid is a baby. A sweet, innocent baby, albeit with a quiver of toy arrows. Now, do these toy arrows make people fall in love? Sure they do. But would a saint or whoever it is who endowed Cupid with this task really do so if he or she or they believed it would harm mankind? That’s for you to decide.
Consider this: love is pain; pain is love. Someone famous said that. I believe it was noted late-’90s rap artist Ja Rule. Anyway, would the jury not agree that love is not love without a bit of suffering? That suffering itself is a fair price to pay for love? That those arrows are as much instruments of love as they are weapons of love, as much inflictors of pleasure as they are pain? That therefore Valentine’s Day—or “the grand spectacle,” as the prosecution calls it—is in fact built upon a much more complex and realistic interpretation of love than its surface-level totems of prix fixe dinners and anatomically incorrect heart shapes may suggest
Prosecution: Sure, Cupid is a baby. Sure, Ja Rule is our modern-day Casanova. But we can’t all be expected to live up to these lofty ideals. Perhaps that’s the real issue here: would people rather live a fantasy than face reality? The prosecution rests.
Verdict: Love may be pain. And pain may be love. But those are not questions for a court of law to discuss. Taking into consideration the incoherence of the defense’s witness, the nebulous nature of the arguments and a general hatred of babies that aren’t babies, the court finds in favor of the prosecution. Valentine’s Day is awful. Treat your significant other right all year round.
This article originally ran on January 24th, 2017.