the oppression and anxiety of everyone’s favorite made-up holiday, Valentines
cliché. And Valentine’s Day is a national holiday devoted to cliches.
Are you kidding me? Who
could be flattered to receive a gift that millions of imagination-plauged men
have bought for their wives and girlfriends?
eradication)? A little bit of
imagination. And, if you insist on
acknowledging this dreadful concession to yet more consumerism, at least use
your brain. Buy her a compass.
Why a compass?
Because people have found hearts and red bows to be moronic and tired
symbols of love for centuries. At
least John Donne did. That’s why
he didn’t include any of those things in his poem, “A Valediction: ForbiddingMourning,” which is more romantic and sincere than anything you’ll find in the
Hallmark aisle of Walgreens.
mission. His wife, who was staying
behind in England, had terrible feelings that something tragic was going to
happen to one or both of them while he was gone, and pleaded with him not to
go. In the poem, he reassures her
that nothing could possibly separate the two of them, since their souls were
joined forever. And here is where
he used the conceit of the compass, saying:
And though it in the center sit,
compass that stays fixed, at the center of the circle. As he travels away from her, she leans
and “hearkens” after him; when he returns, she stands up straight again in
and he would not be able to end “where I begun.” But because she is steadfast, he returns at the starting
point, and his circle—the symbol of perfection, with neither a beginning nor an
idea, but so is shilling out $100 for some stupid flowers. Any way you look at it, Valentine’s Day sucks.