Hearts And Flowers
Hello, I Must Be Going
BY PHIL LAMANCUSA
Love doesn't come in a minit; sometimes it doesn't come at all. I only know that when I'm init; it isn't silly, it isn't silly, love isn't silly at aaaaaaaaallll."
Yes Cats and Hats, it's February and time to take love and Valentine's Day for another spin around the block. So, kick the tires, check your gas gauge and fasten your seat belts.
In the time of the Roman emperor Claudius the Cruel there was a priest named Valens or Valentine or something. Claudius the Cruel wanted to raise an army but guys didn't want to leave their wives and families, so in a typical political maneuver the emperor banned weddings. He figured that if guys didn't have wives and families that they would be more likely to give up their lives in battle for nuts like him. Typical political thinking. Rome was called a republic, which makes Claudius an early republican.
Well, Val was a priest that didn't see eye to eye with Claude and went on marrying couples; so Claude had him bludgeoned to death with clubs and decapitated. The execution took place on February 14th, which was, by coincidence, the feast day of Juno, the goddess of childbirth and marriage. The Following day was the beginning of a festival called Lupercalia.(Actually Lupercalia was from Feb 13th-15th). Lupercalia was the celebration of purification and pregnancy, named for the she-wolf who suckled Romulus and Remus, for the Greek god Pan and all his lascivious antics, and for the cleansing ritual named Februatio (after the Roman God of purification and washing, Februus) for which the month February is named.
What's the point? The whole point of Valentine's Day was for the church to subsume another pagan ritual with a feast of a saint whom they would later defrock, along with Christopher and Nicolas. In Euclidian geometry a point is something that has no parts. And if you think that I'm handing you a line, I'll take it a step further by quoting Euclid again who said that a "line is a length without a breadth". If you throw religion out (imagine) the whole pagan festival is like a big three-day pure nurturing love fest, complete with body fluids; or, a line with a point at both ends. It's more like the arrival of spring weather and a reason to party like it's nineteen ninety twenty-two. Think about it.
So, there you go; full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. How's your love life? Got your Valentine's cards out yet? Got a Valentine? Want to beat them with clubs and cut their heads off?
Oh, before Val's execution he passed a note to the jailer's daughter, with whom he had developed a ‘friendship' (yeah, right.); he signed it "your Valentine." What was in the note is anybody's guess. Supposedly, that was the beginning of the whole card thing.
So, let's flog this horse another mile and touch on the subject of love. Love is, for the most part, a trickster, a shape-shifter and a mischief-maker; in all mythologies god and godlike beings personify these types of rascals and one thing they have in common is a proclivity and propensity for procreation. Like love, they also are not trustworthy. Eros, Loki, Kokopelli, Hermes, Ananse and Raven are prime examples. Not know many of those guys? Well here's a story:
Once upon a time (it's a ‘once upon a time' story) there was a being born of the elements: fire, water, air and earth. This being was enormously unhappy because they did not have an element that was missing from their life, or so they thought—LOVE.
This being was to wander the earth and spheres and witness the love that others had; the love of a mother as she suckles her babe, the love of a faithful and obedient pet, love to a just and merciful god, the love that comes from fealty to king and country and the love that the fortunate have for their local bartenders. There's the love of arts and beauty, of food that is tasty and well prepared, and of the gifts of the muses: poetry, drama, dance and dirty jokes (just kidding); the love of a good book, a trusted friend, fauna and flora and a juicy piece of gossip.
Everywhere that this being looked they saw love: the love of toys and playthings, the love of a harmonic gathering of like minded individuals, of nature and of marshmallows toasted over a campfire at sunset. Then they saw the love that people have for being with other people: double Dutch rope jumping, card games, singing in harmony, playing dress up, playing undress up, doing shots together, group hugs and working together to achieve a common purpose.
Then they saw the love that a person has for themselves: in doing good deeds, in helping the less fortunate, in setting goals and reaching them, in tending the infirm, in preserving their natural surroundings, in those little ‘toys' that are kept in the bedside drawer and in sticking it to BP for a butt load of money.
The being that was formed of the elements gave a big sigh (BBBBIIIIGGGGGSSSSIIIIGGGGHHHH!!!!!) and thought that there must be a down side to all of this love stuff, so they retreated to a mountain by the side of a lake and felt the breathing of the waves and listened to the whispers of the wind in the cool bright beatific shining of the sun and by the light of a pure moon and heavenly starlight. For a millennium they sat and pondered the human condition and came up with the insight and image of an insecure spirit trapped in a flawed body, greedy for power, materialistically oppressive, vindictive and cowardly petty; these belligerent bipeds, who infested the planet like a rash on a baby's butt, thought that they were hot stuff armed with the belief that, if nothing else, being on top of the food chain made them something special.
The being that was formed from the elements came down from the mountain with this knowledge and was promptly bludgeoned with clubs and decapitated. It doesn't pay to look too close at love. Happy Valentines.