How the Grinch Stole Valentine's Day

-A WIT MEMO Valentine's Day Legend-

Valentine's Day is supposed to be a happy occasion, but it's often far from that.  Couples experiencing the problems that couples often experience might find Valentine's Day, with its ideal of pure love, a mocking, bitter contrast to their real-world difficulties.  Those who are dating casually may feel pressured on Valentine's Day to make a declaration of love that may be inappropriate, premature, and insincere.  And those who are single . . . well, being single on Valentine's Day is like being Jewish on Christmas.  If only someone -or someTHING- would rid us once and for all of this "holiday" that makes so many unhappy.  Fortunately, there is a creature, a beast, born and bred specifically to ruin holidays.  And that is why the time has come, once again, to tell the tale, the legend, of . . . how the Grinch stole Valentine's Day.

High above the sleeping city in my craggy mountain lair I brood, the Grinch That Stole Valentine's Day.  As the pages of the calendar fly by, past New Year's, into February, day after day, the fourteenth drawing nearer, I pace among the dark spires of my forbidding castle, gazing down over the rocky tors and fetid moats at the festive city below, where lovers have busied themselves with their preparations for Valentine's Day, their thoughts geared only towards the happiness of their sweethearts, and my rage grows and grows.  Those happy, loving couples, absorbed in their private spheres of passion, dead to the world, billing and cooing, they make me tremble with fury.   For three hundred sixty five days a year I beg them, "please, oh please, don't you know any women, any single women, any alluring single women you can introduce to me, The Grinch?  And for three hundred sixty four days a year they shift uncomfortably, stare at their feet, and mutter, no.  But one day each year they needn't be so polite.  One day each year they may spit back, "Get lost, this is our day, no losers allowed!  Couples only; two's company, three's a crowd!"  That day is Valentine's Day.  Valentine's Day, you say?   I swear on my eternally damned soul, that if it takes every gasp of the poisoned breath in my twisted Grinch body, I will destroy Valentine's day for all of them, for all of you!

But I am not bitter!  Me, bitter?  What could you be thinking of?!  You must be crazy!  Don't you realize that by destroying Valentine's Day I make it better for everyone?  Yes!  Why is Christmas enhanced by such tales as "A Christmas Carol" and "How (My Cousin) The Grinch Stole Christmas?"  What do Jews celebrate on Chanukah,  on Purim, and on Passover?  We celebrate revenge!  The delicious triumph over powerful enemies, that's what makes the holidays so sweet!  And that's why I'm here, why I'm here to destroy Valentine's Day for one and all!

On Valentine's Day eve, hours before the hated day is about to burst into full flower, I strike!  My master plan unfolds!  As the last rays of daylight disappear over the horizon I leap into my heart-shaped flying car  -shaped not like a Valentine's Day, playing-card heart, but an anatomically correct human heart, with pulsating ventricles and a dangling aorta- pulled by my slavering pack of magical flying jackals, and take to the sky!  On Misery!  On Rejection!  On Heartbreak!  On Crystal Gayle!  On Morrissey!  My bullwhip cracks and plays over their heaving backs as down through the clouds onto the unsuspecting city we swoop!  First stop, Acme Blackistone florists, and all the other flower shops, where I oooooze through the key hole and begin my fiendish work with all dispatch!  I first divide the mountains of red long stemmed roses into three piles; I snatch my gilt-encrusted atomizer and odorize the first batch of roses with the heady essence of ammonia and intestinal gas!  To the next portion of roses I perform a Morticia Adams pruning, snipping the fleshy, dehiscent flowers and leaving only the thorny stems.  And into each of the remaining roses I insert a live, boisterous honeybee!  When Sweetie Pie or Duck Bumps or Honey Lamb sticks her sweaty proboscis forward to sniff those lovely flowers:  ZAP!  KA-BANG!  Imagine, the star-crossed lovers trying to kiss when their noses are swollen to the size of cantaloupes!  And those are the lucky ones!  For others, anaphylactic shock!  But I can't linger too long to admire my handiwork, for what a long night I have ahead of me!  Now I'm off to the offices of the Washington Post, where the typesetters have just finished putting to bed their special, twenty-page Valentine's Day "Love Notes" insert, a transparent scheme to fatten the Post's already bulging coffers on the backs of love-struck dupes only too glad to pony up their hard-earned dollars to see their sappy notes and corny poems in near-microscopic print.  I'll just pull a level here, turn a dial there, and before you know it, what started out as,

  Dear Sharon,

  The time again is upon me
  To express how I care
  To the one who lights up my life
  My only Huggy Bear!

(Excerpt from actual Washington Post "Love Note" )
. . . will end up being read by thousands including dear Sharon and all her friends -for what's the point of paying to place one love note among many without bothering to alert the loved one and extract appropriate credit?- as,
  Dear Sharon,

  On this day called Valentine's
  When your love for me is true
  I'm just writing to let you know
  I'm fucking your best friend Sue.

My job at the Post well done, I next swoop down on the candy shops and confectioners and flat-out steal the beribboned boxes of chocolates awaiting delivery and giddy consumption, probably in bed.  I admit that it troubles me somewhat to resort to tactics as unimaginative as stealing, but I can't obsess over that right now, for I have other plans in store.  From here it's a quick hop, skip and a jump to the gleaming kitchens of the city's toniest restaurants, where I remove the delicately fleshed fish fillets and expensively trimmed roasts from the safety of the refrigerators, and set them to fester on top of the massive, shining ovens . . . but not before I've dialed those ovens to 350 degrees and placed within the boxes of chocolates I've been hating myself for stealing in the first place!  On the way out, I leave the back door ajar, in case any neighborhood cats, dogs, rats, raccoons, possums and other vermin happen to experience a hankerin'.

Then I'm off to the proud establishments of the city's finest wine merchants and purveyors of expensive spirits, where I remove my specially forged stainless-steel hat pin from its tailored leather sheath and, acting with the speed and skill of a battlefield surgeon, I plunge it through the corks of every bottle of champagne, imported and domestic.  All those Veuve Cliquots, those Tattingers, those Moets, and of course those Dom Perignons, each awaiting lovers' trysts and impassioned assignations, will pour out as stale and flat as the pathetic relationships they were intended to toast!  The notion makes me weak with laughter!  But I cannot retire my expensive pin just yet; one more task I have for it this night!  After pausing to lick the drops of delicious nectar that cling to its gleaming shaft, I glide like a ghost into the pharmacies, the wallets, the top dresser drawers, and into those cute little baskets and boxes women keep on their bedside tables, where, with its immeasurably sharp point, I delicately pierce each of the condoms that lay in solemn anticipation of the spasmodic culmination of this most special of all days.  There'll be more than one Valentine's Day surprise in the offing this year, that's for sure!

At last, exhausted, spent and sweaty from my labors, I climb back into my heart-shaped flying car, pulled by my slavering pack of flying jackals, and zoom off to the dark sanctuary of my forbidding castle.  And as the first rays of the sun break over the horizon, I drift off to sleep content in the knowledge that if I, The Grinch That Stole Valentine's Day, have been responsible for the end of just one relationship, for just one breakup, so that there is just one more freshly minted single woman, so that just one friend, when asked, won't reflexively spit back "no," but will instead pause and think and say, "now wait a minute, what about Amy . . . or Barbara . . .  or Carol or Diane or Debby or Karen or Jill or Linda or Mindy or Natalie or Rachel or Sharon or Wendy . . . isn't she single again? . . . Didn't she just break up with her boyfriend? . . . Wasn't it right around . . . Valentine's Day??" .... then NONE of my WORK will have been IN VAIN.

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