Greetings Valentine sufferers!
Welcome to the February (pronounced "Feb-ROO- airy")
Read&Delete, a newsletter guaranteed to be just as refreshing as
walking into your own sneeze.
This month is all about hearts and flowers and candy and machine guns and old
From the Read&Delete Almanac:
50 years ago this month- the music died- just outside Clear Lake, Iowa. Buddy
Holly and Ritchie Valens traded their guitars for harps, and the Big
Bopper made his last and biggest bop ever-- to the other side.
80 years ago this month-- a group of Al Capone's "musicians" played
a tune on their tommy guns in a Chicago garage for a few members of
Bugs Moran's gang --and a bystander-- a concert otherwise known as the
St. Valentines' Day Massacre.
#1 Never get on a small plane in bad weather when surrounded by rock and roll
#2 Never have your car serviced on Valentine's Day.
Why, yes! We salute Valentine's Day!!!!! It's the Hallmark of
Holidays! When you care enough to send the hairy beast-- er --- the very
So we discuss some things about Valentine's Day that don't seem to make sense:
This is true marketing in action. People have been conditioned over
the past decades to believe that they cannot put their true feelings
into words. This has been done by greeting card companies in order to
pry 3 or 4 bucks out of the hands of some poor sot who thinks he can't
effectively express himself. Yet if you cut him off if traffic.... he
expresses himself in fine form. .. and in no uncertain terms. But it's a
sentiment thing, I guess. Our guy will spend 20 minutes in the greeting card
aisle, trying to find the right card-- not too drippy, not too corny, not too
expensive. Something with flowery prose that conveys an emotion that fits
somewhere in between "I can tolerate you from time to time- when you
can keep your stupid yap shut" and, "I feel horribly incomplete
whenever we are apart dear, and I live only for the commitment to you I have
forever burning in my soul." Sometimes it is really too hard to just the
right thing to say-- so for this reason the Read&Delete has developed for
you-- our very own---
Specialized Valentines' Greetings:
To my darling sweetheart, the apple of my eyes-- I will love you always,
or until my wife gets wise.
Valentine, I give you the moon, the stars, the sun--- It's all I have to
give--- since your @#!*# lawyers have taken all the rest.
I tried so hard to tell you just how much I need you --- but the kidnappers
wouldn't let me-- Happy Belated Valentine's Day
P.S. Please send small, unmarked bills.
Valentine--- Since you've been gone I feel really depressd--- almost as
bad as when you were here.
They say enough alcohol can make any woman beautiful-- for your sake,
Valentine I hope it's true-- because I'm trying as hard as I can.
Valentine, your beauty makes a melody in my heart------- that harmonizes
perfectly with the voices in my head.
Conversation Hearts--- Many years ago, some wiseguy managed to print
tiny words on little heart-shaped lumps of sugar, and began to market them to
love-sick sucrose addicts. Every year, thousands of pounds of these hardened
tooth smashers are sold to people who couldn't make intelligent conversation
(or even an understandable message) with them if they tried for a whole month.
And now with the advent of 'political correctness', they have become out and
out sterile in their romantic messaging capabilities. Nowadays, there simply
must be another use for these things (other than jump-starting
cavities). I have an idea.........
A Sentimental Journey- My tale from the "Night Gallery"
Throughout my formative years, I have not had very much luck in the area of
friendship or acceptance with the softer sex. As I recall, there was a
little girl in my first grade class in school named Kim, who at odd moments (and
without warning) used to run up to me, kick me in the shin as hard as she
could, and run away. This happened several times a week, and I think I still
have the scars. This Kim was not to be confused with the other
Kim in my class who used to draw cute little pictures of people (normal
looking pictures except the people all seemed to be depicted with cat ears).
But I digress.
Back in '67 and '68, all the little girls in my grade had names like Kim,
Jenny, Mary, Sally and Susie-- with a few Cathys and Margarets thrown
in.They wore cute dresses and ribbons in their hair. The boys were Johns,
Mikes, Bills, Daves and a Joe or two. The Vietnam war was big in
everyone's minds, along with the space program, civil rights and forced
bussing of students.
'67 and '68 were also the years before Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) became
popular, or desirable. Nowadays there are specialized tutors and facilities
for these unique students. Before that, in the Dark Ages-- kids like
me were diagnosed as 'hyperactive'. The hyper kids were pretty easy to spot.
We were the ones who would recite the entire alphabet in one syllable, eat our
snacks through our noses, and levitate over our mats during nap-time. Stuff
like that was pretty disruptive for the teacher who were busy getting the
Bills, Mikes, Marys and Kims to color inside the outlines and keep their
postures straight. They just weren't equipped to handle the lone
kid who could color with 8 crayons simultaneously before climbing inside the
classroom piano to see how it worked.
In order to restore peace in the classroom, guys like me got letters to
take home from the teachers-- and got sent to doctors for diagnosis. I remember
this well. At some hospital I had a mess of wires taped or glued to
my head and hooked up to the Bat Computer-- while doctors and nurses made
me alternately lie still or do some small activity. As I recall, they had to
run the test several times due to my fidgeting and tugging the wires off. That
may have been the actual test- to see how long a six year old could sit still
in a scary room with nasty people around and wires glued to his
The diagnosis was made, and the medication was prescribed. That's how it
was in the '60s-- diagnosis, medication-- diagnosis, medication. Now I
want to make a distinction here, a distinction between the medications and
treatments used today and those used in my childhood. Today's work with
ADD is incomparably superior to my early experiences. Today's treatments
are far more controlled and effective than the old 'tractability' goal.
I was made definitely made tractable with a high dosage of a drug called
Dexedrine- a powerful stimulant illegally used even now by truck drivers
to stay awake all night. On the street they call it with names like:
speed, goofballs or skinny bennies. In my case, the drug had a
'scale-balancing effect' -- its presence caused other chemicals to
activate and supposedly calm me down, somewhat. Because of this, I was able to
sit more quietly in a classroom at the cost of not being able to either think
straight or control my emotions for any substantial length of time. Every
morning for 12 years, I awoke to given a glass of water and a Dexedrine
capsule (or two)- which I had to swallow without chewing- unless I wanted
to experience the most bitter taste in my mouth that I could imagine-- I guess
that's why I can't stand dry vermouth in my martini - it makes me think
I'm being doped.
My very real problem was not necessarily with Dr. Speedball
or the teachers or the grown ups (they make allowances and adjustments) but
with my fellow classmates. This is where cruelty lives in its most
virulent form. In grammar school- to be different is to be despised --
and derided. Sticks and stones may break your bones, but names can kill
you. Boys can chase you around the playground and pound lumps into you, but girls
can open their mouths and tear holes in your soul. A boy can defend
himself against other boys, but girls are another matter entirely. They come
very close to getting away with murder, either with a look, a word or with
gossip. Case in point-- most of the cyber-bullying done today is done by
I can remember the moment when it all began, in the late
sixties version of utopia- the suburbs. I was in the second grade at the
Sanford E.Simoniz Elementary School, in the months before a man named
Neil walked on the moon. I was supposed to write a book report (my choice
of title) and I didn't do it. I put it off too long, distracted by the
important events of the day on television: Mission Impossible, Mannix,
Dragnet and the likes. I didn't even read the book. The teacher,
thinking I read it, decided to give me a 'second chance' by standing me up in
front of the class to give the report orally. The book I was supposed to read was
called "Blaze and the Forest Fire" and I supposed it was about a
horse named Blaze who saves her owner and bunch of others from a terrible
fire. This was a correct synopsis about the book, and I bluffed it out pretty
good-- but I added to the ending of the book by saying ,
"Blaze got burned up in the fire". Big mistake. At the time I did
not know (or maybe I did) that all little girls of the day were desperately in
love with horses (some ended up marrying them) and that most of the girls
in the room had already read that book. When I made my report, some of
the girls cried, some were shouting, That's not true!", and one of the
little girls got sick.
The turmoil was unbelievable. I refused to recant my story, and got
sent to the principal's office. During my absence, the teacher gathered the
little girls around her and tried to explain it all away by saying that I had
a "problem". She was trying for the sympathy angle, but it
didn't work. Little girls have no sympathy for horse-burners (real or
imagined) especially those who make them vomit in the classroom. By the
time I got back to class, the girls were in full vitriol mode (as much as seven
and eight year olds can be) and by the end of the week it was all over
the school and the neighborhood. For the next ten years, I was marked as a
'retard' and that was that. As long as the story preceded me, I was a dead
duck with my classmates. I finally got off the meds as a high-school
sophomore, but it still didn't help my standing with the girls.
Thankfully, I married a girl who does not love horses, and if she doesn't
read the book, she'll never know the difference.
Moral: Horses don't burn well, unless they are medicated first.
What does this last story have to do with Valentines Day? I gave my
'book report' and February 14, 1969. I remember it because I single-handedly
ruined the Valentine's Day party.
Gotta go, I need my meds.