So after my rant about Valentine’s Day (that took me 6 days to write), Karma gives me Robot S.P.3 to share with everyone. I can’t believe the irony of it all, actually. Sherman set the Way-Back Machine for 2/12/10.
Friday night I had an interesting conversation with Melinda about how I (well we actually…. I just didn’t want to throw her under the bus) could be such a cynical person and yet truly appreciate the important things in life. I won’t say that I’m an optomist, because I’m still working on that; however, I have at least moved from my previous “no glass” stance on the “empty/2 vs. full/2″ debate.
Then strangely enough my dad (Fred) called tonight to wish me an (early) happy birthday and we ended up having a very similar talk. He’s enjoying life more than ever, but he still gets pissed off by the people at Cheers (only the names and locations have been changed to protect the innocent… well, just the location really. You all know that Fred is my dad… wouldn’t do much good to lie about that now).
I relayed that I might have some theories on why we’re both cynics; however, this isn’t the “Nature vs. Nurture” Channel… so we won’t get into all of that. (If you’re interested in getting into all of that, Nature and Nurture are squaring off in a steel-cage title-match this week on WWE RAW). I added that there are a lot of things that get me wound up too:
- Truck Balls
- People who say “irregardless”, “supposubly”, “take things for granite”, “for all intensive purposes”, and “excetera”
- Colors (I’m color-blind people…not racist)
- Compound interest
But recently I’ve managed to compartmentalize all of that and focus on what, but more importantly who, really matters the most. That brings us back to Robot S.P.3, the Sweet Pickles book from above, the Sweet Pickles book from Connor’s closet, my Sweet Pickles book from 1981. “This Sweet Pickles book belongs to Eric Kintzel” written printed in just about 5-year-old script.
I read it to him for bed last night (on the aforementioned Valentine’s Day) for the first time… and he loved it so much that he had me read it to him again tonight, with the stipulation that we’d read it again tomorrow night.
My dad read that book to me for years… and to Garret (my brother) and me for even more years… and he’d read it “the right way” as my poor mom was reminded when she didn’t read it like dad did. (Our dog Butch literally ate the top edge of the book, but SP3 - much like in the story – could not be stopped). Of course any time SP3 would talk in the book, dad would read it in the classic robot voice… sometimes even acting it out (which never really helped us “wind down” for bed, but we didn’t care).
Flash forward 20-plus years and here I was with my own little boy reading the same book… not the same story, but the actual dog-chewed, “This Sweet Pickles Book Belongs to Eric Kintzel“-signed copy of my book. Playing the part of me was Connor, which had to mean that I was filling the story-telling shoes of my dad… which is no small undertaking, I might add.
Now (coming back to the beginning of my post) I may be a cynical a-hole sometimes, but none of the aura of that moment last night was lost on me last night. I’ve been sitting here for 10 minutes trying to put it into words, but I can’t… and rather than say something clichéd, I’ll just say that I hope that some day my son looks back on his story-time with me as fondly as I look back on my story-time with my dad.
Life isn’t about who flips you off on the highway, who sits next to you at work with that annoying click when they chew, or who swipes that last copy of your New Release at Blockbuster on a Friday night. Life is about family and friends (…don’t be upset about always being listed 2nd “friends”. Remember some say that friends are the family that you get to choose…) …most importantly, the ones who want you to read Robot S.P.3 tomorrow night.
Did I mention that I have always hated Valentine’s Day? I think it all started back in grade school. All of the little 8-year-old playaz had the baskets full of “I love you”, “Be my valentine”, and “I Choo-Choo Choose You” (Ralph Wiggum TM) cards spilling out of their construction-paper baskets.
Meanwhile a young (husky-jeans-wearing) Eric Kintzel was getting cards like these:
- I LOVE YOU (printed) but just as friends (in crayon)
- HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY (printed) but I’d date girls first (in pink with hearts over the “i’s”)
- YOU’RE CUTE (printed) r than the kid in the helmet (in marker)
- I WANT YOU (printed) to leave me alone (in red pen from my teacher)
So things didn’t start off well for Valentine’s Day. Then as I got older and began dating I realized that Valentine’s Day was just a relationship land-mine. There’s no way to win… and it doesn’t matter how long you’ve been in your relationship.
- Just started dating – What is the correct “gift to relationship duration” ratio? You can’t seem too serious and get a ring after a few dates…that’s a no brainer; however, do you really need to be saddled with the cost of roses after 3 dates? Is a card enough? Who the hell knows…
- In the pre-marriage zone – You’re in the “prince charming stage”. You’re the guy to take Snow White and ride off into the sunset. You’re probably saving up your money for an engagement ring…or maybe even planning the income vortex that is a wedding. Things are serious now, right? But here’s the reality of it all. The last thing you can afford to do is drop $100 on dinner, $50 on flowers, and God knows how much on a “girl-friend approved” gift. But if you don’t, you subject her to watching other women getting flowers at work all day while she sits and thinks about what a cheap asshole you are.
- Married! – Now you can actually say things like, “Should we really spend $200 on Valentine’s Day?”… and if you’re lucky enough you’ve married someone who says, “let’s spend it on something cool”. But there’s still a good chance that you’re a frugal dick… and of course your suggestion of some sexy lingerie is probably viewed as more of a waste of money than flowers (that will be dead before they show up on your credit card statement).
I can’t tell you how many diamond commercials I’ve heard in the last two weeks. It’s ridiculous! This has really become a man’s day to screw up. There’s really not much to gain. If you pull it off, you might get to stay at zero… but there’s always the potential to bury yourself at a depth that might require a donkey and a native American tracker to find you.
I guess the thing that bothers me the most about VD (funny…right?) is the whole premise of the “holiday”…if you can call it that. If you really love (or care about) the person you’re with, why do you need to especially celebrate it on this one particular day? Shouldn’t you be that amazingly, inseparably in-love every day of the year? Do you really need to single out February 14th? Pace yourself…. be a great spouse (or significant other) every day!
…and I haven’t even mentioned the amount of stress and/or depression it can bring on for some of us single folks. Now I’m not upset about being single (or alone), but that wasn’t always the case. February 14th is hellish for people who don’t want to spend that day alone… especially if all of their friends are all going out doing something “romantic”. A recent break-up can make Valentine’s Day feel extremely scarring…like living through an emotional Holocaust. Woot woot!!
To top off all of my warm and wonderful emotions about 2/14 is the fact that my birthday is 2/16. Why does this matter, you say? Since I’m not a complete shut-in (yet), I do occasionally like to go out on (or around) my birthday; however, with Valentine’s Day right up against it… I often have to fight all of the same crowds, “happy” couples, and doubled-up wait times if I feel like going out to celebrate. So most of the time, I don’t. And this is where I get a tad irrational, selfish, and (yes even a lot) pissed off!
My birthday is the one day each year that I can claim as my own (and not feel like a complete selfish asshole about it). There are no two ways about it… even Father’s Day (the only other holiday that I can claim in any way) is really all about getting to spend time with my son and my own dad. So, I do get a bit selfishly upset when my least favorite “holiday” screws up anything to do with my birthday. Why couldn’t it be Halloween, St. Patrick’s Day, or even Flag Day?!
I’m sure some of you are thinking… “Waaaahhhh… poor Eric”
- Doesn’t he have anything better to whine about?
- The answer would be: In general, yes; however, on February 13th, no. I hate Valentine’s Day. It can burn in hell.
- Isn’t Eric’s son’s birthday around Christmas? How can he still bitch about Valentine’s Day?
- Yes, Connor’s birthday is 12/17. He loves Christmas and it doesn’t screw up his birthday. He gets 3 weeks of celebrations, cakes, and presents. At any point when he becomes disillusioned by his birthday’s proximity to Christmas, I’ll teach him how to blog. Until then, that kid is living the dream.
- Grow up, get a life, and get over it
- Also see: my blog, tough shit
For all of you celebrating this “holiday”, go out have a great time. I wish you all the best of luck navigating the ever-changing labyrinth of rules, enduring the anxiety of present selection, and sitting on your thumbs waiting for a table.
For all of you sane people (like me), I wish you all A Very Happy Un-Valentine’s!