Here’s a piece of paper with Batman on it. I mean, I love you.

I played the childhood game well. I was an active participant in all the fun that could possibly be had. I finger painted with pudding. I sang “I’m A Little Teapot” and did all the motions. I hunted for eggs like a boss. I ate my Happy Meal and I liked it.

I bought it all. I didn’t question much. That is, until Valentines Day rolled around. That’s when my skepticism was piqued.

For all holidays in elementary school, there was a party. The Halloween party was always fun. The room mothers would come in and let us stick our fingers into bowls of cold spaghetti and tell us it was brains while we wore store-bought costumes. I didn’t mind that there were always several Cinderellas or Supermans. I was in the spirit. My public school was so white bread that we could have a flat-out “Christmas” party and no one would question whether that title was exclusionary. We probably would have sung “Away In A Manger” if Ashleigh’s mom had remembered to bring the portable cassette player.

Come February, the Valentines Day party rolled around, right when the sugar highs that we had experienced from Christmas were starting to wear off. The thing about the Valentines party was that there was homework involved. You had to prepare Valentines for everyone in your class, making sure that “Andrea K.” was differentiated from “Andrea V.” I got a bit of a rise the night before the party when I thought about my crush Kevin P. making a card out for me. For the 10 seconds it took for him to write my name across the bottom of the card, I was in his head and heart.

I was always skeptical of these cards, though. They were the third grade equivalent of phoning it in. As good a sport as I always was in all things of Kiddom, Valentines cards could not fool me into believing that they actually meant something.

First of all, you couldn’t even fold them. Everyone knows that in order for a card to be legit, you have to be able to fold it in half. The entire point of a card is to read the outside and get your attention with a clever pun or at least a picture of a cute cat, and then open it up to see what the punchline/ real message is. Children’s Valentines cards have absolutely no merit in this respect. You just take it out of the unsealable envelope and boom! There is the message. Where is the romance? Where is the finesse? Where is the use of our highly evolved opposable thumbs?

The messages themselves are real winners too.

garfield valentine (2)

Why, yes. Yes it is, Garfield Valentine card. It is Valentines Day. I can tell by all these Palmer’s candies being passed off as chocolate and by Mrs. Buchanan’s giant pink and red sweater with cupids making out on the back.

This one isn’t even trying:

Batman-Valentines-1-1-small

Well, since you spelled out “Whooosh!” with hearts for o’s, then love MUST be in the air. Look at Batman: he is running away from a giant heart! Affection is the literal nemesis in the milieu of this card.

Another reason I never bought into the charade of a Valentines card is that they all had some dumb theme that only appealed to the giver of said card. The point of giving a gift or a note is to tailor it to the recipient, not the giver. Tell that to an eight-year-old boy, who selects the box of Optimus Prime Valentines for his whole class:

Swoon.

Swoon.

BarbieYeah, something tells me that Beth the Pageant Participant isn’t going to love her Transformers card unless there’s a tube of watermelon LipSmackers taped to the back. No worries; Billy will get a compulsive Barbie Valentine in return. He’s a free-thinking lad. He will for sure get the sentiment, right?

The smart kids were aware of the lameness of Valentines and would insist on including a piece of candy within the tiny envelope. However, when you’re six and without a refined palate, you don’t yet appreciate the premium offerings of Godiva or even Ghirardelli. Instead, you go to what you know: heart-shaped antacids, the Valentines day equivalent of circus peanuts candy. Um, thanks?

I realized I had finally come of age yesterday when I logged into Facebook. A notification indicated that my husband had posted a picture to my wall. I clicked over and this is what I found:

ikea monkey

The man knows me and loves me. All that time he spent on Tumblr, he was actually just searching for the perfect card for me.

Happy V-Day to you all! May your day be full of chocolate-covered strawberries or full-strength Makers Mark.

Preferably both.

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107 comments

  1. twindaddy · · Reply

    Hilariously done, Emily.

    1. Hehe thanks, TD. Happy Valentine’s Day!

      1. twindaddy · · Reply

        You too!!

  2. OMG! “Are your eyes IKEA?” is the best. The photo of that stupid monkey cracks me up. Good one Emily. Way to remind us what a totally LAME-O holiday this is!! You nailed it.

    *I know my 21 year old son still keeps his decorated shoebox of special Valentine’s Day cards under his bed. Why? Because they make him laugh every time – nothing captures elementary school like those silly cards.

    1. I will never, ever tire of that monkey. It absolutely warms my heart and makes me snort with laughter everytime I see it.

      The decorated box! OMG, the memories are coming back to me now! In kindergarten, I was absent on the day the class made the boxes so on V-Day I was so worried that I would have no card receiver. The nice lady in the school office saw me stressing before school (yep, I was a worrier back then too) and helped me make a really pretty one. I haven’t thought about that in like 25 years. Now I have the warm-fuzzies. Thanks for jogging my memory!

      1. Aww..little Emily, the worrier – I can just picture you. So precious.

  3. I loved Valentines Day in school. I used to almost agonize over which valentine cards to buy. My favorite were the Pizza Hut ones I had in second grade.

    I was probably a bit too excited to buy some cards for my daughter this year, especially since they were Disney Princess cards.

    1. Pizza Hut cards! OMG that is awesome! I can’t even imagine the kind of messages that would be on them. “I want to give you a piece of my heart”, maybe?

      1. It was all sorts of food puns:

        “You have a pizza my heart” and “Lettuce be together.”

  4. I’ve always disliked Valentines Day, it’s so absolutely pointless :) In my school they used to decorate the cafeteria with heart balloons and crap, so romantic… Especially to a 10 year old who only cared about the heart shaped pancakes because they were delicious ;)

    1. Heart-shaped pancakes? I can ignore the inanity of Valentines Day if I get those. Speaking of V-Day pancakes…..

      http://liquorstorebear.com/2013/02/12/buttery-rum-mardi-gras-goodness-for-you-mfi-not-the-angels-your-kids-or-the-pope/

      1. Yeah they were the only good thing about Valentines ;)

  5. Emily,
    This brought back memories – I think everyone feels pretty much the same way. Hilarious. And your husband’s card is the best, I tell you!
    Cathy

    1. It really is! I am lucky we have the same ridiculous sense of humor. That monkey gives me giggle snorts whenever I see it. Happy V-Day, Cathy!

  6. My mother made me hand write the names of EVERY FREAKING IDIOT that I attended primary school with back when I was like 8, into their own valentines. UUUUGGGGHHH.

    NO MOM, I DON’T WANT TO GIVE JEFF A VALENTINE! YOU’RE GIVING ME MIXED GENDER ROLES!!!

    1. Why does Valentines Day have to be so confusing? I am convinced the only reason we had to send those cards was so we could learn all the names of the kids in our class.

      1. I don’t wanna learn it. Or why Jayson has a Y in his name……

            1. WOW. The use of “y” as a vowel is flagrant.

              1. You can only use Y so many times!

              2. Hey there. Sometimes it’s legit!

                1. YOU are the exception! Your “y” is legit.

  7. Love this!! And your husband’s card is just perfect. :-)

    1. I agree! He knows me way too well. ;D Happy V-Day, Shoes!

  8. I misread the Batman one as Wovvsh.
    The Ikea is the best of the lot.

    1. Wovvsh actually sounds like an end table sold at Ikea.

      1. GAH! I bet it’s filled with dowels.
        And that little mahogany marker for scratches…

  9. [...] Day is tomorrow, and I have a perfectly grouchy post planned. In the meantime, you should check out what Emily had to say about the day because it’s [...]

  10. This might be my favorite post by you ever. If this doesn’t get Freshly Pressed, there is no justice in the world.

    1. You are so sweet. xoxo

  11. Hehe. That was funny ;) I already got my first one yesterday, and it’s addressed to Tom.

    Hmmm…

    1. The plot thickens. Hopefully Tom’s admirer is also planning on sending him diamonds this year.

      1. Bloody hell! Now you got me all excited…

        1. I’m crossing my fingers for you!

  12. [...] made it in hopes of bringing some light to my friend Emily’s post about giving out valentines. It is good, go read [...]

  13. The only thing I liked about V-Day school parties is making the box and covering it with insane amounts of glitter. Also, this post made me crave those cheap heart-shaped cherry suckers with the white design crap on them. And then I wept for full-strength Makers. I have to stock up.

    1. ZOMG those suckers are so good! I had forgotten about them. They kind of tasted like cough syrup if cough syrup tasted good.

  14. I’m expecting top quality chocolates, candles, bath smellies, flowers, cards, gestures and, quite possibly, a puppy. The lack of any of the above will lead me to have an almighty strop and stomp about huffing and slamming doors. That’s pretty reasonable, right? PS I bet Kevin P was loving your return Valentine card. Just sayin.

    1. Haha by the time sixth grade rolled around, Kevin P. was well-aware of my obsessive infatuation with him and kept his distance.

      Hope you get ALL the things!

      1. Well, I’m disappointed to report that there was NO puppy. Understandably I have been in a foul mood and am planning to stay this way until NEXT Valentines day, when I expect a puppy will appear.

  15. OMG, love the monkey card! Now I feel compelled to find a cheesy pickup line and make a super-cheesy card to give my hubby tomorrow. We ordinarily ignore V-day entirely, but such a mockery would be utterly suitable!

    1. V-Day has become a parody of itself. I say, if you want to celebrate it, celebrate it with your tongue tucked firmly within your cheek.

  16. You are hilarious! Just think of thw wonders that await you when Miss C is old enough to do all this crazy stuff herself. :) Love you!

    1. LOL I know! I gave her a crayon to “sign” Daddy’s card today and my attempt at adorableness was thwarted by her desire to just eat it.

  17. I miss the days when there were no Disney characters or superheros on store-bought cards, although they were still so… sweet. You were right to be suspicious! The best Valentines card experience ever was in my daughter’s Montessori school — each kid (and teachers!) would draw the name of just one other person and hand-craft a fabulous creation for him/her. No store-bought crap allowed. It was great.

    1. I LOVE that idea! I’d much rather have one special card than a box full of garbage paper sent over from China. I am filing that idea away for when C gets a little older. Thanks, Laura!

  18. I love the ikea card! It’s so…perfect!
    I used to really like valentine’s day as a kid. All those silly cartoon card that made absolutely no sense were fun. And those heart-shaped antacids? Didn’t once realize how bad they were!

    1. I know, right?! I loved them too! Full disclosure: I may have an entire bag of them hidden away in my sock drawer.

  19. I remember it being a big deal that you had to make sure you didn’t give anything sexually suggestive to someone of the opposite sex which meant you had to give anything overly romantic to the same sex which seems wrong too. Brandon Phoenix only got 11 cards one year in a class of 25 because he was so hated. I don’t know what happened to him. Probably lost somewhere, not in your eyes.

    1. Poor Brandon Phoenix. He’s probably punishing us all now by being a producer of The Bachelor.

  20. My hubby is gettting gluten free cupcakes and pulled pork. I might shape the pork into a bbq sauce covered heart on the plate. Because pig is delicious AND romantic, right? Thanks for a fab post that brightened up my day. :)

    1. Now THAT is how you celebrate V-Day. BBQ hits my sweet spot too.

  21. This is hysterical! Shaming myself now but I like circus peanuts…just once in a blue moon.

    1. Really?! I have always wondered who ate those things. It was you all along! :D

      1. Yep, all me! Actually I eat them about once every two to three years so someone else out there shares my guilty pleasure!

  22. I loved Valentines day as a kid. Primarily because we spent instruction time making the boxes they would go in.

    1. Anything to get out of doing work!

  23. Very funny post! I will be trying not to throw up tomorrow when flower deliveries arrive at work. :)

    1. Ugh, I hate that. Flowers, schmowers.

  24. You ROCK !!!

  25. That monkey frightens me. Happy v-day! Come check out me and Adams date tomorrow. It should be way better than stale left over Halloween candy taped to an unfoldable card!

    1. I don’t doubt that at all. I am going to be tuning in simply because it’s been so long since I went on an unmarried date that I honestly don’t remember what it includes. Maybe putting together a puzzle while watching C-SPAN?

  26. YEAH! I’ll take some of those cards you don’t need thumbs to fold AND that MAKERS MARK you mentioned. Would you be my Valentine?

    1. I thought you’d never ask.

  27. Heart-shaped antacids! :) Thank you – thank you for that.

    I see the grown-up version of this being the Facebook “happy birthdays”. People you never talk to, you’re not even sure why they’re still on your friends list, popping in to tell you happy birthday as though they had it marked in their weekly planner. My birthday was just this past Sunday, and I can guarantee at least half of my messages were from folks who not only had no idea it was my birthday but also probably don’t even remember how they know me. Same exact thing as Kevin P. writing your name on his Optimus Prime cards. Only he probably spelled your name right – me, not so much…

    So yes, Bee Mine, Valentine. :)

    1. WOW. I can’t believe they spelled your name wrong! If I were your Facebook friend I would for sure spell your name correctly on my insincere birthday greeting. I may even give you a reprieve at least for a day with my incessant Farmville requests. MAY.

      Happy belated birthday! :D I meant that!

  28. I’d be charmed to get that Batman card. Although, the IKEA valentine is beautiful.

    1. The Batman card would make a pretty rad poster, methinks.

  29. My ever practical mom always bought pencils and erasers with heart designs. My crush had extra Valentine Kisses Chocos in the loot bag.

    1. See? Now THAT’S how it’s done. Extra Hershey Kisses for the win!

  30. My favorite VD memory was licking the sticky part and getting a paper cut on my tongue followed by then ditching that idea and taping them closed – then a piece of tape got stuck on my lip, I pulled it off and a bunch of skin went with it. It royally sucked. My 10 year old didn’t want to do VD cards this year, I support him fully. We made cookies instead – without optimus prime or barbie.

    Hilarious post – you so funny.

    1. OUCH! There is nothing worst than getting a mouth paper cut, except maybe getting a paper cut in the palm of your hand. FACT: paper cuts are often used as torture mechanisms in prison camps. OK that’s not a fact. Oh wellsies.

      Y’all have the right idea making cookies instead of doing Valentines.

      1. Much less painful all around ~

        1. Except for the ensuing bellyache. I have no moderation. I can eat all the cookies in one sitting.

      2. And thank you for your dubious factoid ~

        1. I am FULL of them. And by “them” I mean “it.”

  31. LOVE. This totally made my whole day. These cards were the best. And also the worst. And every year I’d read into them. “Oh, Aaron gave you a Batman, but ME a Superman…that means he loves ME SUPER amounts!” Yeah. I was looking for love in ALL the wrong places.

    1. I did the exact same thing!!!!!!! Kevin P. gave me a Barbie card, which means he probably wanted to tailor his card to me since he harbors secret desire for me. Yeah, more like he ran out of his Transformers cards and had to use his little sister’s extra cards.

  32. Loved the IKEA card – what a smoothie!

    1. He’s a pretty romantic guy, for sure.

  33. [...] Every once in awhile I get a notion to make something. Yesterday, the inspiration came from The Waiting. [...]

  34. Loved this. I had a friend who would get flowers sent to her every year at primary school. Ten years later, we discovered it was her mum sending them to her… But I’m pretty sure she also got a card that folded out, so that probably made up for it.

    1. What a lucky girl! Have you ever seen the movie “Clueless” where the girl sends herself flowers and chocolates at school? Good stuff! :D Thanks for commenting and subscribing, Tom!

  35. My daughter was upset this year because she knew that all her hard work on her homemade V-day cards would be for naught when she delivered them to the boys and they promptly got recycled. (The rule is you give to everyone to the class or you give to no one). She said that all the boys want is the chocolate or the candy. I said that as the boys get older they may appreciate it, but that they still prefer food over sentiments.
    It’s a funny/silly day.

    1. Poor gal! You taught her a good lesson though; the way to many a boy’s heart is through his stomach. That’s why when you find one who appreciates the sentiment of a card, you hold on and never let go!

      1. So wise. So true!

  36. I’m generally suspicious of all things Valentine’s Day (although I like the sentiment, and the reminder to tell the special people in our lives how much they mean to us), and I think cards are generally kind of lame. However, you could not be more off-base regarding that Batman card. It was hella awesome then, it’s hella awesome now, and so shall it forever be hella awesome throughout eternity, hallelujah, world without end.

    1. Amen, amen. As you can see, I am impressed with monkeys wearing jackets and Comic Sans Valentines, so my taste is a little off. Batman card, I have to admit, is pretty awesome.

  37. Haha! Oh, I love that card! Hope you had a great Valentine’s today. I spent the better part of last night helping the kids fill out around 35 Star Wars/Hello Kitty cards and then taping tiny light sabers and pencils to each one. Glad it’s over now.

    1. That is some dedication! I have so much to look forward in the future!

  38. Ha. This is a great piece. The pictures really made it extra great.

    1. I see that the monkey had put you under its spell as well. Thanks, Mike.

  39. What a great ‘card’ from your hubby! Mine used a left-over construction paper heart and wrote a sweet message on it and left it in the fridge for me to find,and then texted me a corny poem that rhymed ‘5 foot 2′ with ‘eyes of blue’ and ‘I love you’! So much better than heart-shaped antacids.

    Great, funny post. I’ve been wanting to read it all day.

    1. Thanks! My hubster ended up making me a similar card at work. Those are the absolute best. Even though the materials probably cost like $0.000002, the homemade cards always beat the pants off everything Hallmark sells.

      1. And they are better at getting pants off…

  40. Pardon my French, but f*ck yes. I loved having Christmas parties in school. And every holiday party, really. I think we even had a Christmas pageant once. Like, honestly, no regard for other religions. How awesome.
    I remember in kindergarten my mom and dad helped me MAKE valentines for my class instead of buying them. So much work. After that I definitely bought Barbie ones or Pocahontas or whomever was popular at the time. Too right about the boy Valentines though. So amazing. I liked when people who give Charlie Brown Valentines. They were always so depressing.

    1. Yes! I’m glad someone else has these classroom party memories. I think one year for the big school-wide Christmas spectacular, they sang a Hannukkah song, but that was completely a one time thing. I’m pretty sure I went to the most politically incorrect elementary school outside of Texas.

  41. TheTragicWhale · · Reply

    That card is so perfect!

  42. Oh the Ikea monkey card is just genius! I need one in my life

  43. Your husband gives the best valentines ever!

  44. [...] made it in hopes of bringing some light to my friend Emily’s post about giving out valentines. It is good, go read [...]

  45. I just sent my 4 year olds off with a pile of cheap Peanuts themed valentine cards. It took approximately nine hours to spell out all 8 names of kids in their class for them to write, and I would be surprised if they could recognize which card belongs to who today. Hopefully the parents understand that my boys don’t actually want any of their classmates to be their sweet babboo. In retrospect, I should have supervised that a little closer and/or scrapped the project altogether. Mistakes were made.

  46. Man. So funny!! I love the title of it the most. Oh, and the card your husband made. :)

  47. The Ikea line. That’s the boss.

    And this post has brought my apathy about Valentine’s day to a new level. I know that doesn’t sound like a compliment, but it is :)

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