Monday, February 21, 2005

Modern Valentines

I know it's late to talk about Valentine's Day, but I just had a conversation with one of my kids last night that sparked these thoughts:

When I was a kid we would buy Valentine cards with hilarious puns on them and give them to the people we liked, admired, or were trying to kiss-up to. This exercise was a crude, but probably very accurate, popularity rating tool. The more cards you received, the more kids liked you.

In fifth grade, for example, I bought one for my pal Armen because he introduced me to KISS, and we used to discuss The Six Million Dollar Man together at recess. I also bought one for Jana Anderson. I didn't understand why at the time. We weren't friends, I just knew that when I looked at her I forgot my own name.

I never worried much about the losers in the class because there was always a future Homeless Shelter Volunteer, usually a girl, who would provide Welfare Valentines for them. This was a win-win situation because the do-gooder gained a sense of satisfaction from helping one of the unfortunates, and the loser got someone to stalk for the next six months before the restraining order could be put into effect.

I never minded at all that I only got 4-5 cards because I knew they came from real friends. Once I even got one from Jana. I'm not kidding. It was a banner moment for me. I like to tell myself that it wasn't a welfare card either, but that she had Crapples Fever and was giving me the card hoping to find the cure.

Fast Foward to the present day: Those of you without kids may not know this, but now the whole system has changed. My kids were sent home with a class list and instructed to fill out Valentines for each person on the list regardless of their status as babes, trolls, studs, losers, stoners, wannabes, jocks or geeks. So in a class of 23 students, every kid gets exactly 22 cards.

This system stinks for obvious reasons. With the new system no one really gets to express Valentine wishes to anyone, and losers have to wait until 7th grade P.E. to find out that no one likes them.

Anyway, I'm a proud father because I found out last night that this year my kid signed crappy Walmart Valentines for every person in her class, but she gave nice cards and chocolate to the kids she actually likes. So, the system is back in place (at least in the Crapples home).

Stick it to The Man, kids!

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