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By Staff | Jan 26, 2011

That agonizing mid-month day will soon be upon us. We can try to wiggle out of it, but this particular date is inevitably going to cost us big-time.

No, I don’t mean Tax Day, which arrives two weeks after April first, making it a very late and very painful April Fools joke. I’m talking about a much more fearsome date: Valentine’s Day.

There are those who believe that Valentine’s Day was invented by a powerful consortium comprised of the greeting card cadre, the chrysanthemum mafia and the naughty nightie pushers. We have a label for guys who hold such beliefs. They are called “bachelors.”

So far, my wife and I have made it through 30 Valentine’s Days. I say “so far” because, like most guys, I am just one ill-considered Valentine’s gift away from the aforementioned bachelorhood.

I once complained to my wife that the system isn’t fair. Why should women get all the attention? Why is it that they receive flowers and candy while we guys stand out in the metaphorical rain, peering through the window, hoping that the object of our affections approves of our offering? And also that she doesn’t call the police?

My wife, being an inherently fair person, took the hint and sent me some flowers. I appreciated the gesture, but what was I supposed to do with a bunch of blossoms? Other than re-gift them back to my wife, that is.

Plus, it somehow didn’t seem right. It sort of felt like hugging a fence post: an OK experience, but not especially satisfying.

If you value your relationship (and your life), it’s important that you remember your Significant Other on Valentine’s Day via thoughts, words, and deeds.

Let’s begin with the thought part. It’s been said that it’s the thought that counts, but thoughts can also count up financially.

A thoughtful gesture might be to surprise your paramour with breakfast in bed. But that would mean whipping up some pancakes, frying sausage, tapping maple trees to make syrup and so on.

The whole process will likely end with a large donation to your local volunteer fire department because, let’s face it, most of us guys view cooking as an excuse to deploy our flamethrowers.

How much easier and cheaper it would be to simply visit an all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet while wearing capaciously pocketed cargo pants. Bear in mind that pancakes will keep for maybe a week in a cargo pants pocket.

Another option would be to squire your lady love off to the romantic corn planter clinic being held at your local farm implement dealership. And whatever you do, don’t mention that admission was free.

Now for the words part. Poetry is “de rigueur” on Valentine’s Day, so you’d best get cracking. Try to avoid using such hackneyed verse as:

Roses are red,

Violets are blue.

But I’m saving up,

For a bigger canoe.

A better way to express your tender sentiments would be to pen poetry that emulates such greats as Tennyson or Byron or Odgen Nash. Don’t even think about mimicking Shakespeare. I tried writing like the Bard once and it nearly gave me a hernia.

You cannot bypass the deeds part, which, by Federal Law, means procuring an appropriate present.

It’s an accepted practice on Valentine’s Day to gift the reproductive structure of angiosperm plants, consisting normally of stamens and carpels surrounded by petals and sepals all borne on a single receptacle. But flowers can be awfully expensive.

One money-saving strategy would be to attend a funeral, even if you don’t know the deceased. Go to the committal service and weep loudly and linger until everyone has gone back to the church.

You will then find yourself alone with a smorgasbord of free flowers!

Another cost-cutting maneuver involves hanging around the alley behind a flower shop. You wouldn’t believe how many flowers they toss out – some only halfway wilted! This might be considered “Dumpster diving,” but I prefer to call it Extreme Commando Recycling.

The only “failsafe” gift known to man is jewelry. Seldom is jewelry the wrong size or color, especially if it includes sparkly stuff and yellow metal.

A little creativity can save an astute suitor big bucks. For instance, certainly you have some old lures in your tackle box

No, scratch that. There’s thrifty and then there’s cheap; this is no time to be too cheap. Visit your local sporting goods store. Their fishing lure department will certainly have some sparkly items that can easily pass for earrings. Plus, you won’t have to worry about any overlooked dried-on worm gunk.

Here’s hoping you all have a safe and sane Valentine’s Day. And should any of my advice backfire, don’t blame me. I’ve never followed it myself.

Nelson is a freelance writer from Volga, S.D. Reach him by e-mail at jjpcnels@itctel.com.

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