Of Valentines, Infidelity and Felt Frogs
by Michele Christopher
First things first. The turtle tracker.
Now for tonight's LNT. I think I'm just gonna run the gamut of holidays for the next few days. I already covered Halloween and Christmas. Let's really push the calendar and move on to Valentine's Day. Maybe I'll tell the New Year's thing. Maybe not. It's sort of pathetic. I think after this I'll just move on to Leprauchans and how they like to steal women's underwear. But tonight we have Valentine's Day. See, I had to do this when Turtle isn't around. Why? Well, when he gets back ask him about the Valentine's Day curse. It seems like he gets hit by a car every year on February 14th. He's probably become a self fulfilling prophecy by now and just hurls himself in front of a car first thing on Valentine's morning just to get it overwith.
Let me tell you about last Valentine's Day.
I need a roll of toilet paper, quick. I didn't want to go stand at the supermarket checkout for half an hour just for a roll of Scott, so I just went around the corner to the 99 cent store.
I'm sure you have one of those stores in your area - I've never driven through a town that didn't have at least one. Some of the stores might mark up for inflation (Everything One Dollar!) or down for a bargain (98 cents, we are CHEAPER!), but it's the same idea.
Every 99 cent store has at least two aisles devoted to kitsch. Small, useless statues. Plastic, hand held games that haven't been seen since the 1960's. Precious Moment knock-offs engraved with cheesy sentiments. I always walk down the aisle in amazement, wondering who actually buys these things and why.
I found out the answer to that burning question last February.
Those kitschy items are bought by the desperate. Men with shaky hands and darkened eyes who, when pressured, make bad life choices. If having an affair isn't a problem in and of itself, shopping in the dollar store for both your lovers just reeks of bad karma.
Hang on while I summon the Google-fu.
Found it! This is what passed for sentimental tokens of love back in the late 60's and early 70's. A whole line of these statues called Silliscupts) made their way into our homes and wet bars, their big eyes and bulging stomachs standing guard over our shag rugs and linear furniture. That the inventors of these statues - the Berrie brothers - went on to form one of the most profitable stuffed animal companies ever is a bit alarming, as they built that empire on the backs of people who thought plastic sentiments made for good gifts.
The statues that line the shelves of the 99 cent store aren't genuine Sillisculpts, but they are from the same mold, so to speak. Trite sayings, cheap plastic, deformed people, animals that appear to have been part of some bold experiment in cross breeding - they're all right there in the most bizarre Valentine's Day display since, thevalentine vagina show.
I buy something from this aisle every time I'm in the store because I once thought of starting a blog just to itemize all the strange findings - and then it just became habit. That particular day I was eyeing a plastic, five inch chicken whose eyes and beak were painted in such a way so that the thing looked lovelorn. I pick up the chicken with the intention of giving it to my vegeterian daughter with a note that says "thank you for not eating me." I will placed it on her dinner plate that night. She still has it (although she's no longer vegetarian).
Ok, we are getting to the pathetic Valentine part.
As I pick up the chicken statue, a nice looking middle aged man comes down the aisle. He stops in front of the row of Sillisculpts rip-offs and begins fondling each one, seemingly to judge the sturdiness of the plastic. He picks up the guy with outstretched arms then puts him down. Picks up a wide-eyed girl who is saying "You're the BESTEST!" Puts her down and fiddles around with the Barney Gumble guy again. I notice a wedding ring on his finger. He's also holding a Valentine's Day card he's going to purchase along with his piece of kitsch. He puts the card down on the shelf to better caress the statues and I notice it's one of those double entendre cards that say "I love you" but mean "Strip naked and blow me." I'm thinking that this guy is in deep shit if he goes home with that card and 99 cent piece of plastic for his wife. I think about offering a little unsolicited advice, but keep my mouth shut because, who am I to judge? Maybe his wife likes cheap tokens of love. Maybe she thinks Barney Gumble is hot.
His cell rings. I recognize the ringtone as Rod Stewart's Do You Think I'm Sexy and a little warning bell goes off in my head. He's a playa. At least, he is in his mind.
So I stand there, feigning interesting in a plastic frog with felt heart eyes. His little froggy hand is holding up a sign that says "I'd croak without you." I listen in on Mr. Playa's half of the conversation. It's not hard to do, he's talking loud enough for me to think he wants me to hear him be the manly man that he is.
I know, sweetie. I know. But if we can't be together on Valentine's Day, we have the rest of the year to be together....
Yes, darling. Aruba does sound lovely. I just have to umm...wait...for umm....the right, uh, time....
It's you, baby. You're my real Valentine. Heheh, after all, who's getting the fur coat? And who's getting me? Hehe......
I swear he winks at me, but I turn my head, my attention diverted by a stuffed dog that has seen better days. It's ears are ragged and it smells like pepper, a smell that vaguely reminds me of church carnivals. The dog comes with a marker and there's a piece of white felt draped over it's back. I suppose you're meant to write your own sentiments on the dog. "Who wants some peanut butter?" springs to mind.
Victoria's Secret, eh? That pink one I liked so much? Really? Hehee
The guy picks up the Valentine's card he left on the shelf, glances at it and suddenly looks disgusted. He sticks the card back on the shelf, shoving it between the smiling, yet scary clown figurine and the lighted seashell. His voice goes down one notch.
Well, I have to buy her something. You know how it is, uh uh...mmhmm....oh god, silk? Really? You what? Right now, you are?
I have this curious urge to check out the guy's crotch because I can tell from the tone of his voice he's sporting wood. Whoever is on the other end of the Do You Think I'm Sexy line is playing him for all he's worth. Instead, I grab the chicken and, for some reason, the frog with the felt eyes, and walk up to the cashier. Sexy guy has officially creeped me out and I want to get out of the store and back to my safe little world where people only buy 99 cent figurines as a joke. Because in the scenario I came up with, Sexy Guy is buying that for his wife, while his mistress in pink silk is getting fur. I wonder how the wife will react. And then I wonder if that plastic statue is heavy enough to inflict damage if brought down on someone's head. Probably not.
Besides, there is a kid at home waiting for toilet paper.
When I get back in my car, I make a quick run through the radio stations before I pull out of the parking spot. One of the classic stations is doing Valentine songs. I laugh as I hear this:
They say our love won't pay the rent
Geez, what year did that song come out? I'm thinking it's about the same time that Sillisculpts were appropriate gifts of love and appreciation. Still, worthy lyrics, even if Cher would later stomp on Sonny's heart.
Every once in a while I think about Sexy Guy and his wife and whether or not he actually gave her the statue as a Valentine's Day gift. I think the best present a guy like that could give his wife is to run off with whatever hobag he's sleeping with. Hopefully, he contracted some sexually transmitted disease soon after Valeninte's Day and his dick fell off. While he was banging his ho.
I suppose Sexy Guy's indiscretion isn't as bad as that of an old friends' ex husband who, for Valentine's Day in 1998, bought her a sexual aid that involved spikes, batteries and a safety warning that said "Have 911 on speed dial." A week after she had a hysterectomy.
Anyhow, remind me on Valentine's Day to keep Turtle away from cars.
And 99 cent stores.
Michele doesn't really care much for Valentine's Day. Or frogs with velvet eyes.