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Just Off-Camera

"They respect you if you write. The dumber the world gets, the more the words matter." -Dan Jenkins


Saturday, February 14, 2004

Speaking Ernestly

I wish I could find the exact quote, because it's a good one, but for now this will have to do. "When two people love each other, there can be no happy ending." That's from Ernest Hemingway's For Whom The Bell Tolls, an excellent story if you have the chance to read it. By the way, if you know the exact quote, or can track it down, let me know.

As you can probably tell, this column isn't going to be about sports. If you're looking for something like that, check out the past entries.

Ernest was right, but only because that's how it has to be. I suppose you could make up unlikely scenarios and prove him wrong, but that's not really the point here. The truth is, eventually one person must leave the relationship, and that's going to make the other person sad, or both of them upset. If it doesn't, then it all ended badly long before.

Hemingway chooses to see this as a negative. The problem with all of that is that if two people are going to be together for 75 years and then one of them happens to die first, well, that's sad, but it's hardly cause for throwing in the towel on love. A little sadness after a long, rewarding happiness together is certainly worth it, wouldn't you say?

Today is Valentine's Day, right in the middle of what some might consider the worst three-day stretch of the year: Friday the 13th, Valentine's Day, and the first Sunday since August without NFL football.

Valentine's Day is only associated with love because way back in the day, it was seen as the time of year - halfway through the second month of the calendar - that birds would choose mates. Chaucer said so. That's why you're buying flowers and chocolates.

St. Valentine wasn't any more romantic than anyone today, although I suppose it's ironic that we associate him with the word "romance," considering he was martyred by the Romans for refusing to renounce his religion. A noble cause, for sure, but nothing that screams out "love" or "couples."

I'm not here to bash Valentine's Day. Far from it, I think it has its merits, despite its Hallmark-created stir that everyone must have a Valentine and must buy her a card and chocolates and flowers and jewelry. Any reason to celebrate love is a good one.

As for me, I'll celebrate what I can. If a 41-year old at a bar tells me I should be a model, then dammit, that'll work for me. Happy Valentine's Day to me.

On the other hand, if there's nothing for you to celebrate, then screw it. There's plenty to be happy about instead. Of course, there's great sporting events on TV today (Flyers-Rangers comes to mind), but that's not the point. I'm talking about health, friends, family, and other blessings. I'm not much for being thankful for good fortune, but today is as good a day as any to feel that way.

It may not be a likely comparison, but I think The Darkness got the idea more so than Hemingway. They believe in a thing called love. No reason all of us can't, either. Whether you're alone or sharing the day with someone else, the glass is always half full. Enjoy the day for what it brings, and look forward to tomorrow.

I promise the next column will be about sports. My apologies for this cheesiness.

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