Post # 327       TRUE LOVE AND BULBS (A Valentine’s Day Reprise*)

Caution, dear reader, brace yourself. In a few days, the perennial tsunami, occurring every February 14, will predictably reassert itself, in all  its traditional surge. The real fans of the feared flooding are the usual suspects, the greeting card companies, the chocolate manufacturers, the florists, the retail jewelry businesses, the pajama industry and the novelty sales folk. The expected tide of the Valentine’s Day flooding, judging by previous experience, will inundate all land masses, human population and baffle all human reason. Among other phenomena, the advertising industry will publish a virtual hurricane of notices, featuring photo-shopped, seemingly amorous couples, in intimate proximity to their highlighted sales merchandise.

Since (mercifully) this holiday has only a short half-life, one day, the need for effective, sales propaganda on the part of relevant businesses becomes urgent. Unaccountably huge profits are earned by companies who presumptuously maintain that there is a realistic (and commercial) need to supplement the interaction of couples, who love one another with their manufactured paraphernalia. Greeting card companies are especially guilty of this self-serving assumption and hire distinguished “poets” to create doggerel, consisting of inane expressions of love and fidelity, for thousands of presu anonymous consumers.

The most objectionable of the various Valentine’s Day symbols, is the trite red valentine “heart,” an outmoded and retro configuration, that appears without relief, on all holiday products, greeting cards, gift wrapping paper, stuffed toys, pillows and candy boxes.This  stale symbol is imprinted on all items for sale on Valentine’s Day, as well as on the consumer’s mind, by Manchurian Candidate type propaganda.

Various research people [ who apparently have no more pressing fields of inquiry for the employment of their PHD acumen] have uniformly reported that the subject symbol, is derived from an early incorrect understanding by [no less than] Galen and Aristotle, who believed that the heart contained only three chambers. [It may be noted that Dr. Galen and Aristotle were accurate on a great many other subjects.]

The Valentine’s day depiction of the human heart, maintains the very same proportionate degree of accuracy, as a wood duck, in appearance, bears to a moose. Nevertheless, it has, over the ages, been imposed upon, and willingly accepted by, the consuming public as appropriate.

In accurate fact, the human heart is shaped like a pear, and is the approximate size of a man’s fist. This life-or-death chest muscle is taxed with the job of circulating blood and oxygen throughout the body. It has no time, or descernable inclination, for holiday Hallmark sales propaganda, as the latter’s purported source of love, courage, strength or kindness.

Additionally, The statement, “He has a good heart” should properly be relegated to a determination of health by a cardiologist, and not a positive  comment on such traits as a person’s generosity or empathy. We are only concerned with cardiologists and not “cardeologists.” How would you value a positive comment on generosity, like, “He has good kidneys.”

It is certainly inarguable that all human thought and emotion are exclusively functions of the brain and not the traditionally romanticized heart muscle. Admittedly, however, it would be impractical to artistically create a brain-shaped cartoon figure to serve as a symbol of the love holiday.

The senseless Valentine heart is best replaced we feel, by a preferable love symbol, the unique and marvelous tulip bulb. Certainly, the outline of the traditional bulb is simple to replicate, artistically. More important, the bulb has always been a reliable symbol of future growth and predictable beauty. Furthermore, relative to the modern conception of true and healthy love, the tulip bulb is independent and self-sustaining, having within its inner self a sufficient systemic source of future nourishment as well as the natural ability and inclination for growth and the achievement of its innate potential.

The tulip bulb, in the Middle Ages, was thought to be magical and priceless. There are historical records of its individual sale for the modern equivalent of several thousand dollars. If you should offer one to him/her and it is refused, we earnestly suggest that you look elsewhere.


Why should it be necessary to dedicate a one- day holiday in recognition and expression of love; and, further, to do so by trite gifts of holiday nonsense? Love, where it is genuine, is experienced on a regular basis, and expressed in tender interaction and caring, personal acts. This one- day holiday is sadly  comparable to gifts of free turkey dinners on Thanksgiving to the needy. Hunger exists year- round and the poor and unfortunate need more than a gratuitous symbol.

(* minor edits)


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Retired from the practice of law'; former Editor in Chief of Law Review; Phi Beta Kappa; Poet. Essayist Literature Student and enthusiast.

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