I am not your valentine.

Back in grade school, teachers had kids make special boxes and bags for the collection of Valentine’s cards from all of their classmates. I enjoyed arts and crafts, and the creation of those receptacles was always more fun than the receiving of cards that went inside.

For one thing, children’s Valentine’s cards have to be the lowest form of art, worse even than macrame or the writings of Thomas Hardy. If you were a lucky kid, you got to have a say in the box of oft-punned cards featuring a popular brand of cartoon character. If you were not so lucky, your parents bought whatever was on sale or whatever was left, which meant that you were the kid handing out Valentines with generic non-brand cartoons, or even worse, from a cartoon that you knew the other kids in your class hated. Yes, Valentine’s Day was just another way for the popular kids to prove their popularity and the poor kids to prove their lack of worth.

And then, what if you actually liked someone in your class? That box of cards only had so many designs, which meant that you were going to have to re-use the same design for the girl you liked as some other common person. So much for giving her something unique! Sure, you could write something special on it, but you probably aren’t good with writing yet anyway, and you don’t want to be too obvious at this elementary stage in the romance game.

No, back in elementary school, the best part of Valentine’s Day was the box that they would go in.


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