Roses are red, yeah, whatever

Mark-Sherman SQUAREAs luck would have it, the official publication date for this piece is Feb. 14, aka Valentine’s Day. So I think it only appropriate to write about love. But this is a humor column, and how can one be funny about something as serious and beautiful as love?

I guess I’ll Google it.

These days the first thing a writer does when he or she wants to write on any topic is to Google. Google, a company made up of thousands of very smart young people working together, is so creative that it is gradually replacing individual creativity. I love using Google, but I do not love Google. I will not ask Google to be my Valentine.

Okay, I did a search with the phrase “jokes about love.” The first site I found was “corny love jokes,” among which was this one: “Is there an airport nearby, or is that just my heart taking off?” Actually, this reminds me of a famously bad line in one of the greatest films of all time, “Casablanca.” It’s a flashback to Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman kissing passionately in Paris as the Germans are approaching. One can hear the sounds of cannons firing, and Bergman’s character, Ilsa, says to Bogart’s Rick, “Was that cannon fire or is it my heart pounding?”


Wow, now I feel like I’m really getting into the Valentine’s Day mood.

But wait a minute. When I flipped to the next webpage on that corny love jokes site, suddenly there appeared on my screen a full page pop-up ad for a new video game, “Call of Duty: Black Ops II.” Apparently, the game is rated “M” for “mature,” and, according to the little ratings box that appears on the ad, this is because it includes “Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language, Suggestive Themes, and Use of Drugs.” What better things to think about as I contemplate this day of love?

There’s a trailer for the game, and lest you worry about your child seeing it, rest assured that when you click on “Watch now,” you get a screen that asks you to put in your date of birth. I put in 01-01-2002, which would make me 11, and it wouldn’t let me in. Thank God no 11-year-old would be smart enough to put in another birthday like 01-01-1990, because I tried that, and whoa, that site is violent.

Well, if I thought I were in a Valentine’s Day mood before, watching that trailer really put me over the top in terms of romantic feelings.

A well-known expression on this day celebrating love is “Will you be my Valentine?” Of course, this is a bit like a proposal of marriage. While it doesn’t ask for a lifetime commitment, it does ask if the other person likes you a lot. And just as with a proposal, it is very embarrassing and awkward if the answer is no, especially if it isn’t said nicely.

Just imagine it.

Larry: Will you be my Valentine?

Laura: Are you kidding? Get lost.

Actually, Valentine’s Day is now associated with love of any kind, not just romantic love, so people send Valentine’s Day cards to their children and grandchildren, and, who knows, nieces, nephews, cousins, and pets.

I think I’m kidding with that last one, but something tells me there are Valentine’s Day cards for pets. Pardon me while I Google it to find out.

I did, and there were virtually no hits. My first thought was, thank God, at least people aren’t silly enough to send Valentine’s cards to their dogs and cats (although I suspect some people send flowers). But then I thought, wait a minute, I’m sure they want to, and this is America, where there are fortunes to be made if you start making something that people want and no one else is providing. My wife and I don’t have any pets, but my family did have a dog when I was a teenager, and I know how very attached people do get to their animals.

I can immediately think of some Valentine’s Day words for the cards. For a dog, a card might say, “I know you have a ruff, ruff life, but we love you! Happy Valentine’s Day!”

Or for a cat, “You’re the cat’s meow. Be our Valentine.”

Or perhaps for a snake, “People say you can’t love a snake, but they just haven’t met you, Monty. Sometimes I feel like I could just squeeze you so hard, but please don’t you get any ideas like that. Happy Valentine’s Day.”

All kidding aside (yeah, right), I’m sure there are cards for special situations, like the one you send to the person who just broke up with you. It might say, “I don’t want you to feel bad just because you ruined my life. So here’s a little poem to help you celebrate this day:

Roses are red
Violets are blue
I’m blue too
All ’cause of you

Happy Valentine’s Day anyhow