St. Valentine – A Martyr Not a Lover

Not much is certain about the man behind the name “St. Valentine.” Various legends of martyrdom surround the name, and numerous denominations celebrate the Feast of Saint Valentine on their calendars. The one fact that stands out among all the legends and folklore is that St. Valentine was martyred around the year 496 AD on February 14.

From there, the legends pile up. As the story goes, Rome had forbidden soldiers to marry, but our hero, St. Valentine, continued to perform the marriages anyway. Supposedly, to remind them of their vows, Valentine would give them hearts cut out of parchment. Another legend suggests that Valentine sent the first Valentine greeting to the daughter of his jailer.

All of this, though, is the stuff of legend and folklore. Hulk wonders why, in fact, we celebrate Valentine’s Day at all in America? There’s only one reason our culture gets behind a holiday, and it has nothing to do with honoring martyrs, love, or folklore. In America, it’s all about the bottom line: the profit. That’s why Hulk wants to SMASH Valentine’s day this year, and every year after.

1. Hulk SMASH Roses

Men, can we just use our heads for a minute? How many of you will rush out this year (probably last minute) and buy roses for your “Valentine?” Don’t take this the wrong way, I don’t have anything against flowers. I do have a problem with the insane markup of flowers that happens every year in February. Everyone knows that the price of roses skyrockets right before Valentine’s Day. This fact, however, doesn’t stop people, who normally never buy flowers, from going out in mass and buying them by the dozens…literally.

Think about this: Suppose you knew that every year, right around February, the price of bread would be marked up 20-30%. When, do you suppose, you would plan to do your bread purchasing? You would literally buy it at any other time BUT February. Yet, when Valentine’s Day comes around perfectly rational, sensible people rush out to buy flowers at the precise time that they are the most expensive! Ah, but why do these men do it?

Ladies, men rush out every year to buy these flowers because they are convinced that it will make you like, or even love, them. I know not all women buy into this stuff but it’s obvious that a large segment of the American population does, so let me address you ladies. Why do you like the flowers? I mean, what do the flowers have to do with relationships?

Cut flowers are like the absolute worst symbol of relationships I’ve ever encountered. You get these beautiful flowers, which supposedly smell great (I hate the smell of flowers), and anywhere from five to ten days later they’re dead! If they aren’t dead, they’re beginning to flop over and get dark and black. Why in the world would you want lifeless, dying flowers as a gift related to a relationship?

Hulk says NO! Smash the flowers!

2. Hulk SMASH Candy Hearts

Before I start smashing candy, let me confess that I love candy. I’m a little picky but I’ll eat up most types of candy. You know what I won’t eat? Sweethearts. These things have been around forever, and I half wonder if they stock piled them back in the 30’s and have sold them ever since.

Sweethearts are one of the worst tasting candies on the market. It’s like somebody patented the skill of carving little bits of concrete into heart shapes, and selling them as a candy product. To help make the concrete taste even worse, they color each piece with chalk.

If this candy tastes so bad, why in the world do people buy them? The little messages.

You know what’s interesting? There are only two “foods” I know that people bother with because of the messages: Sweethearts and fortune cookies. Both taste terrible and the messages themselves often make absolutely no sense at all. The truth of the matter is the only reason people pay money for these little gimmicks is because of Valentine’s Day. If this company were trying to sell this product in any other shape, at any other time of the year, they’d go out of business.

Hulk SMASH Candy Hearts… If he’s strong enough to break them!

3. Hulk SMASH Fifty Shades of Grey

I think it’s becoming evident that one of the reasons I want to smash Valentine’s Day is because it’s a marketing ploy to get people to waste exorbitant amounts of money on things they otherwise would never pay for.

In the case of the movie Fifty Shades of Grey, it’s actually a nasty combination of two marketing ploys that people waste exorbitant amounts of money on: Valentine’s Day and porn. The porn industry is a $97 billion dollar industry worldwide with roughly $10-12 billion coming out of the U.S. (NBC News). The book, Fifty Shades of Grey, has sold over 100 million copies worldwide (THR). Couple that dynamic with Valentine’s Day, which is roughly a $20 billion dollar industry in the U.S., (IBISWorld) and you’ve got a match made in… heaven?

What makes Hulk angry about Fifty Shades of Grey is that it will introduce young men and women to a sinful lifestyle that, in all likelihood, will wreak havoc on any long term relationship down the road. It will also play middle ground for young men and women who are dancing the fine line between sexual purity and lustful indulgence. The objectification of women and the glorification of a porn industry that seeks to turn depravity into dollars and cents is enough reason to SMASH this movie to smithereens.

Fellow believers, all kidding aside, stay away from this book and movie. There is absolutely nothing there for the children of God to delight in. Rest assured Hulk hasn’t read the book, and he certainly won’t be going anywhere near the film. If you haven’t, read the post from TheologyMix, “Fifty Shades of… Deja vu?” by The Pastor’s Wife, it’s definitely worth a gander for more on this film.

4. Hulk SMASH Valentines

I’ll be brief with this one. My little hulk kiddos are getting to the age where they have little Valentine’s Day parties at school. Every school does this thing where every kid has to give another kids a “Valentine.” Parents go out and buy boxes of cards with Hulk, Batman, My Little Pony or some other big name character on it only to find that there are only eight cards in the box. They then proceed to buy fifty boxes.

The adult version of Valentines are greeting cards. Husbands, boyfriends, wives, girlfriends and fiances will line the pockets of Hallmark this year as they buy printed paper for $5 bucks a sheet. This is clearly a marketing ploy and, frankly, Valentine’s Day isn’t to blame. Nobody should ever spend money on a greeting card. It’s printed paper! You can literally buy 250 sheets of 8.5 x 11 card-stock for $8 at Staples right now. That’s like five years of greeting cards right there!

Conclusion — Solutions

Most of the time the Incredible Hulk just smashes stuff and leaves it a crumbly mess. I’m not the Incredible Hulk though: I’m the Calvinist Hulk! This Valentine’s Day I don’t want to suck all the life out of your celebrations of love. So, when you’re done smashing Valentine’s Day, here are some cheap and truly memorable alternatives to the marketing gimmicks above.

1. Roses – Plant a whole bush/shrub. Did you know that for about the same price you’d pay for a dozen roses in February, you could just buy the whole shrub and plant it. It grows back every year. I know you won’t be able to plant it in February, but if you wait a few months you can give your sweety something that will be a reminder of your love year-after-year.

2. Candy Hearts – Just Buy Candy. If you’re smart about it, you can get candy in bulk pretty cheap. If you know your Valentine well enough, you’d be better off just getting them their favorite candy, rather than buying them blocks of concrete carved into heart shapes. If you must have the concrete hearts, you can get and 80lb bag of concrete mix from Lowe’s for like four bucks.

3. Movies – Redbox, Netflix, and Hulu. With so many streaming options these days, there’s very little reason to spend the money on a theater. Still, if you want to spend the money for the movie experience be wise and wholesome in your selection. Read the ratings and the reason for the ratings.

4. Valentine’s Card – Print Them Yourself. Here’s a cute story. My son decided to make a valentine for one of the kids in his class. He cut the paper out himself, and wrote her name on it. You’d be surprised how far a little effort and creativity goes. Rather than spending $5 on a Hallmark card, go grab some card-stock and put some thought into your card…and print it up.

From the Hulk to all the Theology Mix Readers: Have a SMASHing Valentine’s Day!