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Published 2:36 pm Tuesday, February 14, 2023

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By James Gardner

Clark County Public Library

Valentine’s Day is February 14, a Tuesday this year. This is a gentle reminder because no other holiday other than Christmas can lie in wait and strike when one least suspects. Its venom is a mixture of one’s fear of disappointing a loved one and one’s sense of utter failure as a partner in a relationship. Some may have experienced the anxiety felt on the evening of February 13 and discovered that not one candy heart was purchased, nor card, nor heart-shaped artichoke, nothing to remind your special someone that they are indeed special. The worst-case scenario is hearts are broken. The best-case scenario? Hearts are slightly bruised, like poorly-handled cantaloupes from the supermarket. Either way, no heart will be unscathed if it loves an unfortunate soul who didn’t think to purchase something that demonstrates their depth of feelings for another. There are simply no winners when one forgets a valentine’s gift. 

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Some may altogether reject the holiday as a crass, consumerist holiday designed to put money in candymakers’ coffers. Simply ignoring it is a risky option since it could be perceived as rejection. However, just because I implied a holiday with metaphorical venom doesn’t necessarily mean I’m totally against it. I’m all for displays of love. Sure, one can say, “I love you.” They might even be sincere when they say those three words, but there is also a vast gulf between saying and doing. I can say I can run a marathon, but such a declaration is meaningless until I cross the finish line. For example, I tell my wife I love her on a pretty consistent basis (at least I hope so), but I also do things for my wife, like pick up the groceries, cook dinner, or even saying to her that she is doing a great job being a wife and mother. The “I love you” is implied because I do my absolute best to demonstrate that love, and it costs so little

The library has many opportunities to find a way to say “I love you” without having to resort to those three words. For those who want to cook their special someone a delicious meal, the library has plenty of cookbooks, like “The Couple’s Cookbook: Recipes for Newlyweds” (641.561 Stip). There’s also “The Defined Dish: Healthy and Wholesome Weeknight Recipe” s (641.563 Snod) for healthier options. Crafting something can also show one’s feelings. Knitting a scarf or mittens with help from the book “60 Quick Knits” (746.43 Sixt) can show your loved one you don’t want them to be cold and miserable. If you want to learn about other ways to show your love for someone, check out Gary D. Chapman’s “The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts” (646.78 Chap). 

And to reiterate, there is nothing wrong with declaring “I love you,” but one can also do something this Valentine’s Day that will emphasize that declaration. And if you are still looking for that special someone, just remember that you are worthy of love and to love yourself. You can get yourself a heart-shaped box of chocolates for yourself or someone else, but it’s not required.