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TO ME FROM ME
an entry for the On Display collab

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12 February

On the surface, it seemed an easy topic: write a valentine to yourself.

I usually try to get the collabs written in the first week of the month and figured I'd just dash this one off, but the more I thought about it, the more frustrated I got. How do you write a valentine to yourself?

I started a poem:

It's time to sing a hymn to me
(though I'm not used to flattery)
But p'raps I have a trait or two,
good points I've managed to accrue.

Accrue??? How pedantic. The poem was going nowhere.

I decided to fall back on my specialty--rewriting song lyrics. Pick a Gilbert & Sullivan song and rewrite it as an ode to me. Koko's "List Song" from The Mikado seemed to lend itself to the project, but I got bogged down right at the start.

As some day it may happen that a valentine I need
I've got a little list...I've got a little list.

Blecch.

No inspirations were coming, so I chucked that idea too.

How embarrassing to bomb on your third month in a new collab!

I started thinking about valentines in general. I remembered grammar school, back in the '40s, especially the early grades. I hated Valentine's day. We'd all have bags to hold all of our cards and there was a vancy box into which everybody put the cards they were giving. I can't remember exactly now what the procedure was, but I was one of the ones who went home with only a few cards. I was jealous of the more popular kids who got cards from everyone.

As time went by it didn't bother me so much any more--and I had my share of valentines throughout school. And as I got older, it didn't seem to be such a big deal any more. I discovered funny cards and usually send out a few of those, and get a few of those. Seems more in keeping with the spirit I bring to life--funny the world, you know.

What do "normal" people do for Valentine's day?  It's the biggest day for cards, flowers, candy. The number of ads which have crossed my email box for red roses alone is pretty amazing. The perfect flower to say "I love you." Send a dozen and say "I love you a dozen times." Make your local florist happy (remember last year when I spent the day delivering flowers on Valentine's day? I did not volunteer to do that this year!)

A fancy box of candy? What does that say? "I want you to be fat" ? (I'm sensitive to Valentine candy about now!) Walt started buying little Whitman candy samplers for the kids when they were tiny tots and still does so today, though he now has to mail most of them so they'll arrive on time.  A nice tradition that they always appreciate, and chuckle about how "cute" Dad is. 

No, I'm not going to send myself flowers or send myself candy or even send myself a funny card. Instead I'm going to continue doing the good things for myself that I've started--my gift to me for New Year's Day, Valentine's Day, my birthday, St. Patrick's Day, Easter, and all the rest of the special days throughout the year and with luck for the rest of my life.

Valentine's day is about hearts, and I'm working to make mine healthy. I think of the clogging I've done to those arteries by all the unhealthy stuff I've been stuffing into my body for the past 59 years. I think of how my heart pounds whenever I go for a walk, or climb stairs, or anything else energetic because it's never had the chance to grow strong.

My valentine to me is a real heart. A healthy heart. A heart which has a lot of love stored in it. A heart which wants to go on beating for a long time. A heart I'll feed good food, a heart I'll strengthen with exercise, and a heart which I hope will thank me for all the good stuff I'm doing for it by continuing to beat for many more years.

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Created 2/12/02