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Tuesday, 21 February 2012

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Stupid Cupid stop shooting at me!

Dodging the arrows on Vul-entine's Day:

V-Day has ended. And the cash registers were jingling incessantly throughout the whole of last week. For days tainted by commercialism Valentine's Day gives Christmas a run for the money - big money. It is heralded with a surfeit of marketing initiatives by clever companies to cash in on the general emotional stupidity on display. That is why on V-Day you observe a lot of people walking around feeling giddy and full of love.

But when it comes, a great many of us had better get ready to run. That is because Cupid's arrows have been known to have caused mischief and mayhem from the time his darts drove Daphne away from Apollo.

Yes, Stupid Cupid often gets it wrong, or worse, is malicious. His arrows are weapons and he sometimes uses them cruelly. In this day and age he terrorises a good many hearts. Still some people say: If only Cupid would re-arm and update his weaponry with no strings attached. Someone suggested that instead of a bow and arrow, he should be equipped with a semi-automatic weapon.

With a real weapon, the puckish son of Venus could bar adults - and by adults I mean parents and teachers - from making children swap Valentines. What the heck are they trying to do with these very small kids? Aiming to churn out whole generations of 'Valen-teenies'.

Besides, think about the incurably romantic oldsters? They would be spared a world day of grief when they are pierced broadside and the feelings are un-mutually one-sided? Sometimes plot does not always race at a pace that suggests love is just about the only force that keeps the universe moving with ever-palpitating geriatric hearts.

But then again the arrow picked from his frivolous quiver may not be the appropriate one. To be sure the missile does not always keep to the straight and narrow path. It flies awry often. To add to the confusion the chubby, cherubic imp does not always hit dead centre. I suspect sometimes it is because Cupid likes to use certain people as target practice. To be sure of hitting the target, he shoots first and calls whatever he hits the target. But do not make the mistake of advising the ornery little archer to improve his archery skills because he will turn around and fire back smugly: "If practice makes perfect, and nobody's perfect, why practice?

So it is that time of year again. Love is in the air, romance begins to settle over everything like a thick blanket of Nuwara Eliya frost, and we are all forced to wade through knee-deep images of hearts, flowers and chocolates.

All the while, many of us are ducking and dodging the arrows from Cupid's bow. Personally, I think this kid dressed only in a diaper, flying around blindfolded and shooting arrows at folks, is just plain dangerous. Oh sure, it may seem like fun and games, until somebody gets an eye or both eyes put out! And then everybody invariably spews out the hackneyed cliché that 'love is blind'.

What is Valentine's Day and exactly what are we celebrating? I did some research and came up with several fascinating facts about this special day, most of which I quickly discarded, and then fabricated much of the stuff in this column.

Many different legends surround this special day we celebrate in honour of the patron saint of romance, a third century Roman martyr named Valentine.

According to legend, Valentine was a priest in ancient Rome. He was executed by the Roman Emperor, Claudius II, for running around in a diaper while shooting sharp objects at people. No, wait a minute, Cupid does that. Sorry, I will get down to changing only Cupid's diaper. Although the truth behind the Valentine legends is questionable, the stories certainly emphasise his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic, and, most importantly, a romantic figure.

Anyway to get on with it, the misinformed Emperor Claudius, felt that married soldiers were not as ill-tempered, brainwashed and eager to do battle as the unmarried soldiers. Which just goes to show how little he knew about husbands. Closer home a fat-faced mutton-eating fanatic named Velupillai Prabahakaran took a leaf from Claudius' book and outlawed marriage completely for all his young fighters. Yes, 'yaar,' he actually did, until he himself was smitten by Cupid and flouted his own anti-marriage decree. I am only hazarding a guess here but I suppose both tyrants would have had to answer the question from their fighting male cadres whether they could marry their girlfriends and not one another.

But St.Val being a hopeless romantic and realising the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages in secret for young lovers. When Valentine's actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death. Valentine was beheaded, which may have brought about the adage 'head over heels in love.'

It happened to my good-looking friend Robbie who was infatuated by a not-so desirable wench named Hazel. She certainly did have a striking resemblance to a chappie named Frankenstein. His cruel friends made up a canard that Robbie had popped this question to her: "Will you be my Valen-stein."

And there was our long-time associate Percival with his porcine looks and pig-sty morals, who we nicknamed Vul-Percy. He gifted a lovely lass he fancied a heart-shaped box of chocolates on V-Day which she refused to accept. Worse still was her acerbic comeback: "Sorry Percy, but I decline being your Vul-entine. Besides I did not realise it was Valen-swine's Day!"

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