Wednesday, July 30, 2014


As I understand it, Valentine is one of the more dour saints, and he probably does not much look forward to his day. He gets up and can barely push his door open; every one of the eleven thousand virgins who attend St. Ursula has left a piece of chocolate outside his room. (This happens every year; St. Christopher will come by later and carry the chocolates away). St. Sebastian will leave him an arrow, on which he’ll cut his finger; St. Apollonia will pass him in the hall; gaze at him wordlessly, and then press a tooth into his hand. He will be besieged by prayers, which he will conscientiously try to answer, although he is fairly clueless on the mysteries of human love. This explains the number of puzzled looks one sees as the day goes on, as people find Valentine’s answers popping into their heads. “I find speaking about the martyrdom of St. Gelasius is generally a good way to break the ice;” “I believe you mean ‘inamorata’ – ‘inamaretto’ refers to someone who loves almond liqueurs, which is probably a sin and is, anyway, fattening;” “I asked St. Barbara and she said a howitzer is a small, light cannon used to deliver shells with a curved trajectory while a bazooka is a portable electrically-fired rocket launcher. Do your parents know about your interest in artillery?”

(For those who were thinking of asking, St. Crescentia is still the patron of this blog. If you run into her on an elevated subway, try discussing the martyrdom of St. Gelasius.)

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