'Matter of Laugh or Death,' the award-winning humor column
By Bill Dunn
Interesting observations on this thing we call life
(appearing each week in the Republican-American newspaper, Waterbury, CT)
NAME A STAR? A LOT OF HOT GAS
Valentine’s Day is one week from today, which means most guys are going to wait another six-and-a-half days before giving this important holiday any thought whatsoever. How unfortunate. From personal experience I’ve learned that when a man waits until 9 o’clock on the evening of February 13th to ponder how he might display the depth of his love for his sweetheart, the options are somewhat limited. (OK, I’ve also learned from personal experience that when it comes to men and relationships, the words “ponder” and “depth” are wholly inappropriate.)
By the time the night before Valentine’s Day rolls around, the greeting card racks are fairly empty at most men’s favorite romantic boutiques: convenience marts and chain drug stores. One year, while trying to buy the perfect Valentine’s Day card for my wife, there were only two choices available, the “Congratulations on Your Bar Mitzvah” card, or the “My Sympathy on Your Loss” card. (I finally chose the “My Sympathy on Your Loss” card, explaining to my wife that I was sympathetic about her loss of a decent Valentine’s Day card since I had waited too long.)
Also, waiting till the last minute makes it difficult to find a good Valentine’s Day gift. By then, most of the heart-shaped boxes of chocolate have been removed from the shelves to make room for Easter candy (unless you’re shopping in Wal-Mart, where the heart-shaped boxes of chocolate have been removed to make room for Christmas items since the holiday season is a mere ten months away). To be safe, I always purchase my romantic gifts at the same location, the “Gas ‘N Go” on Route 44, where they never run out of beef jerky.
I recently heard an advertisement on the radio which began, “How many times have you searched desperately for a special Valentine’s Day gift, only to be disappointed with the same old choices of flowers, candy, or candles?”
I immediately thought: disappointed with flowers, candy, or candles? Those are great gifts. If you want to see disappointment, try Bar Mitzvah cards and beef jerky. The ad continued, “Make this year’s Valentine’s Day gift shine. Name a star after your sweetheart.”
It turns out a company, for a fee, will actually name a star after someone and register the name in the U.S. Copyright Office, where it will be recorded as the official name for all eternity—or until the U.S. Copyright Office misplaces the records, whichever comes first. Also, this company will send you a genuine certificate of authenticity, which probably costs them upwards of three cents to produce using an inkjet printer and a personal computer.
But wait, there’s more! You also receive a sky chart (whatever that is) listing the detailed coordinates of your star. Since most people cannot read a simple highway map of the State of Connecticut, I’m sure a sky chart with three-dimensional positioning coordinates will be perfectly understandable. (“Ooh look, there it is! There’s my star!” “No dear, that’s a street light.”)
The fee for this gift is $54, plus shipping and handling. They don’t say exactly how much the shipping and handling charges are, nor exactly what is being shipped and handled—presumably not the star itself, because I’m pretty sure UPS has restrictions about transporting hazardous materials, especially balls of hot gas a million times larger than the earth.
To me, 54 bucks is a little pricey. So, to help other guys save some money and still impress their sweethearts, I have a special offer. If you send me $40, I can name something equally as sweet and romantic and useless. And I’ll give you a choice. You can name after your sweetheart either a grain of sand on the beach, or a leaf in the forest, or—even more numerous—a pair of old sneakers in my garage. What a bargain!
Act now, or you’ll end up giving your sweetheart what you give her every year (not to mention every morning): a ball of hot gas.
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