The Canadian Writers' Collective

Writing, and writerly tangents

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Love Pain

by Tricia Dower

Gleaned from U.S. Census Data: Americans ate 26 pounds of candy and 160 pounds of refined sugar per capita in 2006. In 1866, candy manufacturer NECCO made the first “Conversation Hearts” — then called “Motto Hearts.” According to NECCO, eight billion of these little candies are sold between January 1 and February 14 each year. About 36 million heart-shaped boxes of chocolate are projected to be sold this Valentine's Day.
A week ago, an explosion – caused by static electricity igniting fine sugar dust – at an Imperial Sugar refinery in Georgia killed six people and injured 42. Eight of the injured were flown to a burn centre. The company had been criticized in a 2006 report of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for lack of preparation for such explosions. An investment analyst said if the plant is down more than a few weeks, it could have an impact on U.S. refined sugar prices. A shame about those casualties, too, eh?
In 2006, a man in Raleigh, NC, asked his girlfriend to marry him by writing her a 113-page proposal and publishing it as a paperback book entitled 50 Reasons Why You Should Marry Me…and 51 Reasons Why I Should Marry You. One of the reasons was, “I clean the bathroom every week.” She said “Yes”
In 2005, an Oregon man tried to organize a mass suicide through a Yahoo chat room, asking women to hang themselves naked on Valentine’s Day. A woman concerned that children might be harmed alerted authorities to the suicide plot. Detectives found six women who expressed interest, including a few who were mothers, but they denied planning to murder their children.
214 million roses are expected to be sold in the U.S. this Valentine’s Day and about a billion Valentine's Day cards will be exchanged. Teachers will receive the most cards, followed by children, mothers, wives, and the intriguing “other.”
It’ll be a tough year for the jewelry industry with gold pushing historic prices of $920 an ounce. Some jewelers are trying to increase traffic by offering old jewelry exchange programs and credits to help with purchases of gold encrusted jewels. Maybe Bono can organize a benefit concert for starving jewelers. JewelAid?
Can’t afford jewels? There’s always sex. For several years, the sales of pregnancy tests and fertility test kits have spiked six weeks after Valentine’s Day.
The New York Times reported that a Bronx woman who turned down her boyfriend’s Valentine's Day marriage proposal in 2004 didn’t live very long after that. He cut out her heart and left it on the floor near her body. According to a friend of the deceased, she had told her boyfriend, “I need my space.”
The legend of how the priest who became Saint Valentine was put to death in third century Rome is just one of the “fun facts” at a website for kids.
If I could eat chocolate, it would be the bitter-sweet variety.
Happy V-Day!


Blogger Anne C. said...

I hope that Colin will read this as a piece of social commentary.

Thu Feb 14, 06:52:00 am GMT-5  
Anonymous Ruth Taylor said...

Wow! Makes Valentine's Day a little SCARY, doesn't it. Good sleuthing, though!

Thu Feb 14, 10:52:00 am GMT-5  
Blogger Tricia Dower said...

I think he does, Anne. And, I'm glad you read it that way.

Thanks, Ruth. I'm not sure what's scariest: the murders, the sugar consumption, or the consumerism.

Thu Feb 14, 11:31:00 am GMT-5  
Blogger Anne C. said...

Oh, I'm sure he does!

Thu Feb 14, 12:30:00 pm GMT-5  
Blogger T. Lee said...

Excellent V-Day post, Tricia. Love pain, indeed!

Thu Feb 14, 03:09:00 pm GMT-5  
Blogger Tricia Dower said...

Thanks, T. We're trying to avoid both here at chez Dower.

Thu Feb 14, 03:47:00 pm GMT-5  
Blogger Katherine said...

I love this post, Mom. Reminds me of something a friend said to me yesterday: "Love is a fierce business." Indeed.

Thu Feb 14, 07:06:00 pm GMT-5  
Blogger Tricia Dower said...

Hey, thanks, Katie. You and I are no strangers to love pain, are we? However, our hearts are still inside our bodies.

Thu Feb 14, 07:45:00 pm GMT-5  
Blogger MelBell said...

The solution to love pain is showing up at Wal-Mart the day after Valentine's. Hello discount chocolate!

Thu Feb 14, 09:42:00 pm GMT-5  
Blogger Anne C. said...

The Solution to Love Pain should be the name of a novel set in Japan.

Thu Feb 14, 10:41:00 pm GMT-5  
Blogger Tricia Dower said...

Wal-Mart! (Groan.)

You gonna write that novel, Anne?

Thu Feb 14, 10:48:00 pm GMT-5  
Blogger Anne C. said...

No, I thought Melissa could.

Thu Feb 14, 10:55:00 pm GMT-5  
Blogger Steve Gajadhar said...

Bah humbug! Oh wait, wrong holiday...

And is it really a holiday if we don't get the day off work?

Tue Feb 19, 11:57:00 pm GMT-5  

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