Sweets for the … Well, Anyone Really

An arctic chill has swept the land, freezing breather and zombie alike in its icy grip. Everyone is ducking and seeking cover, struggling to find shelter before the deep cold destroys their will to live. This can only mean one thing:

Valentine’s Day is coming.

No other holiday is as dreaded and feared as much as Valentine’s Day, except possibly for Christmas in the home of a spoiled pre-teen. Expectations run high, and disappointment makes Scrooges of everyone. Why are we commercializing love and affection? cries the afflicted. Is nothing sacred?

Liars and thieves get elected to public office, and the dead walk the earth. So no, nothing is sacred. Where have you been?

It’s an American tradition to commemorate anything and everything in two ways: eating like pigs and buying stuff. As American traditions go, this one is fairly harmless. Don’t like it? Don’t do it. Afraid your girl will break up with you if you don’t buy her anything? Well, being single frees you from the obligations of Valentine’s Day once and for all. You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to figure out the logistics of this non-issue. You don’t even need a pulse.

I like Valentine’s Day. I love surprising my kids with treats and watching their eyes light up and fall out of their sockets. Then I get to laugh for fifteen minutes while they scramble around to find them and put them back in before one of the others steals their candy.

It’s even more fun now that the kids don’t go to public school anymore—no more buying those useless little scraps of cardboard with some superhero’s face on them. And the packages never had the right number of cards in them. It was always 18 or 24, and my kids’ classrooms usually had at least 28. I tried making treats to bring in instead, but the school has such a strict food policy it wasn’t worth the bother. No peanuts, no eggs, no raw flesh—it was pretty ridiculous.

I also like surprising my husband with little treats like a stuffed bear or the head of the neighbor’s dog. He usually gets me something nice too, and contrary to jewelry commercials he does not have to spend a lot to spoil me. (I’m pretty spoiled already.) My favorite Valentine’s Day gift of all was a book of zombie short stories and a bag of severed toes to munch on while I read. They were my favorite—jam-filled.
If you don’t like Valentine’s Day, that’s your prerogative. But maybe some people need to try harder to have an open mind. It never hurts to have an excuse to go shambling in the moonlight after prey together.

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