February is marked by two dates which together form America’s two faces. Tomorrow is Super Bowl Sunday, or for those of a different stripe, Stupor Bowl. It is our update of Roman gladiators battling to the death or at least to a conclusion which makes Las Vegas odds-makers salivate.
Count me among those who allow the hormones to flow feeding my suppressed alpha male which, for no apparent reason, snarls and growls for 3 hours. The players pretend to brutalize each other and I pretend to care in the hope that all my aggression for the year is sublimated.
It is also our time to commune over pizza and beer. Over one hundred million of us will be watching, Blue and Red, growing fangs on the couch together. This year Liberals will be likely rooting for Atlanta against New England because the owner, coach and star quarterback for the Patriots are avowed Trump supporters and therefore beneath contempt. Makes sense to me.
Football is not what it seems. Think of the huddle. The camaraderie. Now think of eleven over-sized or otherwise combatants each assigned to a specific role having memorized a lengthy play-book adjusting in an instant to the other eleven men’s counter strategy. It is practically chess on grass with an occasional concussion.
Our other face turns to love. Valentine’s Day is set aside to remind us how fortunate we are to have found our chosen mate. To tell him/her, not necessarily with chocolates and flowers, but with any expression of devotion. For the past 33 years Peggy and I have made this day special with poems and candlelight dinner. It’s getting to be a challenge finding a restaurant with a soft-backed booth and white tablecloth. But the main course is our poems usually replete with private language, un-translatable.
Feb. 14th can also be the designated day to forgive ourselves for everything we didn’t say, but felt, toward the other. All that affection, inarticulate. We might even shout a forgiveness for that guy who didn’t hold the elevator door and while we’re at it offer a nod of pity for all those who have allowed the barbed voice to poison their minds and impoverish their souls.
For us the day is merely an extension of all the rest. I’m a lucky guy and I want to say it. It is made sacred by the sanctity we give it, our shared reverence for being alive in each other’s closeness. It doesn’t get any better than finding the one in whose company we can discover our full self. Let this Valentine’s Day be our filibuster against the madness of our country, our stay halting the moral violence in the common air.