You celebrate it your way and I’ll celebrate it mine.
Most people will be celebrating Saint Valentine’s Day today, but I think of this as Al Capone Day. It’s not that I’m not a romantic, because, truly, I am. It’s not that I’m a bitter, cynical, divorced guy who’s spent more holidays alone than with someone, though that is in part true. It’s not even because I’m a die-hard Chicagoan who’s found himself surrounded by Southerners who don’t really get him. No, it’s not any of those things.
No, I “celebrate” this day this way because people forget how things really are. People forget that while the media giants force-feed us a slick, glossy idea of romance today, people are dying, struggling to make their lives work, and just trying to make it through. There are bigger things than romance going on. Some good, some bad.
So, today, while most people will buy into the mass-produced saccharine romance of the holiday, I’ll remind people of the Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre. Today, in 1929, on the Near North Side of Chicago, Al Capone and several of his closest friends arranged for a deadly surprise. They lured several members of rival Bugs Moran’s gang into a local warehouse and garage, supposedly to make a deal for illegal whiskey, where hit-men, disguised as Chicago Police officers staged a fake raid. They then lined up the rival gang members and gunned them down. When neighbors saw them leave, taking some of their accomplices out in street clothes, they figured that Chicago’s finest were just on the job. It was actually quite clever and daring, in a sick sort of way.
I’m sure there are just as many killings going on around the world today as there were then. Maybe more. All for about the same reasons.
So, dress it up any way you want, but today is just like any other. And if you need a special day to celebrate romance in your relationship today… Well, good luck with that.