Beating Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day can get so expensive. Flowers, candy, jewelry, dinner out! Where does it end? But this year, I thought I’d figured the perfect solution. I was working on it in my study when my wife walked in.
“What are you doing?”
I proudly held up the picture of a floral bouquet I’d copied off the Internet. “It’s your valentine’s gift.”
She frowned. “Why did you run a picture off? Afraid you’d forget what the arrangement looked like before you got to the florist?”
“No, silly. This picture . . . I mean this highly detailed rendition of the perfect flower arrangement IS your present.”
Again she frowned.
Hey, don’t get me wrong. I’m no cheapskate! I’ll even take my wife to an occasional movie . . . As long as it’s a matinee . . . And we bring our own drinks . . . And popcorn. Have you seen what they charge for movie theater popcorn? It’s robbery.
“So let me get this straight,” my wife said. “The picture is my gift?”
I nodded. “It shows how much I love you, a lesser man would give real flowers.”
“You’re going to have to explain that one.”
“Ok. Number one- We avoid a potential trip to the emergency room.”
Again she frowned.
Boy she frowns a lot. If she’s not careful, her face is going to get stuck like that.
“Real flowers are a health risk,” I said. For all I know you’re allergic to roses-”
“But I’m not.”
“Are you sure? A lot of people develop allergies as they grow older-”
“Older? Are you saying I’m old?”
There is no correct answer to that question. “Then there’s the thorns. What if you jabbed yourself with a thorn. Then it got infected. For all you know, they may have to amputate a limb or something.” I beamed. “I saved you.”
“My hero,” she said flatly.
I pressed on. “Also a picture lasts longer than the real thing. In a few days those flowers would be dead and withered, dropping their decaying petals all over the floor. Then you’d have to clean them up. Look at the time and energy I’m saving you.”
“How considerate.”
“Why, for a dollar at the dollar store, you could buy a nice frame. That picture could last for eternity. Just like my love for you.”
She raised an eyebrow. “You’re so romantic.”
“So you see, my love, this picture is the perfect gift.” I pressed the paper in her hand. “Happy Valentine’s Day.”
She looked at the picture, then silently left the room.
I was giddy from my victory. I did it! I beat the Greeting Card Mafia. Everyone knows they run the whole valentine scheme. Why, when other husbands find out about my brilliant move, millions will join me on my quest to give pictures of flowers. I’ll be a hero!
I was reveling in this thought when my wife returned. She placed two papers on my desk: one had a picture of a cooked chicken on it. The other, a woman’s lips.
“What’s this?”
“That’s your supper and a thank you kiss for the valentine’s gift.”
She patted the top of my head. “Think about how much longer they’ll last.” She walked out.
Friends, I’d like to type more about this, but I don’t have time. I’ve got to get to the florist before it closes.
Happy Valentine’s Day.

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