Ethan Holmes, The Paperman and Valentine’s Day


Valentine’s Day is fast approaching. I’ve always had a problem with a holiday that, thanks to media and advertising, contains strong implications that my love for a person is directly proportional to how much of the following I will buy them; chocolate, flowers and jewelry. (It should be noted that may not be the proper order of importance depending on whom you’re with.)

Did you know that the deepest origins of Valentine’s Day are tied to an ancient Roman three-day festival that involved killing animals, flailing celestial virgins with the stripped hides and hooking them up, lottery-style, with a group of men, both hoping that the flailing made the women fertile? Kind of puts a damper on that box of chocolates; doesn’t it?

But I digress. I found a video on, (see the Paperman link above or click here), that reminded me that I have always been and always will be a full-blooded, dyed-in-the-wool romantic. Never mind that, by the time I find the girl, I am going to be ninety-six years old and too old to do anything about it except invite her to Wednesday Rice Pudding Night at the nursing home.

Unlike the video, I have no paper airplanes to help me. In fact, where I live, there is very little help of any kind. The tourists who make up the vast majority of people walking the streets and inhabiting the coffee shops, grocery stores, Main Street gift shops and hiking trails are necessarily short-term transient; here today, gone next week.

The rest of the population, according to all recent census records, is overwhelmingly senior citizens and gay people. There’s nothing wrong with that; we all have to live somewhere. I just don’t date either one of those two groups; not yet anyway. Give me another few years in what I call single man’s hell.

Somewhere in my mind, years ago while I was evidently still lucent and hopeful, I was sure I was going to marry the girl of my dreams and live happily ever after. Let’s just say that I have only run into the women of my nightmares and through various and many poor choices I find myself, years later, pondering Wednesday Rice Pudding Night at the nursing home which suddenly seems like it’s not too far off in the distant future. It would be really great and save me some money if that would just happen to fall on Valentine’s Day.

I can see it now. My glassy, red-rimmed eyes meet hers, cloudy, glaucoma-stricken, peering at me from six feet away over a pair of the largest, most cumbersome set of bifocals I’ve ever seen. Her eighteen remaining blue hairs glisten in the soft, dust-filled sunlight filtering in past the yellowed lace curtains on the nursing home windows. I note a sexy bit of unidentifiable drool slowly making its way down the corner of her thin, pale lips and the way she playfully picks the broccoli off her plate and throws it at the nurse. She turns to me again and says something. I can’t hear her so I anxiously turn up my hearing aid, all the while eagerly anticipating hearing her say how handsome I look in my flannel pajamas complete with a pocket protector full of pens and pencils. I lean forward, eager to hear the first words I’ll remember for the rest of my short life. Ah, I have found her at last!

She points a bony, um, I mean, soft, slender finger at me and says, “Where the hell is the god-damn bathroom in this place?!”

Ethan Holmes is the author of Earth’s Blood (now available in paperback), The Keystone, A Multi-Pack of Brain Flakes, Shorts and Other Laundry, and his latest release now available in both paperback and Ebook, Live Your Life In A Crap Free Zone.\

Visit Ethan Holmes at his website to learn more about the author.

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About Ethan Holmes

Ethan Holmes currently resides in Northern Arizona and he is the author of seven published books; Earth's Blood, The Keystone, A Multi-Pack of Brain Flakes, Shorts and Other Laundry, Live Your Life In A Crap Free Zone, Water. and his new novella, The Town of Perfect. When he is not writing Ethan is also a professional freelance nature photographer.
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