Santa Maria Sun / Humor
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 13, Issue 49
V-DayKrider remembers the Valentines of the '80s
BY ROB KRIDER
When I think of Valentine’s Day, I like to remember my grade school years, candy conversation hearts, and a makeshift mailbox scotch-taped to the side of my desk with red and pink construction paper decorations pasted all over the side. I loved it when my classmates filled my bag with sugary treats. Valentine’s Day meant pounds of candy, and it also meant nobody in school would be doing unimportant dumb things like learning math. But V-Day came at a cost, and that cost was my parent’s sanity every year on the evening of Feb. 13. Annually, I would come home from school the day before Valentine’s, reach into my backpack, and pull out a crumpled up week-old note from my teacher announcing to ol’ Mom and Dad (at the last minute, of course) that I needed Valentine’s Day cards and candy for 30 of my classmates immediately!
This turned a normal weekday evening into total chaos. My dad would drive me around town looking for leftover Valentine’s Day cards. I always wanted the Superhero ones that said cool stuff like “You’re a SUPER friend.” But because I waited until the last moment to buy any Valentine’s Day cards, most places were sold out. Usually I would end up buying the Smurf set with cheesy sayings like “You’re Smurftastic!” If I was lucky I could score the last box of Garfield: “I like you more than lasagna.”
When I got home, I had to write down all of my classmates’ names on envelopes to separate the girls’ envelopes from the boys’. It was paramount that I was specific about who got which Valentine’s Day card from me. I couldn’t give a card that said “Be Mine” to a boy I hung out with on the weekends playing G.I. Joe. I couldn’t put a candy conversation heart into a boy’s Valentine’s envelope that said, “So fine,” because something like that could have confused the entire third grade population about my heterosexuality. Plus, it was important that I gave those specific small clues of love and infatuation to the girl of my grade school dreams: Ami with an “i.”
Ami with an “i,” known by her parents simply as Ami, was the girl for me. She was called Ami with an “i” because in the ’80s, we had a lot of Amys in school. There had to be some way of differentiating all of these girls. We had Amy K., Amy with glasses, and Lame Amy, which we ultimately shortened to Lamey. Sure, it was a bit mean to call her Lamey, but in our defense she was sort of lame—and remember, it was the ’80s. We didn’t have bullying laws on the books. Back then, kids were cruel to each other, some kids cried, some kids got tough, and most of us got over it. Even with all the name-calling, somehow we all survived. Lamey even grew up, went to law school, and became a district attorney. Rumor has it she put a lot people who previously called her Lamey into the California penal system. “Who’s lame now?” But of all the Amys at my school, Ami with an “i” was the most special because her name was spelled differently and because as we got older she liked to kiss boys named Rob, which was great for a guy like me, who just happened to be named Rob.
Ami with an “i” was a cool chick. Like most ’80s girls, she loved Mike Seaver from Growing Pains, and she listened to black Michael Jackson. At the roller rink, she had this uncanny ability to skate backward for “slow skates” and let me hold onto her hips as we cruised around the rink listening to “Doctor-Doctor” by the Thompson Twins. Ami with an “i” marched to the beat of a different drummer and was the only person I ever knew who actually preferred New Coke. But the ’80s didn’t last forever, and things between me and Ami with an “i” didn’t work out. As the ’80s turned into the ’90s, she fell in love with another Rob—Robert Smith of The Cure—and thus she wore a lot of black clothing. The last time I saw her, she was leaving the high school campus at lunch with some older guy on the back of his motorcycle.
The demise of my grade school crush was for the best because now I get to spend every V-Day with my wife, whom I love, who for some reason hates it when I reminisce about Ami with an “i.” To prove to my wife that she is my “forever girl,” I always try to do sweet things for her on Valentine’s Day (albeit I try to do these things on Feb. 13—couldn’t get to it early in third grade, can’t do it early now). I don’t see my Valentine’s Day procrastination as a real issue because my wife is sort of the Valentine’s Day Grinch. It isn’t her holiday; she sort of sees it as a waste. If I buy her a dozen roses and a box of chocolates, she doesn’t recognize it as a gesture of love. Instead of saying thank you, she just asks me, “How much did that cost?”
“Sixty dollars,” I say proudly to display how much she means to me.
“I don’t even like flowers or chocolate. I’d rather have nachos.”
“They don’t make Valentine’s Day nachos.”
“Well, they should. These flowers are just going to die anyway. At least if I had some nachos then there would be cheese. These chocolates don’t have any cheese.”
“Honey, they don’t make a Valentine’s Day box of cheese.”
“Well, they should.”
“I’ve checked, and they don’t.”
“That’s why Valentine’s Day sucks: No cheese.”
“I know it sucks, but realize I’m socially obligated to get you something on Valentine’s Day to show you how much you mean to me. The stores are full of chocolates and flowers.”
“Well, the stores certainly don’t have it at midnight the day before Valentine’s. Next year try to work a little earlier and harder to get me some heart-shaped nachos.”
Rob never did find heart-shaped nachos, but did settle on some Spanish language conversation hearts: “Amor.”