Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Cupid Is As Cupid Does

When I walked into my office building yesterday, my path to the elevators was blocked by an enormous red and white sign near the security desk that said:

“Win a free dozen roses and a box of chocolates from ExecuCorp Properties! Drop off your business card today at the security desk to be entered into the drawing! Flowers and chocolates will be delivered to your office on Valentine’s Day!”

Now, I’ve done some lonely things in my day, like ordering a birthday cake with my name on it when it’s not really my birthday, or eating a pint of cookie dough ice cream while watching Love Story with my cats, but sending myself roses and chocolates on Valentine’s Day? That’s just plain sad.

While I found this contest to be a bit bizarre, I’ve learned that sometimes my judgment is off, so I consulted the best resource I knew – my friend, Hap. Hap is an expert when it comes to all things Valentinian because he works for a singing telegram company. This is his busiest season of the year, as you might imagine.

I called up Hap so he could weigh in on this great debate: registering for free roses – pathetic or not?

“I would never use the term pathetic.”

“Then what would you call it?”

“Desperate and sad, maybe, but never pathetic.”

“But how lame is that? I mean, that’s almost as bad as sending a singing telegram to myself.”

Hap’s eyes lit up: “I could get you a discount if you don’t mind a Barbershop Trio. Our baritone has strep.”

“Hap! You’re missing the point! Is it, or is it not, a sad state of affairs that my building is already anticipating that no one will send me a Valentine this year? I know this contest is about me – someone must have told them! I mean, can you just imagine the humiliation if I actually won?”

[Cue dream sequence]

Our main character, Jenny, is sitting at her desk, feverishly typing away on a marketing proposal that is due in two hours. In her trash can, we see a banana peel, a Cheetos wrapper, and an empty Starbucks cup. Suddenly, we hear a commotion coming from the front of the office – people chatting, desk drawers slamming shut, chairs swiveling, necks craning – a handsome delivery man enters the office carrying one dozen perfect red roses and an enormous heart-shaped box of chocolates wrapped in a delicate pink bow.

“Delivery for Miss Jenny!” says the man in the brown suit, a smile stretched across his face.

“For, m- me? But, I… oh my goodness!” squeals our blushing heroine.

Her co-workers curiously gather around her desk, anxious to share in the excitement that unexpected gifts bring.

“Who’s it from? Who’s it from, Jenny?” screams one woman.

“I don’t remember you mentioning anyone special in your life! Oooh, you’re so secretive!” giggles another.

“Oh, they’re just lovely! Someone must really love you!” titters a third.

Exhilarated by all this sudden attention, Jenny coughs a bit, then sheepishly mumbles, “Well, I… we just started dating recently. This, this is really all so unexpected.”

“Let us see the card! What does the card say?”

“Um, it just says…”

“Read it to us! What does it say?”

Realizing she is now deep into the deception, Jenny wipes her brow, and then says, “It says, Dearest Jenny, I adore you…”

Jenny nervously looks up at her colleagues, searching for reassurance, and feels a swell of pride as they all eagerly nod, hanging on her every word.

She continues, “Dearest Jenny, I adore you. And think you’re beautiful. And very smart. And funny. And each moment I spend with you is like an eternity in Paradise.”

At this last line, Jenny closes her eyes and presses the card to her chest. Just then, a male co-worker snatches the card out of Jenny’s hand and reads it aloud: “Happy Valentine’s Day from… ExecuCorp Properties! We value your business!”

The card drops from his hand and flutters in slow motion to the ground.

Jaws drop, and an initial hush passes over the crowd, followed by machine-gun bursts of hysterical laughter. Jenny’s co-workers all point at her as they double over, tears streaming down their faces.

A blonde woman from sales pries the box of chocolates from Jenny’s hands, throws it to the ground, and starts stomping on it. A skewer of butter cremes collects on her stilettos. The new billing clerk grabs the flowers off Jenny’s desk and passes them around the crowd. Her co-workers rip the heads off the roses with their teeth, and spit them out at Jenny’s head. They are oblivious to the thorns, as thin streams of blood trickle down their chins.

The ghoulish visages of her colleagues spin around her like blurry merry-go-round faces, their teeth stained crimson with blood and rose petals.

She feels she is going mad.

“Jenny loves the building! Jenny loves the building! Jenny and ExecuCorp, sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G!”

Hap yelled into the phone, “Jenny! Jenny! Hey – where’d you go there? Look, I gotta get going soon – telegrams to deliver, and all.”

“Oh, yeah. Well, I just wanted the opinion of an expert. I mean, sending yourself candy and roses. Isn’t that the stupidest thing you’ve ever heard?”

“Yeah, totally stupid.”

“See, that’s what I thought.”

“So… how many cards did you drop in?”


“Good girl.”