the “l” effect “

by morgan m. hurley

are that kid back in grade school who still believes that everyone deserves a

This year, pretend you

valentine. Make February your month of love.”


It’s February, the month of love.

hat does that mean to each of us? There are many takes and maybe even a lesson or two. February 14 being synonymous with “love” dates to the 1800s, and thanks to tremendous marketing campaigns by

Cadbury and greeting card businesses ever since, the love we are to bestow upon others in February should be directed at those with whom we have an intimate relationship; and we are expected to buy them red roses, boxes of chocolates, or perhaps an engagement ring. Those who forgo such traditions generally spend a night or two on the couch. Some often say, “Why do we need a particular day of the year to profess our

love? Why can’t we show our love to our partners/spouses every day?” Their argument is that those we love and who are always there for us deserve to be reminded regularly of our appreciation and what they mean to us. Others, including myself, are single. Is there still room for us in February? Of

course, there is. When I was a kid, my summer days often comprised of lying around watching

soap operas with my mom. One was called “Love is a Many Splendored Thing” (1967-73). It was a spin-off of the William Holden and Jennifer Jones movie (1955), “Love is a Many-Splendored Thing,” and its Academy Award winning song of the same name. I didn’t understand what the title meant, but I sure got caught up in the song

theme and all the drama in that show, and I always missed it when I went back to school. On campus there was a different kind of drama, but Valentine’s Day, which was halfway through the school year, always seemed like an attempt to mute it. On the eve of every Valentine’s Day – at least in elementary school – mom

would bring out the bright red box she’d bought, filled with individual valentines. I’d spend the evening filling them out and addressing them to each of my classmates. Everyone, including not only my besties, but those who often got picked on, the ones who never talked to me, the kids whose parents couldn’t afford cards, the ones I was too shy to talk to, and even the bullies and those I didn’t like, all received a valentine card that day, without judgment. They also undoubtedly received a few “conversation hearts.” Those were the heart-shaped Necco Wafers that had “Be Mine,” “Call Me,” “You’re Cute” and “Kiss

52 RAGE monthly | February 2020

Me” stamped on them. You always had to be REAL careful who those went to. The girl or boy you liked most in class would always get the best card, with the best handwriting, the best comment and the best conversation hearts. Should someone get the wrong heart and misunderstand its meaning, there may be some soap opera drama in the coming days. But all in all, despite some minor stressors, it was always fun, and everyone in

the class got cards and candies and felt loved on Valentine’s Day. It was a day of bonding. Flash forward to 2020 … with all its division, rabid politics, tribalism and hate speech ... and all of today’s various social media sites, where people just rag on each other, especially strangers; and where even news organizations and TV anchors use their platforms to promote all the negative and divisive topics, there is a tremendous lack of civility around. We’ve lost that innate ability to pass a valentine to everyone in the room. Despite this crazy world we currently live in, we need more love. We need more unabashed, unconditional love in our correspondence, our conversations and all our interactions. Even if we are not in an intimate relationship ourselves, there are lots of people in our lives that we feel love for, and there is always more love to give. So, if you’ve been feeling regret in recent weeks that you don’t have someone

to share the love of February with, change that. This year pretend you are that kid back in grade school who still believes that

everyone deserves a valentine. Make Februaryyour month of love. Consider sending one to a friend who has been single a long time, or to an older relative who has long lost their spouse, or an elder in the community who lives alone. Hell, send one to your best friend from college, an ex you are still friends with,

or even your favorite uncle or cousin, regardless of their political views. Just send one. It might make a difference in someone’s life and you’ll feel better, too #MakeAmericaLoveAgain

Morgan M. Hurley is an award-winning journalist and freelance writer. Reach her at

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