A haters' guide to Valentine's Day
"I watch the world go by,
"Hand-in-hand, and wonder why,
"I'm still so alone."
"Chances Are," by Texas songwriter Hayes Carll
So, it's another Valentine's Day and you're alone.
If that has you down, consider the plight of John May.
May was a mechanic in Chicago who, on occasion, worked on cars owned by members of Bugs Moran gang. He was working, legally, on cars at a garage on North Clark Street on Valentine's Day in 1929 when members of Al Capone's gang burst in, lined up everyone in the garage against a wall and perforated them with Thompson submachine guns.
The seven others killed were members of Bugs' gang, or affiliated with the gang in some manner. May, who merely worked on their cars to earn money to support his wife and seven kids, just happened to be there.
So no matter how you're feeling this Valentine's Day, at least one person has had a much worse day on Feb. 14.
Keep that in mind, it's just a date on the calendar. And you shouldn't feel bad because the greeting-card-and-candy-and-restaurant industrial complex is foisting this holiday, intended to honor a martyred saint, Valentinus, upon you. As Liz Lemon said on an episode of "30 Rock" a few years back: "Valentine's Day is a sham created by card companies to reinforce and exploit gender stereotypes."
Don't fall for it. Instead, treat it like any other day.
Go out to dinner
Maybe treat yourself to some Chinese. OK, maybe not because all of the restaurants will be packed with couples expressing their undying love for one another over Moo Shu Pork.
Take in a movie
Or not. It depends on the movie. You probably want to skip anything starring Katherine Heigl. (Actually, that's probably pretty good advice year round.)
And you definitely want to stay away from "How To Be Single," a rom-com that opens this weekend and is said to be about the lives of single people living in New York. (What an original concept. As if the world needed another movie about single people living in New York.)
Skip that and check out "Hail, Caesar!" the Coen brothers' new flick about a kidnapped movie star and a bunch of other Coen-brothers-like hijinks. The theater may be full of couples, but being alone gives you license to laugh really loud at the funny parts without embarrassing or annoying anybody. (OK, maybe annoying some people. A little bit.)
Or check out "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies." Spoiler alert: It has ninjas!
Just stay home
Just don't leave the house. It's a Sunday, after all. There's plenty to do. Catch up on some reading. Maybe Gillian Flynn's "Gone Girl," which is about a relationship so toxic it could kill all of the rats in New York.
Or check out the David Fincher movie, scripted by Flynn. It's worth it just for Tyler Perry's performance as a skeezy lawyer who specializes in defending men who commit acts of violence against women.
Binge on bad TV
Log into Netflix or whatever service you have access to and binge-watch some terrible TV. The Cinemax series "Banshee" is a perfect antidote to the saccharine sweetness of Valentine's Day. It’s about a master-criminal who gets out of jail, travels to Banshee, Pa., in search of his lost love and along the way becomes involves in an altercation that leaves a man dead. The dead guy was supposed to be reporting as the sheriff of the town, hired from 3,000 miles away so he wouldn't fall under the influence of the Amish gangster who runs Banshee. The master criminal then adopts the dead guy's identity and becomes sheriff.
Then, it gets weird.
There's a lot of fighting and bad people doing bad things and stuff like that. It's mindless fun.
And if that doesn't take your mind off Valentine's Day, just remember what the holiday is about.
On Feb. 14, 273, according to the official history of the Diocese of Terni, Valentinus was imprisoned and then tortured to death by the Romans.
Happy Valentine's Day!