A Little Wookie for Valentine’s Day

When you’ve been married as long as I have been (nine months), you’ve accumulated a lot of wisdom about love and junk, which puts you in a position to give advice. But instead of giving you more advice–there was enough of that yesterday–I thought I’d lead by example.

For Valentine’s Day I gave my wife a cookbook and a Chewbacca card. Now, it wasn’t just any Chewbacca card. This one featured TWO Chewbacca’s and made the Chewbacca sounds. “GRRNNNNLLLLNNNNHHHHNNNNN” (that’s a fifteen-syllable ‘grnlnh’ with emphasis on the eighth syllable) is Wookie for “I love you” and, also, “I need to poo”–which, come to think of it, is something you say only to people you love. So Wookie’s a pretty efficient language.

And, pound for pound, nothing screams romance like waking up first thing in the morning, handing the old lady Mark Bitman’s “How to Cook Everything,” and saying, “I think breakfast starts on page 789. I marked down what I want,” before rolling over and going back to sleep.

I kid, I kid. I did get her “How to Cook Everything” and pound-for-pound — well, it’s heavy, because it teaches you how to cook everything. But I did NOT tell her to cook anything in the book. She’s a big fan of Bitman’s videos on The New York Times website. Romantic? Not really. But we’d agreed to skip the gifts for Valentine’s Day. We’d also agreed to skip gifts for Christmas (as our birthdays fall in November and December) and she went and got me Kenny Shopsin’s “Eat Me.” So it was sort of revenge.

I also signed her (us) up for a one-year membership to the James Beard Foundation and, true to form, she’s currently surfing the James Beard site and pointing out that the discounts that come with membership aren’t all that great. How romantic is that?!

My gift was a stuffed puppy in bucket of Hershey’s Kisses. And what looked like a bonus bag of Hershey’s Kisses until I grabbed a hold of it and, not realizing it was open, spilled the bag all over me and the bed. But chocolate’s chocolate and I think we all know those Kisses ain’t gonna last the week.

This afternoon we’re going to linner with her brother and his wife and then to see “Pal Joey.”

Now, to some of your more moon-eyed romantic types out there, this may all seem a little lame and lacking in big gestures. But after years of dating and relationships, I’d say any Valentine’s Day that doesn’t end in tears, debt, crushing disappointment because some foolish plan didn’t come off, unreciprocated declarations of love or outright breakup is a good Valentine’s Day.


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