Happy VD. Come on, people, stop saying that

Several days after my ship was in port, hundreds of sailors ended up in what was referred to as the VD line. People thought maybe they caught something at a sailor bar in town and wanted to get some penicillin from the doc at sickbay.

So, I tend to do a double-take when people shorten Valentine’s Day to VD. Were these people born yesterday or did they grow up clueless? But, as usual, I digress.

My wife and I had talked about celebrating Valentine’s Day by getting COVID shots. However, though the news mentions yet another new vaccine gaining FDA approval almost every week, there don’t seem to be any doses available.

Odd, do you think?

One sees various articles about how screwed up the United States’ vaccination program is. Some say the rich are first in line. Some say, no, it’s hookers who are first in line. My comment is this: I have yet to see any lines, VD or otherwise. Meanwhile, others are saying they won’t get the shots because they don’t know what’s in them, to which a Facebook joker said, “Well, you eat Chicken nuggets and hotdogs without a clue what’s in them.”

So, it appears that my wife and I will kiss each other, get some pretty flowers, and say, “COVID be damned.” The sucking-up-politicians group said people as ancient as we are should have gotten our COVID shots already. Since we haven’t gotten them, we’re being offered free penicillin shots in case we “caught something in town.”

Malcolm

Malcolm R. Cambell is the author of the comedy/satire novel Special Investigative Reporter. When one reviewer said it was an excuse for wine and sex, he nailed it.

Happy Valentine’s Day – a time to remember loved ones serving far away

When I served aboard the U.S.S. Ranger (CVA-61) during the Vietnam War, I often “got selected” to work night shift as editor of the shipboard newspaper. In those days before WiFI and cell phones, there was no instant news other than this mimeographed, four-to-six page newspaper on legal size paper that I handed out to berthing areas, offices, the mess decks, and other compartments just before reveille every morning in 1968

Wikipedia photo

While my headline “Ho Chi Minh is Dead” probably got the most attention, my most popular headline–on a slow news day–was “A Modern Love Story.” Since we weren’t supposed to take those papers off the ship, I have no copies. So, I no longer know where this love story happened or when or even the details. It ran on the Associated Press wire and filled up a fair amount of the front page of “The Daily Shield.”

Basically, two lovers were separated from each other, perhaps by the war, perhaps by transfers to new jobs or colleges, or the random vicissitudes of fate. Like a tear-jerker movie, the young man and young woman spent many days months or years trying to find each other again. They went through hell and high water, never gave up, and finally–by the end up the story–were standing arm and arm, perhaps in the sunrise, filled with hope.

At a time when there was a long line of sailors who thought they had VD outside the sick bay door after every liberty call at a sailor town, that anyone on the ship would read “A Modern Love Story” seemed unlikely. After all, these are the tough sailors who said, as they went into town, “if you not in bed by nine o’clock, you might as well go back to the ship.”

Our cruises (as we called them) lasted about nine months. Being away from wives, fiancées, girlfriends, and parents for that long was more difficult than rough sailor talk about bar girls would lead one to believe. Even so, I was unprepared to walk through the mess decks at breakfast and find an unusual silence. The men weren’t talking, laughing, or complaining about the food. They were reading the story, some sharing the paper with others at the table. They cheered when they got to the end of it as the young lovers were reunited.

Pure schmaltz. The hard-boiled reporters and copyeditors back in the States would have relegated such a story to the features section, not page one. I didn’t run the story because I thought it would bring out the best in everyone, I ran it because I was desperate for enough copy to fill up the paper.

The Ranger was a flagship, and that meant the admiral and his staff we aboard. The following day when I arrived before the crack of dawn at the flag office, the admiral himself was standing there waiting for his papers. This wasn’t unusual. What was unusual was shaking his hand as he said, “If you find any more love stories, print them.” “Aye aye, sir.”

My good luck made me look like a genius, and that was unusual.

If your husband or wife or son or daughter or mother or dad is serving his or her country far away, remember them always, but especially on February 14th.

–Malcolm

 

 

Love is a lot of little things

“I say this is a wild dream—but it is this dream I want to realize. Life and literature combined, love the dynamo, you with your chameleon’s soul giving me a thousand loves, being anchored always in no matter what storm, home wherever we are. In the mornings, continuing where we left off. Resurrection after resurrection. You asserting yourself, getting the rich varied life you desire; and the more you assert yourself the more you want me, need me. Your voice getting hoarser, deeper, your eyes blacker, your blood thicker, your body fuller. A voluptuous servility and tyrannical necessity. More cruel now than before—consciously, wilfully cruel. The insatiable delight of experience.” – From a love letter of Henry Miller to Anaïs Nin

Valentine’s Day has come and gone this year with (fortunately) nobody sending a Facebook message or a Tweet saying, “Happy VD, Malcolm.”

I don’t think I’ve ever gotten a smoking hot letter like the one quoted above from Henry to Anaïs. As a shy, retiring writer, I don’t think I could cope with that.

On Valentine’s Day, I was at the local hospital’s surgical center for a laser procedure called YAG that removes a cloudy film from one’s eyes that sometimes occurs after cataract surgery. It’s painless, takes only a few minutes, and then one goes home. The Center requires a driver, so my wife got up at 4:30 a.m. to drive me to my 6:00 a.m. appointment.

While several Facebook friends commented about eye surgery on Valentine’s Day, having your spouse drive you to the hospital while it’s still dark in the morning is more what love is than “A voluptuous servility and tyrannical necessity.”

In a series of e-mails with my publisher, I wished her a happy Valentine’s Day. She said that after 25 years of marriage, she and her husband don’t make a big deal out of February 14th. She said that her husband “re-routed the washer hose out through the dryer vent until we get the septic tank replaced so we can still do laundry. If that doesn’t say love, I don’t know what does.”

My wife and I watched the pairs figure stating via NBC’s Olympics coverage. Then we fed the cats and had a snack. These everyday moments seem more like love to me than Resurrection after resurrection.

Some couples go out to a restaurant for a $100 dinner with a another $100 for champagne. Then there’s dancing or, let’s say, the opera or a play. At my age, I must confess that all of that’s way too much trouble, something out of romance novels that seems overly orchestrated in real life. Can’t we just splurge with a $15.00 bottle of wine and a Stouffer’s TV dinner and exchange silly cards in red envelopes?

You know I love you because I cleaned up the last hair ball one of the cats left of the carpet. Or, because I stopped by CVS for your prescription. Or, because all your clothes went through the washer and dryer and ended up neatly folded in your dresser drawer. Seriously, playing out a steamy scene from a romance novel would probably kill both of us.

Perhaps you have also discovered this truth about Valentine’s Day even though love remains a many splendoured thing.

–Malcolm

 

 

 

 

Man with multiple lovers gets screwed on Valentines Day shopping trip

Junction City, TX, Star-Gazer News Service, February 13, 2016–A local man trying to juggle gifts and cards for multiple lovers arrived at Lost Horizon Hospital & Mortuary near death here today after simultaneously confronting Bambi, Monique, Caroline, and a woman calling herself “The Dark Lady” on aisle three between the beef jerky and the pet treats.

Darcy
Darcy is currently indisposed.

When Dan Darcy, of 148 Bonnie Meadow Road, arrived at the emergency room during the hospital’s 12th “code black” of the year, doctors took one look at him and assumed he lost the race at Pamplona.

“How many hooves do all the bulls in Pamplona have?” asked Dr. Grey, rhetorically as she attempted to  intubate a mouth that turned out to have run into multiple fists.

Using sign language, Darcy said, “Watch out for The Dark Lady.”

“Everyone assumed he was hallucinating,” said attending physician “Bill Smith” who refused to give his real name due to “malpractice issues.”

“Screw The Dark Lady,” Smith reportedly added.

“Your place or mine?”

“Oops, no offense intended, m’am.”

According to first responders, the four women showed up at Walgreens where they shouted “hi lover” in unison before realizing they were a choir.

“Try as he might, he couldn’t preach to us once we caught him with a Valentines Day card for each of us. Inside, he scrawled ‘HAPPY VD’ in a hurry because he probably had to hurry home to his wife, AKA ‘Clueless in Abilene,'” said Bambi, speaking in secret after being assured her name would not be used in the newspaper.

Monique told reporters that “an honest philanderer would go to another town to buy gifts for his paramours so this kind of awkwardness doesn’t happen. I mean, golly, The Dark Lady is my mother. I always thought she was out delivering meals on wheels.”

Hospital spokesmen who were laughing too hard to keep their priorities straight, refused to confirm or deny that a woman that staff believed to be “Clueless in Abilene” begged the hospital to let Mr. Darcy go on to his great reward as soon as she filled out a fast-track DNR form.

“I just want my friends and family to know that I’m not the ‘Caroline’ they know but a different ‘Caroline’ from another planet or maybe from some God forsaken place such as Tulsa,” said Caroline.

Reportedly, my Darcy is resting in guarded condition beneath his wife’s thumb.

–Story by Jock Stewart, Special Investigative Reporter

 

Pick up your Valentine’s Day Gift Here

If you’re here looking for chocolate, roses or Champagne, you won’t find them here.

You’ll find something that will last much longer (maybe as long as this antique Valentine’s Day card I saw on Wikipedia): a free, PDF e-book of fiction, nonfiction and poetry celebrating love written by the authors of Vanilla Heart Publishing:

  • S.R.Claridge
  • Janet Lane Walters
  • Anne K. Albert
  • Malcolm R. Campbell
  • Chelle Cordero
  • Marilyn Celeste Morris
  • Collin Kelley
  • Melinda Clayton
  • Charmaine Gordon
  • Smoky Trudeau Zeidel
  • Joice Overton

A Gift for You includes my short story “Those Women.” The book is available as a free download from PayLoadz. Enjoy the stories, novel excerpts, essay and poems. Share them with all your valentines while they enjoy the roses, chocolate and  Champagne you found at your handy neighborhood Kroger, Safeway, Trader Joe’s, Ingles, Food Lion or Albertson’s.

Malcolm

When love is not madness, it is not love

Spanish playwright Pedro Calderón de la Barca got it right over 300 years ago when he wrote of love and madness. On this day, we celebrate that reality with love, kisses and cash.

According to a survey reported in today’s Pittsburgh Tribune Review, “on average, lovebirds are expected to spend $116.21 each on V-Day merchandise.” If you’re 25 to 34, your average expenditure on Valentine’s Day is $189; if you’re over 65, then you’re getting by for about $60.

The temporary chocolate, balloon and flower department at the local Kroger—billed as the largest Kroger store in Georgia—was mobbed. Fortunately, I was just passing through en route to the Krispy Kreme doughnut display.

The facial expressions of those lined up, as though waiting for a St. Valentine’s Day massacre, were hard to read, though–surprisingly–nobody was showing outright fear. Maybe the fearful people show up later in the day. Some people were festive and others were determined, while most were businesslike and dutiful as though picking up sentiments of love was no more difficult that grabbing an eight-pack of toilet paper off the shelf.

In grade school, long before the political correctness mob outlawed the practice, each student in homeroom created a special Valentine’s Day mailbox for himself or herself and taped it to his desk. Mailboxes were typically crafted out of large mailing envelopes adorned with hearts, flowers and other cute pictures cut out of magazines.

Meanwhile, each student prepared a stack of cards to be distributed to his/her classmates via these mailboxes. Some people gave cards to everyone. Some only gave cards to their best friends. Many anonymous cards were hastily tucked into mailboxes by people who wanted to say “be my Valentine” without the recipient knowing who had a crush on them.

The practice has been discontinued because some kids didn’t get squat. Who knows, maybe they were ugly or unlovable or beat up people on the playground or wore clothes that had been handed down since Civil War days.

I don’t know, maybe this is good. An empty mailbox is a very hard lesson so early in life. Yet, it could be instructive as well. Some of those with empty mailboxes in 5th grade had full mailboxes in 6th grade because they changed their attitudes rather than having to face another massacre of the heart.

Love can be cruel as well as mad. Plato called it a grave mental disease. Jerome K. Jerome said it’s like measles; we all have to go through it. Victor Hugo said that being convinced we’re loved is life’s greatest happiness. Love’s reviews are mixed, don’t you think?

Is cupid a poor shot, is falling in love hard on the knees, or are there some kinds of madness that we just can’t do without?


You may also like a bit of dark Valentine’s Day satire: Quiet Crowd Celebrates Penicillin G’day

This report was filed by the infamous, yet lovable, special investigative reporter, Jock Stewart of the Junction City “Star-Gazer.’

Or, on a lighter side, you may like a free copy of the “Love and Chocolate” e-book filled with humor, recipes, stories and (of course) love by the authors of Vanilla Heart Publishing. You can download your copy here: Gift from Malcolm

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