So, men, you've forgotten what day it is, have you?
That's right, Mr. Macho, it's not Christmas, or New Year's or even Sir Smithers' birthday; but it's Valentine's Day 2007.
Can you still remember when holding hands and giving her chocolates and a bunch of flowers was an everyday occurrence and not something that you handed out in order to "pay" for some known or unknown indiscretion?
Now, this is not a lecture from the Ol' Columnist, for I must confess, The Missus even questioned my motives when I was extra affectionate and even promised to pick up some clothes that were lying around.
It was mainly because I'd just taken the Valentine's Day Quiz as put out by Reader's Digest and made a passing grade of 70 per cent that I'm now gloating just a bit.
In order for you to get in the good graces of your lady this year, check out your knowledge:
* 1. The lovers' holiday, known as Valentine's Day, has its origins in the Pagan rite of ... Romance; Joviality; Fertility; Wine making ? Correct answer: Fertility. The annual Roman fertility rite dates back to the 4th century B.C. Young men drew from a box the names of young women, who became their companions.
* 2. The pagan fertility festival was named after what Roman god? Venus; Lupercus; Odraticus; Fortuna? Correct answer: Lupercus.
* 3. Valentine was stoned, clubbed and beheaded because he ... Secretly married young lovers; Ate too much chocolate; Refused to send the Roman emperor a Valentine's Day card; Failed to pay income tax? Correct answer: Valentine began secretly marrying young lovers after Emperor Claudius II banned marriage.
* 4. Why is the name Arterius important to the Valentine's Day story? Correct answer: He was Valentine's jailer.
* 5. Which civilization introduced Valentine's Day cards? Greece; Rome; India; Babylonia? Correct answer: It was Roman men who first offered women written wishes of affection.
* 6. Who sent the earliest surviving Valentine's Day card? Correct answer: Charles, the Duke of Orleans, sent his wife a card while she was imprisoned in the Tower of London.
* 7. Sending anonymous Valentine's Day cards in England became fashionable after ... A paper mill strike ended; A reduction in postal rates; An increase of card shops ... A reduction of printing costs? Correct answer: A drop in postal rates.
* 8. The son of Venus, goddess of love and beauty, is associated with Valentine's Day. What is his name? Correct answer: Cupid, of course.
* 9. The letter X represents a kiss and was once used to convey what message? Correct answer: Sworn oath, for in days of old, when many did not know how to write, an X or the sign of the cross was accepted as a sworn oath.
* 10. Why did the Allied governments outlaw troops from the writing of XXX in letters home during WWII? Correct answer: To prevent spies from using it as a code.
So you've taken the test, even though you have all 10 correct answers. I had only three wrong and I didn't peek once.
Now I wonder what the Missus would like on this special day? However, there's one suggestion from a Japanese spa which I refuse to indulge in and that's to go dipping in chocolate. It was an ancient practise of the Aztecs, who believed it was an aphrodisiac that "invigorated men and made women less inhabited."
Perhaps, a box of calorie-reduced chocolates and a handful of flowers will fit the bill.
If I don't hear the slamming of any doors, I'll know that I'm still her "Valentine," after all these years.
EMBRACE FOR THE AGES: In the pre-dawn of Valentine's Day, some bone hunters in Italy have found a prehistoric couple wrapped in each other's arms near Verona, which was the setting for Shakespeare's doomed romance about Romeo and Juliet. Archaelogists suggest the "bones" are from the late Neolithic period of about 5,000 years ago. There's also a suggestion that durng that era, a wife would be "sacrificed" and buried with her husband when he died.
DID YOU KNOW? (From Uncle John's Bathroom Reader): E.A. Murphy, Jr. Murphy was not an optimist. An American engineer in the 1940s, he was the first to utter the words "Anything that can go wrong will go wrong" -- Murphy's Law.