I’d say it’s what separates us, not from the beasts, but the bestial. Creating the future, renewing a learned past - these are reasons to strive. Writing for and with love, taking and framing an image, stretching new melodic skins onto old skeletons of song… it’s how we manage to fly. It’s how we stay you and me, not us and them.
Unlike Osk, who seemed to establish his own tactical task force wherever we lived, scooping up neighbourhood feline troublemakers as sidekicks (including the memorable ginger behemoth Watson, with whom he used to scope the street from the safety of the shed roof), Jelly has the intelligence gathering skills of a sponge cake.
Anyway, somewhere in between my 'and then you should've done this' and 'why didn't you say x and y, rather than z', and 'for the love of monkeys and the general public's eyesight, you didn't honestly wear that heinous shirt did you', something he was saying about the dating extravaganza we were picking to pieces finally penetrated my cloud of self-congratulatory cumulo-waffle.
"Most people don't talk about how dates are progressing as a tender process, do they?" he asked.
"She said I was 'part way through the tender process' and that she was judging me on my submission. I'd like to think there was irony involved, and I think at the time I may have given an admittedly weak "haha, yesssss, quite". Looking back, I'd have to conclude, computer says no on the presence of Fabulon or other aids to achieving crisply pressed linen."
In what can be viewed as both a positive and a negative of the Age of White Noise, social media has given us the opportunity to invent new selves - sometimes, it seems, a hundred of them, to be used for different people, situations, even moods. It has given us the chance to smile when we are crying on the inside, if we aren't feeling very brave, or if we feel like we need to put on one of those hundred different selves. It has allowed us to share our despair, our wonderful happiness, our big thinking, and our dreams.
But what it has also done is laid us bare to criticism and a lack of care, both in our own actions and those of others. We cannot hide from hurtful situations. We cannot hide from what we say and do, and sometimes - achingly, angrily, and agonisingly - we cannot hide from what others say and do to and about us.
John Lennon was a wise man by the time he died, and he knew what was what when he said the words 'instant karma's gonna get you'. The Buddha had his own time of mortification - imagine what it would have been like if it had been fed back to him on Instagram, and Facebook, and Twitter?
I am, and have been for many a long year, a very definite naysayer of what has to be the biggest Hallmark Holiday of them all. This is mainly because I hate the whole idea of proscribed love, and having to express it on a certain day and in a certain manner, or otherwise you will be mocked and shunned by the rest of society.
So to teddybears holding love hearts, and single red roses... I am afraid I say 'bah, humbug!'
Or whatever the Valentinian (word?) equivalent of Scrooge's Christmas message may be.
By the same token, there is nothing wrong with taking a time out to say what you feel about the person you care most about in the world. And for some people, the only day of the year when they are able to express that is Valentine's Day. Whether through shyness, or reticence, or simply being a typical boy (you know it's true) - most of the time, romance gets lost in translation, or more typically in work, work, sleep, work, kids, work, sport, drinking with friends... you know.
And that is where I have come to see the value that V Day holds. It's a chance to break out of the ordinary. To actually have a valid reason to stand up and say 'I love this person, they mean everything to me'. I suppose the sad thing is that an excuse in the form of an official day is needed for this to happen. That we are all too busy, or tired, or shitty, or lacklustre, to make the effort on an 'everyday' day.
2014 has so far been a remarkably craptacular year. I can't see that Valentine's Day is going to hold anything particularly special in many ways (if it holds a bear holding a heart, then there will be a brand new Massacre to join the history books. Just as an aside). But one thing I can say, which is special to me, and which is 2014's saving grace - and which makes every day a gift as far as I am concerned;
I wake up being told I am loved by the other half of my heart, and go to sleep the same way.
That, to me, is what Valentine's Day means.
Have a happy day. I hope it is filled with bacon roses, if that's your thing. And guys who look vaguely like David Tennant, if that is your thing as well.