I was watching CNN this morning, and one of the “on-the-street” questions asked was “What’s the worst Valentine’s Day gift you’ve ever given?” Some of the answers were pretty funny – like the man who answered, “a toaster.”
I tried to think of the worst gift I’d ever given or received, and I couldn’t really think of anything. I did, however, quickly recall my worst Valentine’s Day ever.
It happened in my senior year of high school. I was the president of the “S” Club, a girls’ service organization.
One of our major fundraisers every year was Val-o-Grams. Upon receipt of a paid order by any student, we made Valentines by hand out of red construction paper and white lace paper doilies. These Valentines were then delivered to classrooms throughout the day by one of our “S” Club members. When the happy recipient received it, inside he or she found the heartfelt prose of a secret, or not-so-secret Valentine. Either way, for those of you who can remember “being in love” in high school, it was a VERY big deal to receive such a message in front of all of your classmates.
So, what made it so awful, you ask?
Imagine ordering one, full of expectation of gratitude from your Valentine – but your Val-o-Gram wasn’t delivered. Or, imagine expecting to receive one, your heart beating with anticipation as the “S” Club cupid enters the classroom – but your name wasn’t called for delivery.
Now, imagine being president of the organization that misplaced an entire page of Val-o-Gram orders.
Frantic complaints by two or three very unhappy people was all it took. Their love notes had not been delivered! I shuffled through stacks of paper, and to my horror, discovered that we had neglected to make Valentine’s for an entire page – approximately 30 people.
Valentine’s night, some of my fellow “S” Club members and I, sacrificed our own Valentine celebrations to complete the orders we’d missed. We issued sincere apologies the following day, and with faces as red as the Valentines, delivered them.
The saying, “Better late than never” didn’t make me feel any better.
The event has gone down in the annals of my most awful moments. At the time, I thought I’d never live it down. Today, thankfully, I can look back on it fondly as a typically traumatic teenage event. I can even smile about it.
Still, at times I wonder if those missing Val-o-Grams might have changed history.