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The big day is nearly here

Arne Hoel, Tahoe Daily Tribune

Hey, guys, what’s really important this week?

There are so many heavy subjects. We continue to risk the lives of some of our best men and women but we still can’t find Osama bin Laden. Enron is sending another shock wave through the stock market. Fortunately we found Kenneth Lay, but he probably won’t say much.

The Olympics are in full swing. If you can stomach all of the commercials you might even see bits and pieces of a few sporting events. Don’t hold your breath. And, it looks more and more like Yucca Mountain will soon glow brighter than the Olympic torch.

But hey, guys, what’s really important this week? If Valentine’s Day didn’t come to mind you could be in big trouble! I don’t care what kind of man you are, you’d better take this day seriously.

There is at least one important lady in your life. You might have several. All the gals expect you to remember them on Valentine’s Day.

Wives and girlfriends are the obvious ones to remember. If you have both, my condolences go out to you. You’ll soon be busted like all the other poor saps before you.

Moms and grandmas are important to remember as well. Even though you’re all grown up, you’re still their special little boy. Give them something to brag about.

You’d better throw in your mother-in-law too. Make her take back some of those nasty things she says about you. Add a few aunts to the list and your cousins will look like schmucks. You’ll enjoy your superiority at the next family barbecue.

What about your sisters? When is the last time their brother did something nice for them? And don’t forget your daughter. No matter what her age, she’ll melt when dad does something special just for her.

Don’t forget work associates. I bet you can think of a few women that make your job a lot easier. Or, think about the ones that are making your job a lot harder. Grease the skids a little and they’ll think you’re boy wonder.

I bet you’re freaked out right about now. Today is Wednesday. Valentine’s Day is Thursday. You haven’t done squat!

Don’t worry, I’m a man of experience. I’ll lay it out for you and it won’t be too expensive, unless you’ve been bad.

I have every lady on the above list to account for. Well, almost every one, as I don’t have a girlfriend. I’m way too smart for that. Marie is the most awesome wife and mother. I wouldn’t do anything to screw that up.

I have made mistakes along the way. Forgetting is the worst type of mistake. Then there was the year that I bought Marie a very expensive humidifier. Hey, she had complained that her skin was really dry. Thank goodness for the roadside flower vendor who was working late. There is clearly a limit to “thoughtfulness” on this special day.

Phone calls are cheap so start there. Now we also have the famous E-cards and there are dozens of free sources on the Internet. Buy a few written cards and sign them. At this point you’ll have to hand-deliver them. This will suffice for most but not all of the ladies on your list.

Candy and cookies are great. Make sure it is chocolate. You can probably handle that in your budget. Don’t hog it all to yourself after it’s opened though.

For your wife or girlfriend (note that I said “or”) you’ll need all of the above and more. If you’re thinking lingerie you’re still a beginner but if you can work it in more power to you. That’s not the icing though.

You need a dozen red roses. Yep, they’re expensive this time of year, but worth every penny. The icing is when you hand her the roses, look her in the eyes, ask her to be your Valentine and tell her you love her. Thursday night and the next 364 days will be just that much better.

I hope you have a happy Valentine’s Day.

— Arne Hoel is interim publisher of the Tribune.


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