almanac

The history of Hallmark

A long time ago, there was a small mystical creature, named Cupid. He flew around the world with his fairy wings, and used his magic arrows to cause humans to fall in love. He was content with his simple and fulfilling life.
One day, Cupid was feeling particularly energetic and determined, and his hard day’s work singlehandedly caused the population explosion in the Indian subcontinent. Feeling exhausted from the effort, he decided to stop in at the Mythical Creatures Pub on his way home for a relaxing beer.
This pub was nothing special to look at, just a small brick building in a field in Northern Ireland, but it was frequented by all sorts of beings considered fictional by humans. The tooth fairy was a regular, leprechauns stopped by from time to time (though they were required to pay ahead of time, they were notorious binge drinkers), and even Santa made an occasional appearance, when the “old ball and chain” let him have some fun (his words).
On that particular day Cupid found a spot between one of Snow White’s seven dwarves and a deeply inebriated centaur, and as they began to converse, the bar tab grew longer and longer. By the time the MC Pub was almost empty, the unlikely trio were trying their hand at deciphering the key to happiness. Not an easy task at the best of times, made even more difficult by the fact that they had drank their way through just about every drink on the menu (saving of course anything with the word “spritzer” in the name, they still had their dignity). As the barkeep started attempting to shuffle them out, they decided to give up and leave the thinking stuff to someone else.
The next day, Cupid woke up with an earsplitting headache and a startling revelation. The key to happiness, he realized, was money! While attempting not to throw up, he pondered  how to make his new realization into a reality. Time was on his side; an immortal being learns to appreciate the luxury of patience. He continued to go about his daily routine for a few decades, all the while thinking of ways to become independently wealthy. Then one day, it hit him like an arrow to the knee (which was ironic, because the thought was so distracting that an arrow meant for a passerby on his way to a dance class accidentally hit a tree, which immediately became deeply infatuated with a nearby oak, and was destined to the misery of not being able to communicate his romantic feelings). Cupid immediately gave up on match-making for the day, and began to draw up plans to start a company that preyed upon the very emotion that he distributed among the people.
A few weeks later, doors opened at a brand new company: Hallmark. They immediately began producing tacky cards, candles and other things no person ever needed. Upon the initial success, they began churning out even tackier and cheaper products. This continued for many years, and Cupid became very rich, and true to his prediction, very happy. Every time he got dangerously close to thinking about what really mattered in life, he bought a pile of chocolate and attempted to eat his way through it. No one has ever been unhappy while eating chocolate; his life was blissful.
Time went on, and Cupid slowly became as fat as a pregnant panda bear, although not as cuddly. His initially successful company, however, began to become less and less lucrative. It seemed that people had completely filled their homes with tacky, emotionally pandering items, and could not buy more, and due to Cupid’s focus on eating rather than love-spreading, not enough new people were being made to support the company. It seemed that one good idea was not enough to continuously bolster Cupid financially, and that he would have to be ingenious again if he wanted to continue the lifestyle he had grown accustomed to.
The very next day, while chasing away an existential crisis on one of his three speed boats, Cupid formed the plan that would ensure his wealth for the foreseeable future. Instead of forming a new company, or changing the existing one, he would change culture itself to benefit him the most. He decided that he would use Hallmark’s “terrible movie division” to start the idea of a new holiday, dedicated entirely to spending money under the pretext of romanticism. Instead of showing romantic affection through nice gestures, or—god forbid—spending time together, couples could now just spend money on useless junk for each other!
It was the perfect plan. A suggestible, media-obsessed culture drank up the idea of being able to spend less time and effort on their significant others, as well as getting things bought for them. As years went on, the made-up holiday pervaded society completely, and after a number of years, no one even realized that is was simply invented to sell greeting cards and cheap stuffed animals.
And so, Valentine’s Day was born… Legend has it, every Feb. 14, Cupid gets together with his mythical friends at the pub where it all began and buys everyone a round as they have a good laugh.

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