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Valentine Gag Gifts for Sagging Girls and Drooping Boys

By Steve Eskew

Thank God the need for masks didn’t exist when I was decades younger and irresistibly handsome. Let’s face it, my killer good looks have finally faded away. Yup, the ravages of gravity. So vicious.

Who’d have thunk I’d ever welcome an excuse to cover my formerly flawless face. Oy. Sometimes I don’t even bother to remove my mask at home. Mirrors be damned. Keep ‘em covered as I mourn the loss of my movie star mug.

What really knocks me for a loop arises when people from my distant past actually recognize my now-covered, ill-favored face.

Such a recognition happened recently. As I was searching for the perfect Valentine gag gift for my bitter half, someone in the mall crowd behind me yelled “CAW!”

That could mean only one thing: my girlfriend — not one of my fantasy  mistresses — no, ’twas my girlfriend Mary from second grade. 

Call it gravitational pull: over time, fate periodically pilots Mary and me together. “Caw” has been our greeting to each other since we were eight years old and chattered with crows. Long story. I’ll spare you the details.

I quickly turned around to confront Mary’s maskless face, her smiling dark blue-green eyes. I addressed her by her childhood nickname: “Hi Peacock. Wow! It’s been about 15 years.”

She responded with “Hey, Crow.”

“Your face?” I said “It’s so young yet!”


“Your waistline?” she said. “Still so slim!”

“Man girdle.”

Indeed, her adult face has remained so very similar to her childhood face. But how did she identify the mostly-covered pathetic puss that gravity has morphed my face into? 

“It wasn’t your face. It was that insane habit of patting your head you’ve always had. You were such a nerd. You’re the only creature on the planet who does that. Give it a rest, Crow. Give it a rest.”

I teased her that she should talk, commenting on her quirk of tugging on her ear. “I never know if I’m talking to you or to Carol Burnett,” I said.

“Here we go,” she sighed.

We decided to sit and bicker a bit at the mall’s coffee bar.

I told her that our platonic fling as second-graders served as my rationale for never dating girls from my own school ever again, not even college classmates. Never dating colleagues at work. Never dating neighbors.

Every time Mary and I quarreled as kids do, I felt terribly uncomfortable in class within inches of her frowns. I fantasized of floating up, up and away. 

I vowed never to relive that discomfort by having to frequently face someone I was mad at. 

And, believe me, Mary loved my discomfort. “When you weren’t making fun of me, you were making faces at me,” I recalled.

“Oh, I remember it well. Good times — especially when I made you cry,” she purred. 

I reminded Mary of the time she banged on my door on Valentine’s Day and handed me a half-dozen heart-shaped helium balloons, saying only two words, “Float off!”

“Right. I was only pointing out your undying  desire to defy gravity,” she said. “Even as a nerdy second-grader, you rattled on and on about your big wish of floating in a balloon up to the sky.”

I told Mary to forget my obsession with gravity and reminded her that we also had our puppy love fun, our cutesy poo moments. 

We laughed about how we constantly got into trouble because we couldn’t resist passing notes to each other in class. 

Mary confessed that she never broke the habit of passing notes, adding: “My husband and I have always done it. Note-passing even serves as a fun part of our romantic moments. My hubby and I are such good buddies.” 

“Good buddies? Not us,” I joked. “Since second grade, I’ve always regarded my girlfriends and my wives as my natural-born enemies. It’s been exceedingly exciting.”

Mary asked me what I planned to buy for my so-called “bitter” half for Valentine’s Day?

“Well Fredericks of Hollywood is out forevermore, but I’m considering the purchase of one of those super-support bras for sagging breasts as a gag gift. Gravity, ya know.”

I then admitted that I’m not really that much of a rascal. But I did tell Mary that my BETTER half and I don’t write notes to each other, but we do a lot of wisecracking. We never stop joking — especially about gravity. This includes how gravity keeps pulling everything on one’s body down until it finally sucks us six feet under the earth. 

Mary smiled and said that my lifelong ladylove sounded hip, making it safe to give her a support bra for “her girls.”

I agreed to do it but dared Mary to get an equally ghastly gag gift for her lovey-dovey hubby.  

“You’ve corrupted me. I think I’ll buy my old codger a truss for “his boys.” He desperately needs one. Gravity strikes again, if ya get my drift.”

“Oh, I got your drift. Loud and clear, Peacock. Loud and clear.”

— Steve Eskew

Thank God Liberal Arts courses are so easy. Even retired businessman Steve Eskew received a pair of master’s degrees in both dramatic arts and communication studies from the University of Nebraska at Omaha after he turned 50. When asked to take over a professor’s theater column at The Daily Nonpareil in Council Bluffs, Iowa, Steve began a career as a quasi-journalist. Narrowly by the luck of the Irish, this led to numerous publications including theater and book reviews, profiles and Steve’s favorite genre, humor writing. Check out his humor blog, ESKEWPADES.

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