Love As Only Crash Could
I've Always Been Weird About Valentine's Day
For whatever reason, it always seemed like, before I met my wife, I was always unattached at Valentine's Day. So I had some weird ways of celebrating the holiday for lovers.
For example, one year, when I was an undergraduate in college, I was scheduled to be on the radio on Valentine's Day, doing my old tacky seventies comedy show called Crash's Clambake. I knew the likelihood was that almost no one would be listening to my show that night, since they would probably be doing unmentionable things with their significant others.
At the time, The Only Clambake You Can Hear was a whopping five hours long, as the station directors had decided to venture into the uncharted waters by having "Experimental Radio" from midnight until 2 a.m., sort of testing the FCC on how far they would let us go. I was already scheduled to do the Clambake from 9 to midnight, so being a crazy college student, I volunteered to extend it for another couple of hours.
This meant that I had two more hours to fill with meager attempts at humor, and I wasn't feeling terribly inspired the week of Valentine's Day that year, so I decided to celebrate Valentine's Day in a most unique fashion.
My mom had given me a copy of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band 1975-1985 as a Christmas gift. Bruce Springsteen was then, still is, and forever shall be one of my favorite artists. So I rationalized, "I love Bruce Springsteen, Valentine's Day is about love, and I've got lots of time to kill."
So in 1987, I celebrated Valentine's Day by playing the full box set of "Live Bruce Juice," as I liked to call it. I have no how many people actually listened, but I sure had a hell of a time that night!
In addition to being known as Crash Cromwell, host of Crash's Clambake, I was also known as James F. Henry, editor in chief of the St. Joseph's College newspaper, the Spectrum. I considered it my mission in life to ruffle as many habits as I could on the pages of The Spectrum (St. Joseph's College is owned by the Sisters of Mercy, many of whom held important administrative and teaching positions on campus). So I used to like to take little jabs at the nuns on the pages of the newspaper, like the time I quoted Billy Joel's tune "Only The Good Die Young," with the line "....The stain glass curtain you're hiding behind never lets in the Sun...Darlin' only the good die young!" I put that quote right in the middle of the staff box on the editorial page.
But for Valentine's Day, I had extra special ways to traumatize the nuns. Like, instead of wishing my readers Happy Valentine's Day, I used a headline that read, "Happy V.D." When the nuns called me on this slur, I said it was an editorial decision based on space limitations (a fact that none of them bought for a second since I had to blow up that headline to like 120 point type to fill the space above the article.
Another year, I got some really cool clip art for Valentine's Day, including one that showed an artist's rendering of an actual human heart. Complete with veins and arteries, and even some blood dripping out. Rip your heart out sisters!
These are just a few of the wonderful memories I have about Valentine's Day. Now I'm married, I've got a few kids (a fact that many nuns probably live in fear of....I'm betting they've already blackisted my kids in the Admissions Office, just in case any of them should think about applying to go to the Mistake By The Lake, as I liked to call it), and I haven't got much of a clue what to do for Valentine's Day. I like to think of myself as a romantic guy, but really that's just a pipe dream, as my wife loves to remind me on a highly regular basis.
So I'm thinking it might be time to put on the old thinking hat and try to find some way that I can surprise the puss out of my darling wife. Something tells me that five hours of Bruce Springsteen while reading old faded copies of the Spectrum probably won't do too much for her, or for my chances of making some Valentine's Day memories of our own. Anyone got any suggestions? I'm all ears!