Bowen: ‘Torn up’ over a box of chocolates

Published 6:34 pm Thursday, February 9, 2017



It was February of 1998 when we officially began our work as a “love” consultant. And it all started right here in the LaGrange Daily News as we reported one of the most amazing scenes I’ve ever witnessed: right in the middle of the candy aisle at the store. By the time men from all over the world read of our expertise in resolving issues over on the “romantic aisle,” they swamped to us for some much-needed relief. While I must say some of these fellas were almost hopeless causes – such as my buddy “Whup,” Coca-Cola Mike, Benny W., and my old-time classmate Tony Pippen – we think they learned to survive Valentine’s Day, if not enjoy it.
So, in honor of all these men and others who have suffered on February 14th, we offer today’s story to give you hope. Surely none of you men have sunk as low as the following pitiful boys who were … “torn up over a box of chocolates.” …
I have to tell you, it was one of the most pitiful sights I’ve ever seen.  It was enough to make you downright ashamed of the whole human race.  It happened about a year ago during the season of love and romance we’ve come to know as Valentine’s Day. I was browsing around a local store the evening of February 14th, just trying to find a few items I needed, when I heard some commotion over in the next aisle. Naturally, I hurried over to see what the trouble was and to see if I could be of assistance.
That’s when I witnessed it. It was a pitiful, pathetic sight. Half a dozen fellas were wrestling right there in public in the middle of the aisle. They were scratching, clawing, kicking, and biting, and each one was clinging with one hand to the last box of Valentine’s candy in the whole store. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Grown men, shirttails hanging out, sweat running down their faces, were battling to the end to gain possession of that final box of candy.
My disgust was too great for me to stand by silently. I hollered, “STOP IT!” and stomped my foot for added effect. Surprisingly, they all stopped and looked at me, perhaps more stunned than anything. They froze, each one still clinging with one hand to that lone box of candy.
I walked up to them. “You ought to be ashamed of yourselves,” I said. “To think that grown men like yourselves have lowered yourselves to fightin’ over a meager box of Valentine’s candy.”
I shook my head in disbelief, then added, “And do you know why you’re doin’ this?”
They all answered simultaneously, “Why?”
“I’m goin’ to tell you why!” I said.  “Because you’re too lowdown and sorry to go to the store before the last minute on Valentine’s Day to buy your wife the nice gift she deserves! My, you’re a pitiful sight, the whole bunch of you. After all your wives have done for you: washin’ your clothes, cookin’ your meals, cleanin’ your house, even bearin’ your children – and you don’t have enough respect for her to give just a little forethought into buyin’ her a gift on a day that’s more important to her than any other day of the year!”
I paused to let it sink in, then continued: “Gentlemen,” I said, “this is the day when you have a chance to really show her how much you love her, and all you have failed miserably.  All of you!”
I noticed as I looked at them that each seemed to have a slight tear emerging in the corner of his eye. But I had no sympathy.
“Don’t start getting’ sentimental now,” I said. “It’s too late for that. You should have gotten sentimental a few days ago. I just feel sorry for your wives for being married to such a lowdown, sorry lot as you. I know they deserve better. I know they do.”
I paused again, looked at them eye to eye, but they all lowered their heads in shame.  Finally, I said, “Aw, give me that box of candy and get out of here. I can’t stand to look at you anymore.”
They released the candy – somewhat reluctantly – handed it over to me and began to walk away one by one, their heads still down. I hollered behind them, just to throw sand in their wounds.
“And put your shirttails in. You don’t have to look pitiful just because you are pitiful!”
So I found myself standing there in the middle of that aisle with a torn box of Valentine’s candy in my hand. All I could do was shake my head in disgust at that lot of men I had just faced. Finally, in an attempt to escape the scene of the crime as quickly as possible, I walked over to the young lady who worked the register and handed her the torn box of candy.
“Listen,” I whispered, glancing around to make sure none of the six men was around, “since this candy is torn and all, do you think you could, uh, wrap it for me free?”

Steve Bowen, a former Granger, lives and works in Red Oak, Texas.