February 14, 496 A.D. – St. Carl “Valentine” Kawalski

Everyone knows that Valentine’s Day is named after St. Valentine, a 3rd century man who is the patron saint of lovers. What most people don’t know, however, is that St. Valentine’s real name was Carl Kawalski and he was also the patron saint of head trauma patients. But Carl had not always been a saint.  Carl’s neighbor had been a fellow by the name of Saint Frank, who happened to be the patron saint of jealous pricks (a surprising number of regular folks became self proclaimed “saints” in the 3rd Century, due to general boredom in what historians widely refer to as the “dullest century on record”). Carl’s jealously of St. Frank spurred his pursuit of sainthood for himself, whereupon he began referring to himself as Saint Valentine (the name had been taken from a childhood dog, who coincidentally had also been a patron saint).

Carl began to experiment with different “patronisms”, as he called them, to find his specialty. Carl tried being the patron saint of many things; eating contests, carnival games, karaoke, carpet laying, breaking and entering, aggravated assault, alcoholism, arrow catching, arrow removal/flesh wounds, and lint collecting just to name a few. Nothing seemed to fit. On February 14, 496 A.D., in an attempt to become the patron saint of bowling ball juggling, Carl was left with irreversible brain damage. He spent the remainder of his life doling out drool covered hugs and cutting tiny red hearts out of construction paper. Thus we have the beginning of our Valentine’s Day traditions; and the reason why bowling ball juggling on February 14th is illegal.

Carl’s deeds were eventually lost to history until 1912, when careful research and some slight story embellishments by an American man named Joyce Clyde Hall, lead to his canonization by the Catholic Church.  The successful canonization propelled Joyce Hall’s then fledgling “Hall Brothers” greeting card business onto the national scene.  You know them better today as Hallmark.  This is why Valentine’s Day is often referred to as a “Hallmark Holiday”.

In the words of the great Paul Harvey, “now you know the rest of the story.”

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