I’ll be the first to confess — Valentine’s Day isn’t really my thing. I’ll take a pass on the day of roses, chocolates, and romantic gestures. I’m more of a Netflix, Chex Mix, and accidental naps sort of person. If you’re anything like me, waking up on February 14 can feel a bit unsettling, like inserting a Flannery O’Connor character into a Jane Austen novel.
But as fans of the recently interred "30 Rock" know, there are many things one can celebrate on February 14 besides eternal love and romance. That show’s protagonist, Liz Lemon, used the holiday to celebrate the birth of Anna Howard Shaw, a leader in the suffragette movement. And that’s just the beginning! There’s a multitude of cool things that have happened today that the Valentine’s Day adverse can celebrate — no candy hearts required.
1967: Aretha Franklin records her famous musical tribute to female empowerment, “Respect.”
1859: Oregon becomes the 33rd state — a day without which we would not know the TV show “Portlandia.”
2003: Dolly, the first cloned mammal, dies. Cloning was a big deal at the turn of the millennium. Remember Cloneaid?
1818: Abolitionist Frederick Douglass is born. As Douglass once said, “No man can put a chain around the ankle of his fellow man without at last finding the other end fastened around his own neck.”
1920: The League of Women Voters is founded in Chicago. And lest you think there is no longer a need for a League of Women Voters, they’re still kicking around today — tackling issues like climate change.
1819: Christopher Sholes, the inventor of the typewriter, is born. Without Sholes, the letter sequence “QWERTY” would have no meaning at all.
1912: Arizona becomes the 48th state — America would have had a whole lot less Saguaro cacti.
1894: Comedian Jack Benny is born. As this funnyman once said, “I don’t deserve this award, but I have arthritis and I don’t deserve that either.”