Valentine’s Day is next Thursday and as happily-married-and-all-that-jazz that I am, I still find it a rather nauseating, irksome holiday. It’s not my actual loved one that gets me queasy. No, if that were the case, we’d be in big trouble, or I’d finally have some answers for my unexplained bouts of IBS. It’s the imposition of the holiday that pisses me off. Folks have barely swept the New Year’s confetti off their front porches when the world as we know it is infused in a strange pink and red lens and we are suddenly assaulted with wicked allergies from such an abnormal outpour of stuffed animals begging to be bought. They are everywhere, in every shade of pink or red, and they are cute: cute teddies, cute bunnies, cute heart creatures: so cute you just don’t care anymore because your cute sense has been numbed, like smelling one too many perfumes at Macys.All this pink and red aura of love seems to grow and grow and grow as the fateful day of February 14th approaches making me more and more uneasy. Reminders of it are everywhere: even a trip to the local supermarket can be a cause for angst as the traditional white-frosted cupcakes are possessed by an unnerving shade of blood proclaiming ‘be mine.’ One bite of those puppies and that dye will be mine for at least seven years. (And more reasons for that unexplainable IBS.)I just don’t get why all the fuss. Do I not love well enough if I don’t say it with Hallmark or a Dove rose? And don’t get me started on the additional gift expectations. I just don’t go there. Cashing in on our hearts feels almost sacrilegious. Nine times out of ten my husband is out of town on Valentine’s Day anyways. Of course, instead of that detail going unnoticed (or, heck, with my self-proclaimed denouncement of Lovers Day his absence should be celebrated) I get extremely pissed off. Why, you ask? Because it’s Valentine’s Day and He Should Be Here, even if I don’t care and I don’t celebrate. Don’t adjust your logic; it won’t get you any closer to understanding. It’s just the way it is. Chocolate is the only effective antidote to these moments of estrogen-induced rage. When I am torn between being pissed off at the greeting card industry and hurt that my man’s meeting in Shanghai took precedence over me, I know it is time to make mom’s brownies. Call it a self-fulfilling prophecy or a bland recollection of scientific data that I willfully accept and promote as a mantra to be hummed over and over:huuuuummmm…Chocolate cures all………….huuuummmmAnd for one moment, one rich, sinful moment, it does. Suddenly that trip to Walgreen’s isn’t so painful and the fuzzy teddy bears with ruffled pink lace skirts (hey, and only 2 for $9.99!) do look kind of cute and the card that sings “You Light Up My Life” (a steal at $4.99) actually brings a tear to my eye (because I do love him after all and why shouldn’t I say it with Hallmark?) And because he is out of town I end up buying it all to save and shower him with it when he returns because in all my toughness chocolate makes me essentially weak and in desperate, very so desperate need of, if not love, then at least, another biteful of brownies.Marilyn’s Brownies1 cup (2 sticks) butter4 ounces unsweetened chocolate4 eggs2 cups sugar1 cup all-purpose flour with a pinch of salt1 teaspoon vanilla1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnutsPreheat the oven to 350F. In a double boiler (or microwave) melt the chocolate and butter. Set aside to cool. Beat 4 eggs with an electric beater until lemon color.Slowly beat in sugar, until light and fluffy.Stir in vanilla.Add chocolate/butter mixture.Add flour mixture. Add nuts.Bake in a greased 9 x 12 for 25 -30 minutes.