Valentines challenge
John Norberg, humor columnist s

Once again, Valentineís Day is coming up. I know this because itís being advertised on all the sports channels. If jewelry stores didnít promote Valentineís Day during basketball games on TV, Iím sure I would miss this day all together.

I love my wife. My problem is I am romance-challenged.

I am of Norwegian descent. Italian, Greek, French and Spanish men are known for romance. Norwegian men arenít known for romance. Norwegian men are known for eating lutefisk, which is five-day-old cod soaked in lye.

And a lot of women donít want to kiss a man after heís been eating five-day-old cod soaked in lye.

I never know exactly what I should do on Valentineís Day, and I know there are a lot of other men like me. Here are some ways to identify romance-challenged men:

You might be romance-challenged if you buy your wife a box of delicious chocolates and eat most of them before you give it to her. You might be romance-challenged if your idea of an intimate dinner involves a drive- through lane and super sizing.

You might be romance-challenged if you buy your wife a beautiful bouquet of flowers made of plastic so theyíll last longer. You might be romance-challenged if you buy your wife a new vacuum cleaner for Valentineís Day. You might also be dead the day after Valentineís Day. And there might be no jury that would convict her.

You might be romance-challenged if your idea of a big evening ends at 7:30 p.m. snoring in your reclining chair.

You might be romance-challenged if your idea of dinner and movie is pizza and "Patton" on a DVD. And you canít figure out how to work the DVD player.

You might be romance-challenged if you take a woman out to dinner and tip the hostess to put you near the TV so you can watch the basketball game.

You might be romance-challenged if you take your girlfriend to an expensive restaurant and text her that you left your wallet at home.

You might be romance-challenged if your idea of dressing for dinner is putting on a sweatshirt that doesnít have paint stains.

You might be romance-challenged if you buy a woman a fur coat for Valentineís Day and forget that sheís a member of PETA.

You might be romance-challenged if you buy your wife a fitness club membership for Valentineís Day. And it could backfire. She might make you use it.

You might be romance-challenged if a woman serves you dinner by candlelight and you ask her if the power has gone out.

You might be romance-challenged if you canít remember if Valentineís Day comes after the Super Bowl or the World Series.

You might be romance-challenged if you split a chocolate brownie sundae with your wife and eat off her side.

You might be romance-challenged if youíre looking for a Valentineís Day gift at a gas station convenience store. She probably doesnít want engine oil or even windshield washer fluid for Valentineís Day.

As usual, Iíve been stumped about what to do for my wife this year. Then, the other day, it came to me.

Wife: "Thank you for emptying the kitchen trash container. But I wish youíd put a new plastic bag inside when you take the old one out."

This week Iím going to take the garbage out and replace the plastic bag. And Iíll put my Valentineís Day card with it.

Who says itís so hard to know what women really want.



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