Bronx Zoo selling naming rights – to cockroaches – as Valentine’s Day gifts
Published: Friday, February 11, 2011 | 5:44 PM ET Canadian Press The Associated Press
NEW YORK, N.Y. – If lingerie is too intimate and dinner out is too expensive, the Bronx Zoo suggests another Valentine’s Day gift: a Madagascar hissing cockroach. Spokesman John Calvelli says, “Nothing says forever like a cockroach.” The Wildlife Conservation Society runs the New York City zoo and is raising funds by offering the public the chance to name the huge roaches. In return for each name, it’s asking for a $10 donation. Calvelli says about 1,700 cockroach names were bought in the first two days of the promotion. Recipients get a certificate. The zoo says naming a roach will honour a sweetheart’s resourcefulness and resiliency. As the zoo puts it: “Flowers wilt. Chocolates melt. Roaches are forever.”
How is a person to show love on Valentine’s Day … if outright lust is just a little too carnal for your tastes, and gourmet gluttony is above your pay scale … why not try cockroaches! What says “I love you” more than putting your beloved’s moniker on something that scurries from the light, feeds off of garbage, secretes a form of neuro-toxin, and hisses to communicate? What girl in her right mind wouldn’t want that! How do I love thee? Let me count the ways … 1, 385,418 … 1385,419 … 1,385,420 … no wait! Don’t lift that!
And I don’t know what is worse, that someone thought of cockroaches and Valentine’s Day as a good fit, or that 1700 people bought into it within the first two days. Is this what people think of love? Is this what it’s come to … pleasing the baser desires of sensuality, or grabbing a few bucks off of a bizarre marketing plan?
Here’s a humble idea instead. Why not do something that is actually loving for Valentine’s Day. Take that ten dollars and just donate it to the zoo, or the charity of your choice and leave everybody’s name out of it. Or save yourself the money and maybe volunteer a little time with someone who is stuck in a nursing home, or visit a friend who’s down in the dumps. Send some food to your local foodbank. Volunteer an hour or two for one of the hundreds of local charities in your community. Help your children with their homework. Talk to your spouse about things that are important. Or maybe you could take a moment or two to read about the man behind the Holiday, St. Valentine himself. Physician, priest, martyr … his life and death have a lot to say about the true meaning of love.
Love doesn’t have to last forever (only God’s love for us is that good!), but it should be lived out in the here and now. Love doesn’t have to cost a lot of money, but it should cost some of you (just as God’s love cost all of Jesus). Real love can never be expressed by lingerie, lunches, or laughable marketing campaigns, only in one person giving of themselves for another – no matter how un-sexy, unpretentious, and unassuming that may seem.
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. (1 John 4:7-11)