“Did the earth move for you too?”
That was what the ladies of Aiken asked each other on Saturday morning.
“What a night it must have been,” we said to no one in particular.
Friday was St Valentine’s day. In the evening, the restaurant at the Wilcox Hotel was full of couples dining, recalling when they first met, their first date, their first kiss, their first, well…
Candles lit the tables. Eyes gazed into misty eyes. Hands held hands. The old coals of love, gone grey and chilly with time, were raked, stoked, fanned…
At first, it must have seemed hopeless to some of the geezers in the room. After so many years, the cinders were so lifeless – as cold as a corpse. But lo, soft words, soft hands and soft liquor can work miracles. Soon, the sparks were flying, the coals glowing and even bursting into flame.
Except for the couple next to us. The man didn’t seem to get fully into the spirit of St Valentine. He was holding back, perhaps protecting himself from the wounds of true love, or perhaps just checking his Amazon short position.
In any case, his hand held not the warm appendage of his blonde companion, but a smartphone. He regarded it fondly, as if it meant something to him, while his paramour grew impatient and then, sullen.
After the meal was finished, the bottles of Ruffino or Stag’s Leap drunk to the last drop, perhaps followed by an Irish coffee or a bowl of ice cream. It was time to leave. The love-warmed couples retired to their rooms.
Soon after, the earth shook.
Bill Bonner on markets, economics & the madness of crowds
To sign-up to Bill's free daily email just enter your email address below
“Did you feel it,” the guests asked each other at breakfast.
When we first heard this, we were amazed. We had never heard people speak so openly of their private love bouts. It seemed like much too intimate a matter for public conversation. But then, we were raised an Episcopalian. We’ve always been astonished by what Baptists and Lutherans will say to one another. As for Roman Catholics… oh la la.
“It was 4.4 on the Richter Scale,” said one.
This was even more astonishing. It was the first time we had ever heard of measuring the intensity of an orgasm with a seismometer!
But what the heck. The spirit of scientific inquiry – like the NSA – reaches into the bedroom as into everywhere else, we guess.
Markets were closed on Monday in honour of dead presidents. Like every other race, Americans remember their scoundrels and forget their saints. But that is the way the world works, and who are we to argue with it?
Since yesterday was a holiday, we have no market moves to report. We spent the day coming back from South Carolina, and ruminating on St Valentine’s Day.
We turned to Elizabeth to suggest an idea: “After a certain point, it really doesn’t matter how much money you have, it won’t change your life in any way. You don’t need a bigger house or a fancier car. It really is the things that money can’t buy that matter most.
“Speaking for myself, I would be happier with much less. Really, all I want is a cosy house with a big fireplace, a good chainsaw and a fertile vegetable garden.
“Still, people always want to have more. Your editor included. Maybe it makes us feel more secure. But, more likely, it’s just a way of keeping score in life. And we want to win. It’s an instinct closely related to St Valentine’s Day.”
“What is the ultimate, most fundamental form of winning?” we asked Elizabeth. “Gaining wealth? Winning the love of others? Status? Power? Or simply reproducing?”
Marco Polo, travelling in what is today the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh found a man who had it all: “The king possesses great treasures. And wears upon his person a great store of valuable jewellery. This king has some 300 wives; in those parts the man who has the most wives is most thought of.”
But what does the poor man do on St Valentine’s Day?
• Don't miss Bill's next Daily Reckoning. To receive the next article straight into your inbox as soon as he's written it, enter your email address below.