So we’ve arrived in mid-February, or perhaps more appropriately, the year’s off-season. Nothing’s happening.

Football has just ended. We’re still weeks away from the report date for pitchers and catchers in baseball. The NHL is on life support, moments from a lockout and already stricken with a potentially fatal bout of fan apathy. I mean, does bustling Columbus, Ohio, really deserve a professional hockey franchise? What’s a Blue Jacket, anyway? The most interesting storylines in the NBA involve betting on which Eastern Conference coach will be fired next or which Portland Trail Blazer’s drug problem will be shipped to another unsuspecting area of the country.

And what’s the biggest story in the country right now? The exposure of a nipple on television. Every media yahoo in America has taken a stand on this big nothing of an issue. Forced apologies and pointless tape delays have plagued American airwaves, specifically on the Grammys. Did Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell take over CBS while no one was looking?

And here at Yale? The prospect of spring break less than a month ahead is little comfort for midterms, which are just far away enough to start procrastinating. And in the middle of all this, Hallmark has decided to make a few bucks by guilting us all into buying cards for our special Valentine. Valentine’s Day — hatched by the President’s economic stimulus team to promote a little action in the economy, and maybe even in the bedroom. The only action I’m seeing is a lot of falling down on icy sidewalks. Speaking of which, this must be the first winter in which I haven’t sustained some sort of massive injury from slipping on ice. Just in case, I think I’m going to screw giant spikes into the bottom of my shoes for the rest of winter. For traction. Like in the Arctic.

So it’s Valentine’s Day. Rather than pour my bitterness onto the pages of the Yale Daily News as might be expected on such a precious holiday, I’ve decided to channel my energies elsewhere. Accentuate the positive. Champion my bachelor-ness. And what better way to champion one’s stupidity and distaste with the current state of affairs and to conquer the monotony of mid-February than to get a tattoo?

My friend recently got a tattoo. Forty dollars for a nipple fermata. The nipple is the dot, and the tattoo forms the curve. Actually it’s a boomerang with a total area of about 1 square centimeter. The tattoo artist appeared both skilled with the needle and insane enough to kill a man with his bare hands. Tattoo parlors are not exactly the best place to drop the Y-bomb. But that’s not the point. The point is my brilliant tattoo scheme — bound to inject a little life into mid-February. Here it goes.

First, round up a group of friends, maybe five or six. Make sure one of them can be easily duped. This is the key. I recommend a younger friend, one eager to impress the big kids. Nine-year-olds are out of the question. Second, go to a tattoo parlor with everyone except he-who-is-easily-duped. This works best if someone actually gets a real tattoo, so convince the toughest of the bunch to get a tattoo with meaning for the whole group — group symbols, favorite sports teams, and corporate symbols are all good ideas. Also, do not trust a tattoo artist unless his head is shaved and most of his skin is obscured by tattoos of his own. That employee discount needs to be put to good use. After the tough one has endured the needle, head to the nearest henna ink shop. Then, have the same tattoo plastered on the rest of the group in ink. Sharpies are only to be used in the most dire circumstances. Details are of the essence. The henna needs to pass as the real thing. Finally, return to the easily-duped one.

This is the fun part. Convince him that everyone did in fact get the same tattoo. If all goes according to plan, he will immediately lose his marbles and make a beeline for the tattoo parlor. He won’t want to be left out of the newest bond among friends. And that is the comedy. As the tattoo is finished on he-who-is-eager-to-impress, wash off the henna. Everyone will enjoy a ribald laugh, as the friend realizes that he was horribly duped into getting a tattoo. Either that, or homicidal rage will ensue.

Complicated tattoo schemes? Perhaps not the best way to break the monotony of February. You could just go out and ask someone to be your Valentine. Which reminds me, I need to call my mother.

Robby Schrum would like to wish his mother a happy birthday.