Around this time of year, the Web goes wild with offers of candy, roses, teddy bears and kissy-kissy cards. It's enough to make some folks sick. Especially those who've been disillusioned by love.
For the disenchanted, the Web offers opportunities. There are a number of sites that massacre Valentine's Day. One of the best is Anti-Valentine's Day Central. On Saturday, the home page will be colored black. Here you will find sharp-edged stories and quotes. And a page of colorful candy hearts with slogans such as "I think we should see other people" and "I already have a boyfriend." Online commiseration might make you feel better.
Another site, FAL Studios in Sacramento, lists 101 more "Least Loved Conversation Hearts." For instance: "Kiss Off," "Amscray," "Shove It" and "1000x No."
If you're looking for Valentinic poetry with a little edge, try Cathie Walker's annotated songs found at the Centre for the Easily Amused. The center's motto: "Amusing the world one person at a time (and boy are we tired!)."
Walker has taken four songs and turned certain words into highlighted links. Buried in the lyrics of Nazareth's whiny ballad "Love Hurts" are links to some 50 various sites. The first mention of "hurts," for example, takes you to the Abuse-a-tron, a site full of insults. The last mention of the word "love" is hooked up to an advertisement for an online dating book. The links are sassy, surprising and sometimes savage.
Or, if you're really feeling shafted, you not only can seek sweet revenge on the Web, you can find it. The Web site of the Joke Shop in Waukesha, Wis., offers all kind of revenge tools. Fake vomit, pretend puppy poop, "kitty krap," paste-on bullet holes, cigarette burns and bird splats. A tail-pipe whistle is two bucks. OK, OK. We know: It's sophomoric, even freshmanic. But you're exacting revenge, remember, not applying for a White House internship. You're not making a first impression; you're making a lasting impression.
For those seeking a higher-rent form of revenge, however, there is Revenge Unlimited . The folks at this site have given retribution a lot of thought. Designed for serious comeuppance, Revenge Unlimited is divided into the Garden, the Library, the Wardrobe, the Tool Shed and the Avenger's Den.
For $49 plus shipping, you can send your unloved one a dozen long-stem roses with the flowers cut off. Or you can send wilted roses. Or dead roses. Or, for a few dollars more, roses that are dead and black. The Wardrobe offers T-shirts ("Have a Knife Day") and in the Den, people swap tales of revenge.
One revenge seeker named Rachel posted the following message: "I'm going out with the biggest egomaniac in the world." She asks others for help on how to dump him. On the Library's shelves, you'll find titles such as "Getting Even: The Complete Book of Dirty Tricks" and "Revenge: Don't Get Mad, Get Even."
You won't find, however, one of the greatest revenge tales ever told, "The Count of Monte Cristo" by Alexander Dumas. After spending years in prison, Edmond Dantes sets out to destroy the lives of the men who put him there. Though he doesn't win back Mercedes, the woman he loves, he does crush his enemies. If you don't feel like buying the book from your neighborhood bookstore, or an online warehouse, you can glide through the comic-book version at Bonus.com , a Netscape kids site designed with parents and teachers in mind. There's another reason to read the Dumas story: You'll probably realize that you don't have it so bad after all.