Mardi Gras Billboards

The Mystic Stripers Society parade rolls along during Mardi Gras in downtown Mobile, Ala. in 2015.

Associated Press

"A dog is the only thing on Earth that loves you more than you love yourself."

— Josh Billings

Friends, I hope you've gotten some rest this weekend because we have some serious holidays over the next few days. First up is, of course, Mardi Gras, and I for one am thankful for anytime I can wear a mask, because let's be honest, despite my looks, I'm not a handsome man, so if I can wear something to conceal that fact, I can come across as "mysterious."

This is almost as good as being attractive. Mardi Gras is a term that translates to "Fat Tuesday," but before anyone gets offended, this has nothing to do with body-shaming — it's a celebration of indulgence before Lent, sort of like how you chow down the night before you start dieting (but with a parade.)

It's hard to think of Mardi Gras and not think of Bourbon Street and beads, but in fact the first celebration was in Mobile, Alabama and was started by French-Canadian explorer Pierre Le Moyne d'Ilberville who arrived in Mobile on "Fat Tuesday" and decided he'd throw himself a little shindig for all his efforts. From there it spread south until it found a home in New Orleans.

And about those beads, there is actually meaning behind them. The three colors gold, purple and green represent power, justice and faith. It's considered a good omen to be thrown a strand and some folks have gone to wild extremes to receive them.

Our next holiday is Valentine's Day which doesn't have much appeal to me because I'm single. (Read above as to why) I do have Miss Maggie (the puppy) but she's not allowed in most restaurants, so it kind of limits our options when dining out.

Like it or not Valentine's Day is pretty much a female holiday, and it's up to the guys to make the day special. But over the years I've noticed that what you give says more about you than it does about your love. For instance, if you give her a silly card and flowers it says that you forgot it was Valentine's Day and bought your gifts at a convenience store. To which I say, maybe you should have gotten her some scratch-offs because if she can't be lucky in love then maybe she'll be lucky in life.

If your idea of romance is jewelry then just know that if you've been dating for more than three years and it's not an engagement ring, hold on to that receipt. You'll need it when returning to the jeweler. A spa day seems to be the perfect gift, which ironically shows that the best way to pamper someone is to not be around them at all.

Whatever you do don't give out "love coupons." That just says you're cheap. You might as well have thrown her some plastic beads —  which, now that I think of it, isn't a bad idea. Two holidays in one! Enjoy!

Auburn native Bradley Molloy's column appears here each Sunday. He can be reached at