Sometimes, despite the best of efforts, our predictions end up out in the New Hampshire puckerbrush.
Early in 1858 the Pittsfield Sun newspaper announced that “statistics show conclusively that Valentines are going out of date. At the New York Post-Office, 14 years ago, the number of these missives received was about 20,000. A constant decline in their circulation has been noted since, until this year when it has scarcely exceeded 5000.”
Then later in 1875, New Hampshire “Farmer’s Cabinet” newspaper announced that “the custom of sending the ‘soft impeachments’ which was so popular a few years ago, is fast falling into disuse.” For those of you who were not born during the Victorian era, the term “soft impeachments” was used, in this case, to mean cards as they related to courtship, wooing, and serenading.
At last count (and the United States Census Bureau is a pretty good counter) 180 million Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged annually, making Valentine’s Day the second-most popular greeting-card-giving occasion. This total excludes packaged kids valentines for classroom exchanges.
How could a prediction be so wrong? To find out, take this “How Many Valentine’s Were Exchanged? Math Quiz. Let me know how you did.