My Valentine's Day plans generally sound OK in theory or on paper. However, I am not very good at figuring out the difference between, a, what will be romantic, and b, what will get me hospitalized or arrested.

I have always tried to get a jump on things early in my Valentine's Day preparation because if I don't plan ahead, people get hurt. It seems the better prepared I am, the fewer the bodily injuries.

Last year I got such a late start that Valentine’s Day would have been a complete disaster but for a last-minute cancellation with the skywriter. The problem ended up being that I was a little cash poor and couldn’t afford any vowels.

The only other viable option I could come up with was to hope that the Green Bay cheerleaders, The Cheesettes, got my message in time and spelled out my wife’s name with giant crackers during halftime of last year's Super Bowl game.

No crackers. Game over.

So, I had but days to pull off the ultimate in romantic demonstrations. Truth be told, I am not very good at figuring out the difference between, a, what will be romantic, and b, what will get me hospitalized or arrested.

Regardless of any sudden noticeable and obvious development in wisdom or maturity, I am probably never going to be allowed back into LaVell Edwards Stadium. Suffice it to say that anything with a bungee is out, and no, I would rather not talk about it.

When I was young, all I had to do was trace my profile onto a paper heart-shaped doily. Then I would wax quixotic and instruct my teacher to write something charming and repetitive on the back like “You are Supper, Supper!” — taken from the back of an actual silhouette doily circa 1975 that my mother saved. I'm not sure what I was going for but it was clear to everyone even at that young and tender age that I needed a spell check.

I can’t get away with adorable and daft like I did in grade school anymore.

Generally, when it comes to grand gestures of romance I have passions equivalent of oil-based paint— my efforts smell funny until enough time has passed.

Case in point: When I first started seeing someone romantically in college, I bought a gallon of fabric dye to color the water at a fountain at Brigham Young University a rosy red to show undying devotion to my girlfriend who I had been dating for five days.

On paper it was dramatic, daring and quirky. Practically, however, what looked like Hawaiian punch spurting out of an aquatic clam shell may have been a little too Old Testament even for BYU. Hindsight being 20/20, I probably should have stuck with a balloon-o-gram instead of what looked like a failed plague on Egypt.

Next case: I heard in a Disney movie one of the characters being referred to as a diamond in the rough. Such a sweet and childlike thought! What could possibly express my love more than to acknowledge my partner's untapped, undiscovered potential? I was determined to demonstrate to her that I, if no one else, knew her real value. And yes, I did this by presenting her with a hunk of coal.

Ever heard of creating helpful coupons for the object of one’s affection to cash in later? I thought it was a great idea, too. So I made cards with bright construction paper for a touch of homemade whimsy. I combined it with a promotion from a local business for a gift of self improvement that couldn’t go wrong — colorful vouchers for a terrific deal on laser hair removal. At least I wrapped it.

My greatest debacle was what my wife refers to as "the time of deep shadow." That was the year I painted the front of our house a lovely if unexpected shade called “begonia.”

My thought process was that I would shock my wife for a day by fooling her into thinking I was serious and then paint it over the next day. However, the weather turned cold and colder into an arctic nightmare, my work sent me to Albuquerque, N.M. and the front of our house stayed flaming pink for two-and-a-half months.

My mother-in-law suggested we go with the flow and hang a velvet painting of Elvis on the garage door and put a couch on the lawn. Suddenly everyone’s a decorator.

This year, Valentine's Day is here and I am fresh out of ideas. How will my wife know I love her without a hazardous and Herculean stunt? I thought to make a scale replica of Devils Tower with my mother’s fudge recipe and Spackle. I could then attach blinking Christmas lights like an incoming alien space ship, we could all hum the theme song from "Close Encounters of the Third Kind," and I could say something like "Our love is out of this world."

My wife says to forget outer space. She says that if I really love her, I will show her how much I care by staying out of the hospital and by being sweet to her — quietly.

I guess I could try a rose and a poem. It would give me another year to heal.

Davison Cheney writes, often humorously, at