Valentine’s Day, like Mother’s Day, is a heavily commercialized holiday. But also like Mother’s Day, there is a non-commercial spirit beneath the myriad advertisements and heart-shaped boxes of chocolate. Non-commercial love here, perhaps. I submit a photo containing some back-of-the-fridge wisdom written in graffiti – “Love is Free Not cheap” – to remind readers to attend to the important things this Valentine’s Day.

"Love is Free Not cheap" graffiti seen on the back of a discarded refrigerator in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn.
I took the photo with the Open Camera App on my Teracube 2e phone. I have decided to forego a discussion of the strange capitalization choices.

One might ask where I came up with the phrase “back of the fridge wisdom.” In the case of the above photo, the phrase is to be taken literally, for I photographed the back of a refrigerator left outside in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Clinton Hill on December 19, 2021.

Love is Free Not cheap.

Someone who likes drawing on old refrigerators

I am not sure what wisdom one should expect to find on the back of a refrigerator. But if someone had suggested “Love is Free Not cheap” and asked me if that might constitute back-of-the-fridge wisdom, I would not venture any objections. There seems to be a signature under the graffiti – is it K13? KI3? Because the signature is unclear, I cannot undertake the kind of tagging investigations that I conducted with respect to Blob Dylan and Uncle Susan is a Wolf.

Regarding the graffiti itself – I am unsure how best to interpret it. Read straight, the graffiti is praising the intangible value of love. Read cynically, the graffiti is suggesting that “love” must be bought. Which interpretation best captures the intent of the tagger? Answering that question would require me to render confident pronouncements about the meaning that one who writes things on the back of broken-down refrigerators wants to convey. Accordingly, I will leave it to the readers to make their own judgments about the writer’s intent in scribbling “Love is Free Not cheap” on the back of a fridge.