Monday, October 29, 2007

Anatomy of Love part 2

The point is, I used to think of love as some sort of Platonic form. If only I wiggled right and squeezed real tight, I might fit in and get it. But it never worked. I don't believe in Platonic forms anymore.

Because what I've noticed about love is that it's very much like "cancer." Cancer is a word that everybody thinks of as one thing, but it's really a lot of different things. Cancer can be in the bones or blood. It can be in fat cells, or muscle cells. It can be in your bladder or your boobs. And the kinds; it boggles the mind. Fucked up cells that look like amoebas. Fucked up cells that look like silly string. There can even be fucked up cells that look like footballs or beef jerky. But they're all still cancer. Just like "love," is always love.

In the end what I think it means is that whatever you latch onto as a baby, that's what you love. If it's your parents; and your parents are Ozzie and Harriet, then that's great. Unless of course, the Harriet you see on screen is guzzling gin between takes and putting cigarettes out on your forehead. Then you're stuck somewhere between real reality and fake reality, and bound to be really lost and miserable. Like someone who went to Limbo after the Catholic church cancelled it. It never changes. It never ends. It never goes anywhere.

I knew a guy; he's dead now. But his mom had 9 children. This was during the Great Depression and she breast fed him until he was five. As far as I can tell, that's all she ever did with him. Instead of her, he imprinted on the draft mules on the farm. When the farm went mechanized and they sent the mules off to the slaughter, he went stark raving mad. He spent all of his life that way. Trying to pretend that he wasn't.

Which is why I think love is so random and hazardous, and why you really can't help who you love. I think we see someone from across a crowded room who's exactly that perfect combination of our mothers, our fathers, the cuddly toy Aunt Ruth gave us when we were three, the samari sword drunken Uncle Daniel gave us when we were 4, only our parents took it away because what the fuck is the matter with him anyway, giving a 4 year old a sword? Those people, those ones across the room, they're the exact right concoction of the mutt dog we could never have, the postman who gave us a kind smile and a candy, the babysitter with the saggy arms and mustache, and the turtle that got run over in the street. We see those people and we're hooked. Hopelessly and forever. Until the gods pull us up short and we finally understand they were only kidding.

I only wish my friend, before he left this world, had been invited to one single party, consisting entirely of of mules. If I could have him back for only one day, I would throw that party. The cake would be made of alfalfa and carrots; and everything there was to drink, would come from a trough.

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