In 1984 my wife rode next to me, albeit illegal, on a bench seat in the ambulance on a Memphis trip late one night to transport a patient. She rode there tight up against me. Yes, I kept both hands on the wheel. On the way back, though, without a patient and my partner asleep on the cot in the back, I propped my right arm around her like we did back then.
Replacing our bench seats with bucket seats removed a closeness we can’t replace. If a couple ever had an argument over what to order at the Sonic, she was up against us and we could work it out.
Then just a couple of decades later and the ‘i’ things started. We had already started on the way to separate lives with bucket seats and then all of a sudden everyone has things that start with the lonely and self-absorbed letter ‘i’.
Yesterday as I was surfing XM channels I rarely listen to, I found a station that was only ‘love songs’. As I listened to them, I couldn’t help but notice none of the songs played were new. I listened to it for some time just to make sure. Nope. Not one was a current song.
In 1983 Bryan Adams told us ‘Baby, you’re all that I want when you’re lyin’ here in my arms. I’m findin’ it hard to believe we’re in heaven’.
1978 Debbie Boone affirmed love with ‘You light up my life’.
‘Stand by your man. Give him two arms to cling to. And something warm to come to
When nights are cold and lonely’ was how Ms. Wynette advised her sisters to handle their men in 1968.
These lyrics are a very sharp contrast to Carrie Underwoods way of handling her man. She reflects that ‘he don’t know I dug my key into the side of his pretty little souped-up four-wheel drive. Carved my name into his leather seats’.
After asking my wife about my search for a current love song she said she did know of a few love songs. But they were all by men singing love songs to women. She couldn’t think of any love songs sung by women to men like Debbie Boone or Olivia once topped the charts with. After much browsing, I did find one that I really like and actually own; Never Love Again, by Lady Gaga in A Star Is Born. (which is an excellent movie, btw).
Also, where we once held hands and walked together, now we hold leashes. Golden Retrievers, labs and Yorkies have stepped in and filled today’s gaps for love. Where once those furry fill-ins were reserved for older people who had lost their spouses, many people now have them instead of a spouse or children.
Why dogs? Because dogs are emotionally safe. People need to love. But for some people, it’s easier to love a pet than it is to love a person. It appears that love has become optional.
Let’s face it, it’s much easier to love, trust and crate a Bassett puppy than it is to love a human that comes home from work grumpy after a bad day. Dogs worship people. And today’s people desire that worship without the strings of a human relationship. They want that cuddly love without the possibility of being with someone who isn’t perfect. Imperfection requires patience. And in a progressive generation geared towards ‘i’ now, well, there just simply isn’t any time for dealing with those human imperfections.
The difference is that dogs love everything and everyone all the time. While that’s reliable, it isn’t special. That’s what separates human love from being loved by Becky the Malamute. To Becky, your special. But Becky the dog also thinks the UPS man is special. Love by Becky is not a unique love.
However, being loved by a woman named Becky is a unique love. A human love is a binding love through thick and thin. It’s not always easy like a dog.
That said, if your human Becky loves the UPS man like she loves you then Becky is trying to get herself some free shipping on the side and you all need to have a sit-down.
People aren’t perfect. We make mistakes. Love requires trusting enough to love through those mistakes and imperfections. Sadly, the benefits of that hassle do not outweigh the risks of that hassle for many people today.
Love requires staying together through The Great Banana Pudding War of 1987 part 1.
Plus we humans don’t hunch the preacher’s leg if he comes over. Not normally.
So in the end, it’s not surprising that so much anger has crept into our lives. We’ve allowed the love to leave and invited the anger to come in. It comes in through our speakers and our screens. ABC loves to spew hatred wrapped up in a thing called ‘news’ and then call it ‘being informed’. We see so many more shootings and hatred for each other’s skin color or religion. And we are now more aware than ever of how many bad men have existed because good men just don’t make the news. Good men are boring.
What we need right now is a slow and sweaty couple dance. Men and women smushed up against each other slowly moving with their hands together in a smokey bar that smells like Marlboros, stale beer and Aquanet. Trusting each other as they sway, eyes closed and are totally unaware of anyone else in the room.
And we also need Merle Haggard to remind us through the tinny speakers overhead
‘You say, “honey, don’t worry”
Don’t you know I love you too?
And that’s the way love goes’.
That’s the best that I can tell about it,