People who know me well know well enough not to read this so I'll put something out there for those of you who may not have to deal with me with any frequency and are craving for an insight into what makes me teak.
Usually, I get good and angry on the weekends because that's the only time that I read the newspaper. And the newspaper is full of people doing and saying stupid things, god bless 'em.
Today I got mad because I thought about the newspaper. Not about the newspaper in general, but about the comics. When I was young, the comics were hilarious. Some were dry, some silly and some, too intellectual for me even though I knew they were supposed to be funny (Doonsbury, I'm looking at you). But for the most part, they were funny. As I grew older, either my sense of humor dulled or the comics did, because I found that they became more hit and miss. And they all seemed to collude so that when one, especially on a Sunday, wasn't funny, none was, so as not to make that one feel bad. I mean, it is nice to think that Nancy and Dennis the Menace, or Marmaduke and Garfield and Heathcliff all got along for long enough to plan their being collectively unfunny but I wish that they could have agreed that a little kid in Westchester deserved a smile considering he has been waiting ALL WEEK for godssakes.
Comics now are, for the most part, uninteresting. My daily life provides more than enough yucks and I find myself skipping most of the comics (except for Prince Valiant which has, strangely enough, become FUNNIER than I recall from when I was a boy). One which I can't help but look at (like a train wreck) is "Love is." I think I became interested in love at two particular times: the first was when I fell in love. At the time I never read the newspaper so the couple of times I saw the comic, I thought "that's adorable and, gawrsh, spot on." The second time was when Homer Simpson referred to it as "about two naked eight-year-olds who are married" (A Milhouse Divided). That got me thinking. So I started looking at it more and my anger grew into the healthy adult vitriol that typifies my life.
Here's why I hate it.
Let's look at the facts as elucidated by the sage Homer. They are 8 or so. What do they know from love. The girl loves Barbie dolls and the boy loves playing baseball and putting mud on himself and others. This is not the love to which we aspire (I hope) though if you do, more power to you but please don't invite me to dinner. They are naked. I'm not annoyed that they lack genitalia -- that's their choice and I applaud them for being so forward thinking. But I don't like that sometimes the boy wears a hat. A HAT! (find the joke with the punch line, "nu? Maybe someone should visit?" and share my indignation)
I'd like to present my list of things that I can say are what "Love is." I say these with over 19 years (and counting...constantly counting) in the being married business. They are real and reflect more accurately what being married is all about. Some are romantic and some aren't. But I hope most are the kind that you can't tell if they are romantic or just plain gross. Feel free to draw the cartoon for each of these. Just don't tell me about it.
The pronouns here are interchangeable. If it says "he" feel free to replace with "she" or "it." These are not based on anything or anyone in particular, besides, of course, Prince Valiant.
Love is...accepting her flaws because you know, deep down inside, that she is the only one in the world who accepts yours
Love is...defending him even when you know he is wrong
Love is...knowing when not to comment on the stain on his tie
Love is...sitting together and laughing at the other couples who are so, so doomed as they begin their lives together
Love is...still craving attention
Love is...considering a trip to the basement together to do laundry as a date
Love is...tracing the wrinkles as an expression of affection
Love is...eating all the ice cream but being considerate enough to lie about it, or at least not say anything because you hope that she will forget that there was any ice cream
Love is...not commenting about the smell
Love is...fixing the computer for free
Love is...saying she looks good in that dress and meaning it, no matter what dress she's wearing
Love is...pretending to listen, but pretending really sincerely
Love is...having a night out with the girls, but remembering his name when you get home. And not telling what you said about him and that little problem he has
Love is...the inertia of being in a comfortable rut
Love is...leaving a fifty, instead of a twenty on the dresser
Love is...not talking politics
Love is...finding common enemies
Is there more to love than this? Of course. There are the practical jokes, the ruthless jabs and the comfort of knowing that at least one of you will remember to pick up the children, eventually.