Monday, February 14, 2011

Love is a Many Splendid Thing


The word gets thrown around with reckless abandon.

"I love cheese pizza!"

"I love my Grammy and Pappy!"

"I love Justin Bieber!"

I love to throw up in my mouth when I hear that last one. The Ancient Greeks had three words to define the varying emotions we try to encapsulate with this one, lackadaisical noun. Or verb. Whatever.

Love, Love? (Paltrow and Wilson, Royal Tenenbaums)
When you type the word into any given online dictionary, you'll get dozens of definitions ranging from infatuation to tennis. mix these definitions up, splash them into the majority of pop culture, and it's no wonder that the majority of the world is thoroughly verklempt over the concept of love.

As I sit here in this shopping mall food court, you may think that I am going to definitively determine a universal term for love.

I am not.

Top 10 Things I love

This is a list of things that I love. Some are what you might call familial or brotherly love, some are passionate or creative love, and yes, one is romantic love. So here's to love:

Coffee - As potentially unhealthy as it may be, I love drinking thick, black, dregs of coffee. I like my coffee like I like my guard gorillas --  black and strong. I've adopted a couple of different stigmas for drinking coffee. The first comes from working with farmers, where adding a deluge of milk and sugar to coffee is weak and often not available. Drink it quick, drink it black, and get back to work.

The other comes from working in the boutique coffee industry. Coffee snobs love to look down their pointy proboscis', through their jet black sludge, and dash diminutive daggers at anyone affecting the purest form of caffeinated bliss. Don't sugar your coffee. So in order to get through both the physical and mental rigors of 4am shifts at Starbucks, I learned to love the raw, unadulterated goodness of black coffee.

This is definitely a passion love, similar to "cheese pizza" love.

Bourbon Whiskey - It may be folly, or at least liver cringing, but I truly love bourbon. This love comes with a healthy dose of knowledge and experience with the caramel colored beverage. Just as some people can nose a glass of wine and pick up notes of pear or chrysanthemum, I truly enjoy identifying the nuanced goodness of a good glass of well-made bourbon whiskey. Best imbibed neat, or with a single cube to give it a slight chill, I love good bourbon because of the implicit emotion attached of sharing the beverage with good friends. That is the emotional root of my piety towards Kentucky-made Whiskey.

Again, another "cheese pizza" love. But so much better than cheese pizza.

Grandpa Leroy and I, discussing family history...I think.
My heritage - I know that everyone hopes that they've got some piece of important history hiding in the branches of their family tree -- The inventor of the mousetrap, survivors of the Russian Gulag, or the man who coined the phrase "Psych!". But in the end, most of us come from ordinary people.

And that's what I love. Mundane stories of the hard-working, rough-edged, common folks that contributed to my deoxyribonucleic acid make me proud of where I came from. Whether it be the stories from fifty years ago or the taller tales of Austrian nobility, I am fascinated by the culture from which I am created.

This love is born out of filial piety. Mark it in the "Grammy and Pappy" category.

Music - I really tried to come up with a way to narrow this one down. Good music? Too subjective. Music that has deeper meaning than pop-trash that graces the airwaves of most top 40 stations? Two dismissive. I will admit that many of the older artists I love are complete sellouts. I love to groove to Prince, even though I'm fairly certain that much of his music has no deeper meaning, only sexual allusions and Crayola colors.

Sometimes you cannot turn away some music, based solely on its genre, instrumentation, or artist. Music speaks to you in different way at different times, and can have amazing affect on people. Watching my wife learn about the scientific and prescriptive uses of music in therapy astounds me again and again as I see an even greater application for the art form that touches my soul like no other.

Music. Score one more for the "Cheese Pizza" love.

Richard Harrod and I, enjoying the outdoors at Ol' MC
Outside - The early vestiges of each season catch me by surprise like the sight of an old friend after years of distance. Each seasonal change has an invigorating scent that permeates every pore of my body. If you were to ask me to name my favorite season, I would name each for its own unique reason.

Ever since I was a child, I've loved being in nature. On my grandfathers farm, at Boy Scout Camp, and even at college -- I've felt the most at home out of doors.

This is another one of those great appreciation loves...a big, all natural, "Cheese Pizza" love.

Brian - Brian Wilcoxon is my best friend. As potentially emasculating as it may sound, I love Brian. The one man who truly thinks on the same level as me -- on every level. Brian and I are in-sync on many things -- our love of learning, creative passions, and boy bands.

I've had friends come and go, fade and resurface. I do not begrudge any of them for our current status. But Brian's a friendship I truly cherish. (This does not mean I don't love my other friends. Brian simply hits the top of the chart.)

My love for Brian falls in the "Grammy and Pappy" category. Brotherly love is next to familial love in my book.

Knowledge - "Knowledge is power". "Knowing is half the battle". "The more you know." Damn, I love knowledge. Learning is one of the most enjoyable things I have ever done. As nerd-tastic as that sounds, It's true. I don't care what the subject, I just am smitten with acquiring more knowledge. Book-smarts or street-smarts, it matters not. I am a consumer for the information of the world. Because with the correct knowledge, I believe that you can achieve almost anything. I know that sounds sappy, but it's true.

Another "cheese pizza" love. Or more aptly put, an "everything pizza" kind of love.

My parents - I will admit that they drive me crazy sometimes. I don't always understand them either. But my mother and father are pretty awesome, if you think about it.

This category falls into a similar vein as "My heritage", but is closer to home. I am continually seeing traits in myself, both positive and negative, and finding similar attributes in my parents. The whole concept is fascinating to me. In some ways I am completely like my parents, in others, it's a complete 180. Regardless of the specifics, I truly appreciate everything my mother and father have done to make me the man I am today.

Although they may resent the title, they fall into the category of "Grammy and Pappy" love.

Eleanor - This little dog is friggin' adorable! She has more character than any other pet I've ever owned. She is the biggest sass ever packed into an over-sized wiener dog, yet I feel a deep affection for my dog. More than I remember feeling for any of my previous dogs, cats, or turtles.

When she army-crawls across the floor to see me, howls a hound-dog greeting as I come in the front door, or discusses the conflicts in the middle-east in her low-warbled growl, I melt. Against all gumption, I love this dog.

Definitely a familial, "Grammy and Pappy" love for my pooch.

The love of my life
Annie - What can I say about this woman? It is nye impossible to come up with words that get even close to the emotions that well up in my soul when I think of her. My best friend, my biggest fan, and my truest critic, all in one beautiful, amazing, scintillating body. She is everything I need, and everything I want. She tells me when I am being ridiculous, and begs me to be more insane.

My wife is perfect. Objectively perfect.

Because of that, she is definitely a "Justin Bieber" kind of love. The only difference is that she wont fade away in a few years.


  1. I like the bourbon nod and enjoy and agree with the "Brian Love."

  2. i was really convinced the picture of you and your grandpa was going to fall under the "bourbon" category...

    i guess the photo was taken at your wedding, judging by your vest. but still, you look very... happy :-) hahaha.

    and how else should i respond to your lovely tribute but to say "thank you" and that i love you too.

  3. Actually, the picture was at my cousin Billy's wedding a couple weeks ago.

    And yes, it could have easily fit under the bourbon category, although Black Velvet Canadian Whiskey was the culprit that night...