Dog, a man’s best friend or friendship’s finest four legged farce? For years these drool addled, mindless puppets of the pet world have been heralded as our greatest allies. People associate dogs with gods, cleverly rearranging the word dog to accommodate our need to humanize or amplify the creatures status to something more than fur encrusted indentured servants.
“My dog loves me,” they proclaim, pointing to an empty eyed animal diligently slobbering over their genitals.
Love, an apparently one sided relationship involving unflinching devotion and acceptance of any action the other party presents, no matter how unfavorable. This is the picture provided by man’s best friend. How many close friends do you know who fit this description? Real friends are unpredictable. Real friends love you one day and hate you the next, because real friends have real feelings. This is why I love cats.
Cats, like friends are unpredictable. One minute a cat could be purring at your feet and the next they could be decorating your face with their claws. With cats and friends you never know what to expect. Our cats like to sleep on the bed with us and my cat in particular likes to sleep directly on my face. Nestled atop my primary source of precious oxygen, I can never be sure whether he is priming me for a slow and untimely death as he feverishly licks my face in the interests of taste or out of pure love and devotion. Folks, this is friendship. At any given moment real friendship finds you one ill placed sentence away from either killing or caring. Real friendship is also stupid.
When you see my cat, you see this….
Photoshop him onto a couch and slide a beer and remote into either of his paws and you have the makings of one of the most depressing photographs within the animal kingdom. He’s two meals shy of morbid obesity, he smells weird, and on more than one occasion I have had to pull things out from his anus (don’t ask, because I won’t tell!). To most people he should be placed out of his misery, but when I look at him, I see…
Clearly, he is playing a difficult piece by Russian composer Rachmaninoff and at any moment he will regale you with the latest philosophical interpretations of Schopenhauer as he segues his way into the field of quantum physics as it pertains to felines through further interpretations of Schrodinger’s cat, a theory that would suggest cats could simultaneously be alive and dead, but he would add, drawing from the field of philosophy, are any of us really truly alive? I know, deep!
This is love. Love is an unmitigated and unrelenting force of complete and utter stupidity. We have all fooled ourselves into thinking we have discovered it. I know I had. I can’t tell you how many times I have languished at home on the couch wallowing in self pity and sorrow, because of some woman I now have no recollection of.
I couldn’t tell you all of their names, but I can tell you I finally found this sort of love several years ago and have come to understand love on a whole new level. Love is not something you can clearly define with flowers, feelings, or physicality. No matter how much science attempts to define love as the complex exchange of chemical signals within our body or how much society attempts to define it, love is not quantifiable because…
True love is found in failure
True love is understanding you will inevitably disappoint someone coupled with the understanding you can never be disappointed with their ability to forgive you. Let’s face it, I suck. I suck a lot. For every time I complete an assigned or allotted task, there are at least fifteen others I have forgotten or failed at. Still, every time my wife comes home and finds me on the couch or at the computer while a pile of wet clothes have been lingering in the washing machine gathering mold since morning, I know that by the evening she will have forgiven me. This is love and it is stupid. Thankfully, the stupidity is reciprocal.
True love is found in our faults
A pivotal moment in our relationship I am still attempting to recover from involved my first hot boxing. For those of you not familiar with hot boxing, it is a form of couples torture involving the accumulation, build up, and eventual release of gas from the gastrointestinal tract where it is further concentrated and refined within a narrow and well controlled environment (your bed sheets). Here, the effects of a night eating bad Chinese or greasy Mexican food are amplified until an acceptable level of potency is achieved. Once achieved, a reflex response involving the obicularis oris and other muscles associated with what is commonly referred to as a smile signal the entrapment or release of gas onto the unsuspecting partner. This is immediately followed by both laughter and anger. We married four months later.
True love is found in the forgiveness of someone who recounts embarrassing stories about you in their blog
Dear wife, please remember this when you read the above paragraph about hot boxing.
True love is the irony and understanding that our deepest sources of joy will ultimately become our deepest sources of sorrow
The last three years have shown me the deepest sources of loss and love a person can experience and I could not have survived one without the other. For those of you who don’t know, my parents passed these last two years and without the support and love of my wife I could not have pulled through the way that I did. This is the power of love.
A force so awe inspiring, it can simultaneously throw us onto our knees in extreme anguish one moment and total devotion the next. It is a force forever lingering in your mind and it can resurface to slap you in the face when you least expect it. My mother was always the first person to call when I needed a caring ear, a comforting word, and a kind heart. Like most mothers, she carried all of these in seemingly limitless quantities. Through all my previous losses, she was never short on words of reassurance and comfort.
“Don’t worry,” she would say, “God has a plan and when you find the right person, you will know, and it will come when you least expect it.”
Boy was she right. Now, three years after her death, I am seated here at this computer writing this to you, in the home I purchased with the love of my life who is expecting our first child and I can’t stop being amazed by everything as I wonder… for the sake of my child… can I be that ear, can I be that word, and can I be that heart. I don’t know, but I’m excited to find out.