Tuesday, December 11, 2007

My vanishing vocabulary.

Since today was yet another day when I managed to get sweet FA* accomplished, I had lots of time to think. And one of the things I thought about was words that have been dropping away from my written and spoken vocabulary.

PARENTHETICAL JUST=SHOOT-ME-NOW-THOUGHT: I'm sure there are dozens, if not hundreds of words I no longer use. Some are "technical" terms used in my previous career, others are names of people I no longer have reason to think about. And a whole boatload of 'em probably disappeared into thin air out of plain ol' senility. But I wouldn't know about those, would I?

But the loss of one word bothers me most.

I rarely, if ever, use the word love these days, and never in the strictest definitions. Oh yes, I occasionally say "I love that!" when someone shows me something I like, and did join in a sentimental chorus of "I love you, man" (accompanied by various Revolutionary Brothers, Homeboy and other strange signs and handclasps) with some equally inebriated neighbors a few nights ago. "Patron" tequila served in quantity makes you that way....

But in the vital, important-as-breathing part of the word, I have been silent for far too long. And in the last few instances, the definition of the word was so strictly delineated that other affectionate but non-threatening words might have been substituted.

The reason, of course, is that the only time that word has been aimed at me for a very long time was the aforementioned "Patron" incident.

Part of my old-fashioned upbringing (and why should it have been different? I am old-fashioned) taught me a certain reverence for certain special words. I can honestly say, for example, that there is no one I know of whom I hate. Hate is so strong a term that I would have to make it my goal to inflict serious injuries on anyone who merited the word. Dislike, yes; despise, okay. But no hate. Except for a few situations, certain inanimate objects and boiled okra.

I have loved a few people, and still do. Some actually returned the love, and only one p*ss*d all over it.

But, once said in the most personal way, it is to me a solemn promise. I have done my best over the years to not misuse it; professing to love someone in order to get personal gain is abhorrent to me.

What that means is that I have basically been taught not to love by a couple of very unfortunate results. I'm afraid of it, now. And that's because I still love two people who claimed to have the same feelings but, for different reasons, could rip it away with as much ease as they offered it.

Me, I can't do that. Both have unclaimed deposits in my spiritual bank. As if they give a damn. Maybe it's better they don't know; one might feel compelled to take advantage if her later affairs fell apart.

This doesn't mean I no longer feel capable of loving. I know a few potential candidates, but also know none are likely to be interested. Which is, of course, their right, and I respect that.

But I know of no greater risk to health than not loving. And not being loved. Vital systems dry up and eventually stop functioning.

When strange ol' Eden Ahbez -- in his weird masterpiece, Nature Boy -- put it:

The greatest thing
you'll ever learn
Is just to love
And be loved in return

He wasn't kidding, Jim.

* Don't know the term? Ask a Brit, or maybe someone from Oz or NZ.


Anonymous said...

Oh Scribbs. I hope you can take that chance again. You just never know if you don't put yourself out there. I took a chance, and it has worked out for me. You don't know until you try.


DAL said...

I've been using the expression SFA for years now.

I have no advice in matters of love. Those waters have been a bit rough for me lately.

John said...

The sentiment regarding hate is a healthy thing.

A wise man (I considered him wise---the best stone cutter/plasterer I ever knew) once told me that if I really loved a woman and she found happiness elsewhere, then I should be happy she was happy and leave it at that. He was a badass, too. No touchy feely sort of guy. Of course he did not believe that love had to be singular, necessarily. He seemed to do well with getting it in return. And he was then near the age I am now. There's hope.
Not confusing loving a person with being in love with love may be worth the trouble.
I got a good feeling about it. It's going to be OK.

sugarcane said...

You're a lovable guy Scrib. You'll find the love of a woman who deserves the love you can give. It will happen, but you have to be open to it.