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.
6 hours ago