Lustre, Organization, Valor, Empathy
Suggested Audio Jukebox ♫
 Roxy Music “Love Is The Drug”
 Billy Ocean “Love Really Hurts Without You”
 Madonna “Justify My Love”
 Pat Benatar “Love Is A Battlefield”
L-O-V-E. Four little letters with infinite meaning when placed in precisely that order. Love is all we need right? Love lifts us up where we belong. Love will keep us together. I hear you can’t hurry it but also that it don’t cost a thing. Granted, it can be battlefield, and leave us with one helluva hangover if we lose that loving feeling but I’d do anything for love as I reckon it has rather a lot to do with it, this second-hand emotion of ours. Whether it be exchanging glances or the greatest love of all matters not as it sure as shit beats hate and has far less nefarious intentions. Fuck hate in its grubby little asshole, all hate is good for is sticking its oar in where it’s not wanted, and generally causing a ruckus. Love on the other hand is far more tender, approachable, and ultimately rewarding. I know which way my bread is buttered and it’s love or bust for me. The moment this feeling eludes me is the very same one that my lungs expel their final gases. Speaking of which, please excuse me while I cough up some mucus. I’m indifferent to mucus but I don’t hate it. It’s more pity than anything else and I hope it finds a modicum of happiness on the paving slab to my right. Perhaps love is too strong a word to describe my affiliation with mucus but there’s definitely a degree of like going on there. We can build from that I’m guessing?
You’re darn tooting we can. You see, like is essentially an entry-level love. If we like the way it feels to have our dangly bits fondled by a randy groper then, chances are, we may well grow to love it over time. That’s pretty much how it works and I think we should take a moment to celebrate like as I don’t feel it receives anything like the credit it deserves. “I will always like you” may not quite have the same ring to it as its more fashionable counterpart but it’s still more than enough reason for Kevin Costner to try and get his dick wet. The rest is up to him as love don’t come easy and another Waterworld at this point could prove too catastrophic to come back from. I actually rather liked that film by the way, didn’t love it, but I reckon repeat views could throw it the life raft it needs. And if Waterworld can find love then there’s hope for every last one of us the way I see it. Tree-hugging hippies aside, most of us start out at like and see where that takes us. Well it just so happens that I like hugging trees man, even if the sap tends to stain my denims. Thus I choose love as my entry point and, if I also like you, then that’s just a bonus in my book.
You guessed it, I’m something of a short-order chef and can knock up one love casserole in the time it takes to prepare around seventeen like hotpots. While the numbers may not suggest a good square meal for love, sometimes it’s the quality that matters most, and I know a thing or two about seasoning my dish. If I meet someone for the first time and dig their vibe, then I’m more than happy to serve them up a slice while it’s hot. Often this can lead to confusion with the other party as they have no idea how to process such a gesture. How can this man I barely know from Adam tell me he loves me and do so with a straight face to boot? Is he demented? Am I about to get hacked up into iddy-biddy little pieces? He can’t say that with any degree of sincerity when he was a complete stranger merely five minutes ago can he? Check down his pants, is he a eunuch? What do you mean “he may as well be”? Give him a few seconds to slap it around some, I figure we owe him at least that. I will say this however, he genuinely seemed to mean those three little words and I’d be lying if I said that there wasn’t a vague warm fuzzy feeling in my tummy right about now. What do you reckon, shall I take a leap of faith or am I headed for a fall here?
Alas this is where things start to get a little sticky. You see, it’s generally advisable to look before you leap, and I’ve heard all manner of horror stories of folk plummeting to their death after slipping through that catcher’s mitt. Nobody wishes to end up dashed on the rocks below unless they’ve been hanging out with Thelma and Louise too long and been assured of the benefits of death wishes. Well would you like to know how their little escapade panned out? Thelma shattered 205 of her bones on impact and may never slurp milkshake through a crazy straw again, while Louise actually walked away with minor cuts and bruises. But that’s not the point I’m trying to make here. It’s just too risky all things considered and undoubtedly bound to end in tears once our opposing number comes up short. Isn’t that what we humans are best at? Disappointing the shit out of people. Perhaps so but I’ll still take that leap if there’s a 1% chance that my fall will be broken. If that makes me the village idiot then yeehaw I just found me a nickel. Hell I’ll even decline the kind offer of a parachute if it means putting hate’s nose out of joint.
So I leap like the proverbial gay salmon and, more often than not, end up smashed to smithereens in the canyon below. Does that stop me dragging my weary bones to the summit and rolling off a second time? Does it fuck. I believe the term is “sucker for punishment” although I prefer to use “well-meaning fall guy” as there’s nothing more gratifying than being gently lowered back to terra firma and proved right all along. You don’t know unless you try right? Sure it can all go horribly wrong but what’s the point of living in the first place if you have no intention of meeting its brief? Bitterness? For morons and wasters. The only party this benefits is our old friend sorrow and he’s actually a bit of a prick when you get to know him. Just because misery likes company doesn’t make it time to start toasting marshmallows and engaging in pillow fights, especially when he’s stuffed his pillow case full with cement and not the wet variety either. Bid him adieu and head on over to Joysville as it’s far less likely to leave you sporting a head injury. Of course, this will entail a leap on your part but I promise to catch you if you just commit yourself to my safekeeping. That is unless I’m masturbating but holler on your way down and I’ll wrap things up just for you.
So what does love actually taste like anyhoots? Contrary to reports that it smacks of strawberries, I can tell you that it doesn’t in the slightest. At first it tastes sweet, so much so that it may appear sickly, but in a good way you understand. Every kid loves candy and love happens to be the chief ingredient in candy. Well that and sugar, starches, and coloring agents. The moment when our taste buds start to acclimatize is one that nothing whatsoever could ever hope of comparing to. Meanwhile, the realization that we are “in love” is pretty much incomparable. Suddenly every fiber becomes electrified, those larvae in our tummies finally metamorphose into something with a far more pleasurable flight of fancy, and I hear that extreme cases can cause birds to suddenly appear although that is purely speculation at this point. The whole world changes before our very eyes from an uninspiring and borderline insipid collection of rocks and gases to our very own glimmering oyster shell, complete with pearls a plenty. No longer do we drag our heels as skipping is so much more invigorating a pastime and can see us cover so much more ground in the long run. Perhaps chirping like jaybirds interests us; anything to remind the rest of the population that we’ve got something they haven’t.
Anyhoots, I guess I should break that shit down as that was the purpose of this exercise after all. So let’s see what we’re working with here shall we? Lustre, Organization, Valor, Empathy – really, couldn’t you have come up with something a little more evocative? Okay then but I fail to see how these four nouns are going to shed any light on the subject. Nevertheless I shall soldier on in the name of love and make the best of a rather uninspired bunch of buzzwords. What’s up first? Lustre you say. Well okey dokey, lustre it is but don’t come crying to me when I completely lose the plot and start babbling incoherently about the way chrome feels to the touch. That’s all I’m saying on the matter so let’s just get this over with before I downgrade this article to L.I.K.E. dagnabbit.
Noun: reflected light; sheen; gloss; radiance or brilliance of light; great splendor of accomplishment.
Okay, you’ve got me, it is rather shiny and this may indeed be a poo-chomping grin spread between cheeks one and two but I still haven’t the faintest clue how that ties into the overarching framework. What’s that? Reflection you say? And how’s that supposed to help me? Oh I think I get it, we shine that much greater when faced with similar glow, is that what you’re driving at? I guess you could be onto something, after all, no gleaming new Aston Martin straight off the production line wishes to be parked up alongside a grotty Mini Cooper that hasn’t seen a lick of hot wax since Herbie last went bananas. What you’re saying in essence is that some of us are extra glossy and we should all head on over to their place and polish our shoes together. But I didn’t pack my shine box. Listen, I have to be honest, I’m not convinced this has anything to do with the topic at hand and that’s the best you’re going to get I’m afraid. Fucking lustre. Hold on, you didn’t mean lust did you? Perhaps you have a slight speech impediment. Now lust I could bleat on about until the hens roost. No? Well you’re missing out. Can we just get on with the next noun please and hope it’s a little less ill-suited?
Noun: administration: the persons (or committees or departments etc.) who make up a body for the purpose of administering something.
How dreadfully generic. Jesus who comes up with this shit? Unless I’m mistaken, isn’t love supposed to be free of policy and procedures? If I’m looking to engage in a spot of unconditional love, then the last thing I want to be doing is filling out a risk assessment form. Pardon me for speaking out of turn but this does reek suspiciously of bollocks. Okay then, convince me otherwise, explain to me how organization has a solitary bloody thing to do with what we’re supposedly breaking down here. Is that all you’ve got? Coming together? Didn’t we just cover that shit in lustre? Apparently it has something to do with administration but I’m buggered if I see the connection. I guess, at a push, one could argue that all users are responsible for ensuring that it’s administered correctly. So what that boils down to is that, if I love you, then it would probably be wise to love me too as that makes love times two. This in turn can assist in fashioning love times four and so the cycle perpetuates. Nice, as pointless as a blow-up house maid, but nice.
Noun: heroism, the qualities of a hero or heroine; exceptional or heroic courage when facing danger (especially in battle).
Alright, now you’re talking my language. I’ve always wanted to step out in a suit of armor but was always fearful of being labelled a medieval nutbag and shipped off to the stocks for a thorough foot tickling. It would appear that those significant others are holding out for a hero and this is where we come in fellow knaves. If peril pops its head up then we must be prepared to swing those broadswords and impale it on a spike as a stark warning to any other potential hazards that their participation will not be tolerated. Sounds more than a dash exciting, count me in, and remind me one more time the correct way to mount a stallion. So I’ve been doing it all wrong then? Well the pony didn’t seem to mind. What’s that? She was just being polite. For fuck’s sake, the battlefield is no place for diplomacy. How do you think that incoming danger scud will feel about politely being asked to veer off thirty degrees to the left and go obliterate some other rose garden? You can stick your nicey-nicey approach right in your dreadfully pleasant sphincter, I’m fucking shit up and looking like Billy Big Balls. That should bag me some love or, at the very least, lurve.
Noun: The ability to understand and share the feelings of another.
Credit where it’s due, you really pulled this around at the back-end and I totally get the importance of forging those connections. Sympathy is so-so I suppose but I’m hardly enthralled about the prospect of someone loving me purely out of pity. Let’s not get this bent out of shape, I’ll still gladly take those condolences, and have no great desire to square up to a gift horse as those bastards have beady black eyes and are already not best pleased about the whole saddle up debacle. But empathy just makes so much more sense to me. I wish to feel understood by those I love, share some common ground, look back fondly on similar instances from our pasts, nod our heads collectively in the present, and look to share fresh wonders in the future. If I suspect that another person truly gets me then I feel much more justified in giving them my love in the first place. Who gives a solitary hoot if only fools rush in so long as there’s another fool bolting in from the opposite direction for the all important hug out. If said imbecile can empathize with my own ridiculousness, then they’re far more likely to meet me in the middle rather than thundering past oblivious and running directly into a sheet of cunningly placed perspex. Tell you what, I’ll do my level best to empathize with you and you do likewise. Odds on we’re in the sack together twenty minutes later banging like barnyard doors in a blizzard.
So there we have it Grueheads – Lustre, Organization, Valor, Empathy – according to your sponsor, these four components combined are sufficient to ensure that love is in the air. You know where I stand on the matter; it’s a crock of shit if you ask me and I’ve never heard anything so utterly harebrained in all my years. I’m not speaking of love, that’s well kosher and available in all colors from most reputable stockists. But I’m still none the wiser about what actually stirs this emotion and perhaps there’s a clue in there somewhere should I dig deep enough. I’ve heard it said that ignorance is bliss and have no intention of throwing a hissy fit because I don’t know how love operates. It’s the great game of chance and I like that about it. Moreover, if I dish out enough to others, then there’s far more chance that any wealth will be redistributed as a result. Thus I’m going to keep on loving you, put my heart out there for all to see and just beg for it to be broken, take that leap of faith and never look back (admittedly because I’ll be travelling at speeds in excess of 100 mph and the G-force alone would snap my neck like stale cracker bread the moment I attempted such), skip like and dash straight for love and, God willing, meet you slap bang in the middle for tea, crumpets, and shattered sternums. Or alternatively we could just hate one another. Whatever gets your heart a flutter.
Richard Charles Stevens
Keeper of The Crimson Quill
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