OPINION: If you have love, you’ve got everything

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Love is the mainspring that keeps our clocks ticking. When you’re young it runs too fast and then in a heartbeat you’re my age and happy it’s running at all.

I don’t claim to know what it’s like to be a teenager in 2018 but I do have a few fading memories of being in high school when Betty Hoffenmeister wouldn’t even talk to me. It felt like she threw my heart into a blender and left the room. If you’re young, let me assure you that a broken heart at my age still hurts but a whole lot less and you’re just happy you didn’t end up in small claims court.

Bishop Michael Curry spoke extensively on the power of love at Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding. Love is the magical potion that turns everyone into better human beings. My best friend is a volunteer at the Los Angeles zoo and extremely compassionate toward all God’s creatures. I’ve learned from her that animal lovers represent the best of us because their love is unconditional; the best love of all.

Most of us remember the first time we fell in love. Or we’re still trying to forget. If your life is one huge miracle you ended up marrying your first love. How often does that happen? I’m on my third marriage and would never make the leap again.

In divorce court my first two wives asked only for their maiden names back. What does that tell you about me? Marriage is a lot like darts. Sometimes it takes two or three throws before your arm warms up. Some people have love dropped in their laps while for the rest of us, searching for love is like trying to find a termite mound in Manhattan.

Seven years ago I the typed the name of a Canadian waitress I once dated in the search box of Facebook. She wasn’t there but a British woman with the same first, middle and last name was. I spent six amazing weeks with Ann Marie in Walton-on-Thames and if I could have obtained a British work visa I would be writing this column from there today. England is a magical country that treats Americans like long-lost cousins. Some of them might be. If you vacation there be sure to dress like a Yank. I recommend a Hawaiian shirt and fedora. Not a bad look for a man, either.

Now that I’m almost as old as any of the living Beatles, I’ve learned that love is a gift and if you’re single and have an opportunity to ask someone out on a date, go for it. The worst thing that can happen is you get your heart broken again just like in high school, but this time you can legally buy alcohol. If you’re married, treat your spouse like a winning lottery ticket. Life is short. Love is forever.

Finally, in case I get hit by someone who is texting while driving or my neighbor tries to push me off my garage roof again, let me just say for the record I’ve been an idiot most of my life. Some amazing women have loved me but did I appreciate them? Not for a second. If there is a Heaven I wouldn’t blame any of those ladies if they were waiting for me at the Pearly Gates swinging huge mallets.

If you’re lucky enough to be in love with someone who actually loves you back, tell them how much they mean to you and do it often. Don’t question why they’re attracted to you. Maybe they’ve got glaucoma? Their reason doesn’t matter. Don’t be like me. Be smart. Appreciate them, treat them with respect, and most importantly, be honest. Honesty is a rare commodity these days. George Orwell said: “In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” Be a revolutionary.

•••

Tom Neuhoff’s revolutionary columns appear from time to time in The Press. He once lived here and perhaps loved here, too.

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