“We use the word, love, too much,” the obnoxious man seated next to me is saying. “The word’s almost meaningless today. Nobody uses it right.”
Nice. Four hours on an airplane, and here I am, seated next to a philosopher who smells like Wild Turkey.
“Are you an English teacher, or something?” I’m asking.
“No,” he points out, with slurred speech. “I’m juss a concerned citizen.” He laughs, hiccups. “AND a literature professor.”
The man goes on, “In America, we say we LOVE tacos, or we LOVE donuts… It’s just too strong.”
Well, it bears mentioning: if loving donuts is wrong, I’m fully prepared to be incorrect.
Anyway, I disagree with the esteemed professor. Not only because when he walks to the bathroom, he staggers like a sedated rhinoceros. It’s because I like saying, “love.”
It’s my favorite word.
For example: I LOVE handmade biscuits. And I LOVE a good night’s sleep. I love music that doesn’t involve teenagers in tight pants, and dogs who beg using only their eyes. I LOVE antiques, Corningware, old wood, and ceiling-fans.
Or, how about the way the morning sun peeks over the trees? Before the rest of the world is awake? I love that.
Also: number-one pencils, turtles in my front yard, and cute babies. Actually, I’m lying.
I love all babies.
God. I love my wife’s banana pudding. I wish I had some right now. There is simply no other word that befits the way I feel about that stuff.
Dammit, professor. I know you’re smarter than I am, but if you ask me, I don’t think we say the word enough.
I think children should hear it more. Telling someone you love them has a way of making you feel exposed. I wish more folks were brave enough to feel that.
I once knew a man who claimed he never heard the word, love, in his childhood. Later, that man swore to his own son that he’d use this word often. He did. In fact, he overused it.
I miss that man sometimes. Because as it happens, I loved him.
So, maybe it’s not exactly the word of the year, at least not according to literature professors. But, I like—no, I LOVE, love. With all my cotton-picking heart, I do.
And, I don’t care who you are.
I love you, too.