Monday, June 14, 2010

Unchained Melody

Caution: This is a midnight post.

Why, you ask, is today's segment titled "Unchained Melody?" Because Unchained Melody is the king of cliched, cheesy, love-sap garbage. The song, featuring the Righteous Brother's soothing falsetto (are you...still...miiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiine) is a favorite of Simon Cowell and has appeared in a host of cheesey, sappy movies; 1990's Ghost being paramount among them.

John Cusack raises his boombox and Peter Gabriel fills the air. Mike Myers, accompanied by an upright base, lays out his soul in rhyme and Marlon Brando screams out "Stellllla" with torn shirt in the pouring rain.

It's cheesy, predictable, sappy crap. These images are used as a trigger to signal the audience that "love" is being expressed, or some other like-minded emotion. They are overused, they are unoriginal and yet they are what we, as a society, have construed as the generally accepted forms of romantic expression.

I've never done any of them.

I've never stood outside of a window and screamed in the rain. I've never sung/played a song on someone's front lawn. I've never brought a public place to a standstill with my heartfelt expression of desire. I've never run after a departing train. I've never raced to stop someone from getting on a plane.

I could go on, but the real question is, who has? Do these staples of popular culture exist as a reflection of reality or is our understanding of reality merely made up of artificial stimuli? Is it really that common for someone to pull a "Say Anything?" I, personally, have never been the passer-by in the bus/train station or airport where the man arrives, panting, and pleading "don't go, don't go."

Is it all a lie? Or, am I really missing out on all of it? I have no reticence in admitting that I've never been "in love." I'm 23. In my opinion there's no such thing as love until you're at least 20; combine that with my parlayed time in Brazil and you have just 2 years that I've even been intellectually eligible. My math, you can take it or leave it.

Still, not every love story is laced with the pomp and circumstance. You watch Annie Hall and you can relate to the bitter, nay-saying, anti-anti-semite. You watch (500) Days and feel a familiar sting as Tom Hansen gets his head kicked in by love. You watch High Fidelity and find yourself creating your own All-Time-Top-5 of horrible breakups (mine, sadly, do not involve Catherine Zeta-Jones). Even in those gritty, realistic tellings of romance there is still the sense of this thing called "love" and what it drives people to do.

I'm hopeful. Someday I'll feel the need to stand out in the rain and scream till a door opens. Someday I'll see the pieces coming apart and I'll do what it takes to stop it. Someday, I'll arrive in the nick of time to plead "don't go, don't go."

Someday I'll get my head kicked in by love, and I hope its just as painful as it sounds.

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