July 21, 2010

I don’t say this often enough

I love you. You really mean the world to me. I’m ashamed that I sometimes get caught up in the maelstrom of everyday living and neglect to tell you how important you are to me. When that happens, days, weeks or even months go by when I fail to say how beautiful and lovely I think you are. But your splendor and charm and saucy passion are always in my heart.

In the shining face of your beauty it’s absurd to think I could allow myself to become distracted for even a moment by news about war or politics or environmental disasters or all that Zoloft in the Ohio River or my desperate passion for Team Jacob. Or that I would let meetings or errands or sports or work or the prospect of body surfing through the cougar pit at HullabaLOU sidetrack me from saying how much I cherish the joy you bring to my life.

Sometimes I wonder how you put up with me. Here I am, caught up in trivial affairs, worrying about what Lindsay Lohan’s nail polish is going to spell or wondering when Mel Gibson will finally go completely batshit crazy and make an IMAX movie about the redemptive power of the Ku Klux Klan. Or I’ll get all obsessed about Possibility City, wondering if there are better nicknames that might convey that sentiment, like “In All Likelihood City” or “Eh, It Could Be Worse City” or “Hey, Don’t Look At Me Like That; It Could Happen City.”

And through it all, you are there, quietly supporting me, nurturing me and never judging. That’s one of the things I admire most about you. You don’t judge. How on earth do you do that? How can you stand by stoically when one out of three American children are dangerously overweight, while at the same time our society has a popular television show called “Man v. Food,” in which a fat-faced host tries to see how many cheeseburgers he can cram into his winghole? And — even more amazing — how can you quietly listen to my rants about it during dinner when I’m reaching for a second helping?

I hope I can do better in the future. I hope I can learn from you and also remember to tell you how much you mean to me. I do believe I can become the change I want to see in the world like Ghandi, who famously said, “Quit frontin’, holmes.” And yet sincerity, as Tolstoy said, is “not something you ‘Like’ very often on Facebook.” But then I remember you, and I persevere.

And examples of positive change are all around us. Consider Louisville’s concert scene. For decades we hung our heads while monster truck rallies and washed-up country singers came here and the best concerts went to Impossibility Cities like Indianapolis and Columbus. But now with Forecastle, HullabaLOU, Waterfront Wednesdays and the new Chicken Bucket, we’ve suddenly got concerts coming out our Yim Yames! So if Possibility City can do it, I can do it.

A confession: The other day, I was standing in the kitchen, and I spied you outside in the garden. I couldn’t take my eyes off of you. It was early evening, and dappled sunlight fell across your visage, casting a glow not unlike the way the world looked back before CMYK color was invented and everything was sepia. You were perfectly still, but your curves seemed to move slightly, like a Japanese flipbook or a tasteful pornographic magazine viewed on a Kindle while flying through mild turbulence.

I stood frozen there in the kitchen, unable to look away, mesmerized partly by your awe-inspiring loveliness and partly by my incredible luck to have you in my life but also because I was doing the dishes at the time and they weren’t done yet. I was drunk with the anticipation of how you were going to feel in my hands, your earthy scent, and your zesty taste once I picked you, sliced you into thick slabs and added you, along with a schmear of mayonnaise and a pinch of salt atop two slices of soft, fluffy French bread.

To some you are just homegrown tomatoes, but to me you are one of life’s greatest sensual pleasures. And I don’t say that often enough.

Jim Welp is the author of “Summary of My Discontent – Constructive Criticism for Discerning Americans,” now available at Carmichael’s Bookstore or Amazon.com.