There are two kinds of people in the world. Or a hundred thousand million, math escapes me. But for the sake of argument, let’s say two: Those who play maudlin and heavily orchestrated songs after a bad break-up, and those who – well, come on, there are no others.
Enter Phil Collins. This American Life, my favorite radio show, devoted the hour to break-ups, and this would have probably flown beneath my radar, except someone mentioned a Phil Collins song. Not THE Phil Collins Song.
It’s the mid 1990’s. I'm getting divorced. And I think I weigh about 10 pounds. Because when I’m extremely unhappy, I’ll indulge in every vice except gluttony. A sad me is bad enough; I think a sad and fat me would be more than the universe could bear.
But I'm at work, and feel hungry for the first time in days. So I visit a bank of vending machines. In this room, usually the TV plays soaps to an empty house. This time it's tuned to MTV. Almost on cue, as soon as I punch in the Snicker’s code, this starts to play.
And I think about when I was a kid, with long free arms, out of control and twirling, constantly sweeping fragile objects off the shelf. Breaking things, and wishing to turn back the clock.
I sometimes wonder whether it gives me comfort or pain to know I haven't been heartless, only careless.
That was the second and last time I would ever miss, regret, someone so badly again. The skirt slipped one more inch down my hips. There would be no Snickers today. It was the punt out of Eden and the beginning of a philosophical outlook. Learning to touch living things gently.
Because, while some of us may find true love, all of us at one time or another will surely lose it.