Citizen of the Month

the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Tag: love

Unconditional Love

Here’s a corny old Jewish joke about the unconditional love of mothers for their daughters (told with a little sarcasm):

Two women who haven’t seen each other in years run into each other on the street.

“How’s your daughter,” the first woman asks, “the one who married that surgeon?”

“They were divorced,” the second woman answers.

“Oh, I’m so sorry.”

“But she then got married to a lawyer.”

“Mazal tov!” the friend exclaimed.

“They were also divorced… But now everything is alright, she’s married to a very successful CPA.”

The first woman shakes her head from side to side.

“Mmmm, so much nachas (joy in Yiddish) from one daughter…”

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My mother is back in Queens after a winter as a snowbird in Florida.    My intention was to live it up in my pseudo-bachelor pad all winter.   Life got in the way.    When I left Queens to come to LA, it was for a short trip.  I expected to return to New York in ten days, not still be in LA three months later.

My mother called five minutes after she walked in the front door.

“I am so mad,” she said.

I had left behind six bundles of dirty laundry and a broken dishwasher.

“Oops,” I replied, suddenly remembering that I promised to take care of things before my mother’s return, and never did , much like the “shower curtain incident” last year.

I wasn’t worried about my mother’s anger.   After all, she’s my mother.    I have been lucky with my parents.   I know a few of you got stuck with shitty parents.   I am pretty confident that my mother is going to continue to love me even if I caused a fire and burnt the entire apartment to the ground.

Unconditional love by a mother.

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Of course, that same love can also ruin you.

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Sophia and I had a fight last week over… yeah, the dishes.    One day I need to write a post on that one issue.   When we argue, I can feel the love disappear.   There is hate in her eyes.   The next day, when tensions subside, the love returns, as if a dark cloud has lifted.   This disturbs me.   It makes me feel very insecure.   I know, I know, your girlfriend or wife isn’t your mother.   Only your mother will give you that unconditional love.

Perhaps that is why I am looking up codependent in wikipedia.

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I am very jealous of all the parents out there. You must feel this unconditional love for your children. It must be such a special feeling.   No one else can ever feel this special bond of unconditional love.

Maybe dog owners.   Remember Lassie?    That was unconditional love, right?

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If there is one piece of advice about blogging that I can give to newbies without any reservations, it is this:   Never look for unconditional love online.   You won’t find it.   Through trial and error, I now operate on the assumption that I could lose 75% of my readers or online friends in one week by simply writing the wrong type of post or tweet.   Thank God for V-grrrl.   She’s like Mikey in those old Life Cereal commercials.   She doesn’t like anything, but still likes my posts.   I write half of my posts with her in mind.

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It is Easter. The idea of unconditional love is an integral part of Christianity. It describes the belief in God’s love for humankind through the forgiveness of Christ.

Unconditional love is also central to Judaism, although the Jewish God sometimes confuses Passover with April Fool’s Day.

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In Exodus, there is a moment when Moses shows his unconditional love for his people. Moses has just lead the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt, and has given them the Ten Commandments.   What does he get in return?   He finds them partying with the Golden Calf, much like parents returning home early from their vacation to find their high school son having a wild party in the living room with more hookers than listed in Tiger Woods’ blackberry.

Does Moses show unconditional love?   Well, maybe not at first.   He curses them, throws the tablets at them, and several sinners die in a fiery blaze.   Let’s just say that anger management classes had not yet been developed.   But to give the dude credit, God later makes Moses an offer that most of us would jump on: “Let my anger burn against them and I shall annihilate them, and I will make you into a great nation!”

Basically, God is offering to get rid of all these schmucks and start over again with Moses in the chariot driver’s seat.  But Moses, for some unknown reason — maybe love is blind — begs for mercy:   “These people have sinned a great sin by making for themselves a god of gold. And now, if You would bear their sin. But if not—erase me now from your book that You have written!”

Translation: “Sure, these Israelites are are a bunch of sinning, high-maintenance assholes — just wait until one day when they have their own country — but I’m one of them, and I love them — despite it all — so just kill me too while you’re at it.”

Unconditional love.   Neurotic, maybe, but isn’t all love?

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I know someone is going to comment here that the most important person to love is yourself.   Despite my kvetching, I do love myself.   I find myself very amusing and lovable.   But you just can’t hang around with yourself ALL the time.

Kick a Dog

I was nursing another heartbreak, walking the street and going nowhere, thinking of love and how it kills you, slowly and painful like a Chinese torture. And then I went and kicked a dog. A dog that was cute and cuddly. I kicked a dog that was on a sparkly leash. I kicked a dog of a very old woman. And man, that made me feel good.

Well, I know this may very well shock you. I know my rep as a peaceful loving fellow. But even Jesus had a bad day. Took it out on someone smaller. Even Jesus went and kicked a dog. A dog that was cute and cuddly. He kicked a dog that was on a sparkly leash. He kicked a dog of a very old woman. And man, that made Him feel good.

There is no moral to this story. Frankly I’m even ashamed to write it. But when love knocks you down, you need to get off the ground, and dust off the crap. And then you go outside and kick a dog. A dog that is cute and cuddly. You kick a dog that is on a sparkly leash. You kick a dog of a very old woman. And man, that makes you feel good.

New Chapter

As I begin this new chapter in my life, I promise to be honest and open with you, hiding nothing, although I will leave it to your imagination to figure out if I am wearing pants or not.

The Ram

When unconditional love fades, it doesn’t melt away like the Wicked Witch after she is splashed with a bucket of water.  It happens slower, in a more painful way.  Like the drip drip drip of Chinese water torture.

I was in the laundromat.  It was Saturday night.  It was quiet except for the sound of the the dryers.  There was one other customer.  He was about 60.  Joe introduced himself.  He said he played the mandolin, and gave me his card.  He lived in some trailer park. 

“You mind if I change the channel?” he asked. 

I shrugged.  In the right corner of the laundromat was a small TV that was playing the Dodger game.  The Dodgers were losing.  Joe turned the channel to one of those “America’s Funniest Home Video” rip-offs.  I hate these shows.  I don’t find kids falling into mud or dogs biting their own tails funny.  Ever.  And I consider myself to have a sense of humor.  Since when is pain, shown out of context, funny?

On the TV, a ram was butting his head into a children’s swing set. The bench swung in an arc and then hit the ram back in the head.  The ram showed no fear.  He pushed to the other side of the swing set, and then rammed his way from the opposite side.  He banged his head a second time.  He was relentless.  He attacked the swing set over and over again, each time with the same result.  I know rams do this naturally, but I was worrying about the animal’s health.  Was he damaging his brain?  Was he trying to forget about something?  About someone?  Was he in and out of love?

The onscreen audience was laughing and cheering.  Joe was cracking up.

“Are you watching this?  Man oh man, this is hilarious!”

I went to fold my laundry.  This stubborn ram doing stupid things to himself was not funny, even if he was deceiving himself into thinking he was being productive.  He was in pain.  Emotional pain.

Valentine’s Day Blogger Serenade

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Happy Valentine’s Day, Sophia!

Happy Valentine’s Day, Mom!

Happy Valentine’s Day, Beautiful Bloggers of the Blogosphere

May We All Find True Love and Blog About it!

And now for your listening pleasure, I sing the classic "Love Will Keep Us Together," originally sung by the Captain and Tennille. 

My voice may not be perfect, but my heart is in the right place.

A New Hobby

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A few weeks ago, Jenny wrote this on her blog;

So what do you do with yourself when you stop looking for love? I realized recently that I have spent so much time as a single person looking for love, that I’ll need to take a up a new hobby when I finally do find it.

Jenny, Jenny, Jenny, I laughed for ten minutes after reading that.  Don’t you realize the trouble hasn’t begun UNTIL you meet someone to love?   Your relationship will be your "hobby."

Most of us learn about love from books and movies.

In a movie, the story usually ends when the couple kisses at the altar.

In the real world, we each walk around with our own personal movie projecting in our head.  In each movie, we are our own star.  Most of the hard work in any relationship revolves around this problem.  How do you make sure that you are both in the same movie?  Are you equal co-stars?  Do you both have the same size trailer?

Like most bloggers and writers, I enjoy sitting down by myself and making things up.  I am usually my own main character.  In the movie in my mind, I am the hero — a little bit of James Stewart, Bruce Willis, Bill Murray, and Viggo Mortensen.   I make jokes, I flirt with women, I hang out with the guys, I save the day from the bad guys.

I thought I reached my final goal when I married Sophia.  Like Jenny, I figured there was nothing more to worry about.  I was the luckiest guy in the world.  I met Sophia —  someone so beautiful and fun.  Someone who actually agreed to marry a klutz like me!

But it took a while for me to realize that Sophia had her own movie in her head.  And she was the heroine in her movie — a little bit of Lucille Ball, Sophia Loren, Lauren Bacall, and Angelina Jolie. 

There is always trouble brewing when a couple is not in the same movie. 

At the top, is a photo from our wedding.  Can you tell who is the star of this movie?   The photographer surely did.  Every other photo has Sophia front and center, and all you see of me is my back and yarmulke.    Sophia and I always joked that if she ever remarried, she could just keep the same pictures and say this is her new husband.  And I won’t even mention the fact that I was propped up in front of a piano I can’t play at all.   Can you see some of the issues that we ended up having to deal with?

Here’s another photo from our wedding.  A beautiful, sexy woman.  A generic guy with a nice yarmulke.

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So, Jenny, don’t worry about needing a new hobby after you fall in love.  Trust me — you’ll be busy enough.

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