Easy As ABC? Sometimes.

You went to school to learn girl
Things you never, never knew before
Like "I" before "E" except after "C"
And why 2 plus 2 makes 4
Now, now, now
I'm gonna teach you
Teach you, teach you
All about love girl
All about love
Sit yourself down, take a seat
All you gotta do is repeat after me

That’s right. Today’s blog post is a lesson from Old Pops, The Love Professor. For those that know their Jackson 5 lore you’ll recognize that the lyrics above are from their song “ABC”. The song continues:

Reading, writing, arithmatic
Are the branches of the learning tree
But without the roots of love everyday girl
Your education ain't complete
Tea-Tea-Teacher's gonna show you
(She's gonna show you)
How to get an "A" (na-na-na-naaaaaa)
How to spell "me", "you", add the two
Listen to me, baby
That's all you got to do

It's easy as, 1 2 3
As simple as, do re mi
A B C, 1 2 3
Baby, you and me girl

This cute little number debuted in 1970 on American Bandstand. I was a freshman in college and had no intention of taking advice on Love from an 11 year-old kid. Looking back on Michael’s answer to Love, I still don’t like his solution.

Valentine’s Day looms. Last February, I did a series of posts with unsolicited advice for guys on how to make the most of the opportunity. This year, I already The Gift taken care of, so I’m just waxing philosophical about Love.

Several years ago I read an essay on “systems”. I wish I had made a copy of it or could remember who wrote it so I could give credit, but I don’t. Basically the author’s point was that we have reduced everything to a system.

In our own bodies we have systems: the nervous system, the circulatory system, the digestive system, etc. In society we have systems: legal systems, political systems, economic systems. Even our cars have systems: the fuel system, the braking system, the electrical system, and so on.

Here’s the thing about systems, when they work they’re wonderful. I’m using a system of ones and zeros, computers, wireless signals, servers, etc. to write and share this blog with the masses. It’s mind boggling to think that anyone around the world could read this if they are in the System.

Another thing about systems, sometimes they break… We have things like the postal system and the healthcare system. The thing about systems is when they do break, we can just blame the system and no one gets hurt. “Who is to blame for these problems?!” “No one really, the system failied.” Do you ever get the feeling that sometimes we create systems so we’ll have something to blame and no one is really accountable?

I’ll be conducting another wedding this Spring. Very soon now I will meet with the beautiful young couple for some “pre-marital counseling.” I hope they are not reading this because I’m going to confess that I don’t have all the answers to Love.

I am pretty sure though that I know a lot more about it than Michael Jackson did at eleven (God rest his soul). I do know that it cannot be reduced to system or a formula like ABCs and 123s.

Several years ago our marriage survived a conference we attended on how to have a successful marriage. I say “survived” because looking back, it was a system some guy had put together. He discovered he could take his show on the road and people would pay money to get the “keys” to marital bliss. And, also a coupon  for the advanced seminar where you got even more secret stuff.

Maybe I shouldn’t be too quick to judge, because actually me and My Amazing-Missus were marriage school dropouts. We ditched the last few sessions and did some Christmas shopping for our boys.

It may sound like I’m taking our 42 years of marriage for granted. I’m not, really I’m not. Nor am I saying I haven’t learned anything. I think I will tell this young couple that there are no magic formulas; there’s not a system. Sometimes it as easy as A-B-C or 1-2-3, sometimes its as complicated as H-E-L-L. Just ask my wife. I will tell them that Love is just the opposite of systematic. It is organic, it is natural, it is beautiful and it is eteneral.

Valentine's Day will be the 43rd anniversary of the day I proposed to My Amazing-Missus. I would do it again in a heart beat. I can only hope she would say, YES! But I would settle for a, “What the heck.”