It’s all about the love

One morning a few years ago I opened my e-mail at work to find about two hundred messages from people I didn’t know, all with the subject line I Love You. I assumed that the messages contained a worm or virus and simply deleted them.

The hackers who wrote the I Love You virus counted on gullible and lonely people to spread their virus. How could anyone resist opening a message in which someone declares their love? I Love You spread quickly around the Internet, clogging networks and making life miserable for businesses and their administrators all over the world.

When I was a teenager, Tina Turner had a hit song called What’s Love Got to Do With It? Some lyrics:

You must understand though the touch of your hand
Makes my pulse react
That it’s only the thrill of boy meeting girl
Opposites attract
It’s physical
Only logical
You must try to ignore that it means more than that

What’s love got to do, got to do with it
What’s love but a second hand emotion
What’s love got to do, got to do with it
Who needs a heart when a heart can be broken

A little before my time, Randy Newman wrote a pretty controversial song called Marie. Some lyrics from it:

You’re the song that the trees sing when the wind blows
You’re a flower, you’re a river, you’re a rainbow
Sometimes I’m crazy
But I guess you know
And I’m weak and I’m lazy
And I’ve hurt you so
And I don’t listen to a word you say
When you’re in trouble I just turn away

But I loved you the first time I saw you
And I always will love you Marie

The word love confuses a lot of people. What does it mean? What doesn’t it mean? Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary lists nine definitions for love as a noun and four as a verb, plus eight more definitions for phrases containing the word love (love apple, love beads, love child, etc.). When people use this amorphous word to describe their feelings about God, country, and ice cream, it starts to lose its meaning. In fact, the word has no real meaning by itself, as Randy Newman illustrated. The concept, though, has a great deal of meaning, or else millions of people would not have infected their computers in an effort to find it.


I am allergic to autumn in New York and am feeling awful right now. I will post more on this tomorrow, with what I think love really means and how it works in my marriage.

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