Love a Love Story

Welcome to October and “the moments that seem like cinnamon,” as a pal put it recently.

“Forrest” is the pal’s name, and he seems a storybook character. And what a great name for someone like that, who has a feel for harvest moons and acorns underfoot…all the treasures of fall.

I suppose I gush too much over October, just as I gush too much over baseball and grandchildren and golden actresses from the ‘70s.

Obviously, I’m a bit of a lost soul, tripped up by my own thoughts. Most days I’m pulled this way and that by basic impulse and the childhood indulgences that I’ve never completely shed.

Snickers bars for one. Candy apples for another. Clean tackles, down around the knees…lord, I love those best of all.

We wrap our arms around autumn the way great linebackers wrap up tailbacks. October is there, and then it’s gone. As with children, best to over-hug it a bit. Pull on a sweater and go kick through some leaves.

By the way, know who looks super good in a sweater? Well, me of course. But Taylor Swift too, our eternal teenager, a storybook character in her own right.

Americans are nuts for arrested development. Elvis never grew up, nor Marilyn, nor Michael. All our passions have a chronic dewiness to them.

Still, I’m not sure I understand all the backlash over Taylor Swift and her new boyfriend, the football player Travis Kelce.

To recap: Miss Swift, who has never married and probably never will — determined as she is to date every eligible male in America, of which there are maybe dozens — has set her gunsights on this Mr. Kelse, who performs weekly for the Kansas City Chiefs.

More succinctly, she has wrapped him up and shouldered him to the turf.

Reminds me a lot of Butkus, actually.

Miss Swift has been showing up to her new boyfriend’s games, creating another social media tsunami.

Me, I find that refreshing. For the longest time, we were obsessed over vaccines and face masks and who should use which bathrooms. Now it’s this NFL Romeo and Juliet story we’re obsessing over.

Anyway, Michaelangelo once explained that he would see angels in a block of marble and carved till he set them free.

So it is with Miss Swift, a noted mezzo-soprano whose latest pop hit is this Kelce dude. Big strapping lad, bit of a Bozo — though aren’t we all? Certainly likeable enough. And he is now dating America’s sweetheart, who seems made of cinnamon and apples.

Can you imagine how supportive his teammates must be? Not a sneer nor a negative word. That’s the way locker rooms roll.

So why the backlash? I’m no Swiftie. But did you know that she is 11 times bigger than the next biggest performer in the world? Her recent tour rivaled Beatlemania for mania and general mayhem.

At the NFL games, she smiles her chipmunk smile and seems to rejoice in the moment, as she should, given all the happiness she seems to deliver to 12-year-old girls and their mamas.

Evidently, she works very hard, is terrifically generous to charity, stays clear of drugs and two-faced politicians. As she left the Kelce family suite, she even paused to throw away her cups and other trash.

Hey Smartacus, did you see that?

Look, here’s what I know about love: absolutely nothing.

OK, for sure I love love.

I love salmon season on the Columbia. I love chowdah thick with cream, and the way Suzanne wears autumn (like a Hermes scarf).

I love sports mascots, particularly the one they call “Puddles,” a giant duck with a razor-sharp sense of irreverence.

Puddles for President!

Puddles really should be the next big cartoon creature. He would be bigger than Snoopy or the Simpsons. His holiday special would rival “The Messiah.”

Have you seen Puddles roar out of the tunnel on a Harley before an Oregon game?

Listen, my dreams are many, and I can’t share most of them…they’re too tender for a mainstream audience.

For the record, I also dream a lot about chowdah.

But I also dream that Taylor Swift will one day date the mascot known as Puddles, then eventually write a heartbreak song about it, though you’ll be able to read between the lines that she still has real feelings for him in the condos of her bulbous blonde heart.

At sold-out concerts, young girls (and their dads) will cry when she performs it.

Can you think of a better name for a weepy love song?

“And now,” she’d say, “a new love song that just dropped this week. It’s called ‘Puddles.’”

Thanks to all those who turned out at Vroman’s, Barnes & Noble and {Pages} this week. “What the Bears Know,” the amazing life story of “Bear Whisperer” Steve Searles, sold out its first printing in three days, thanks to you. It is still in stock on Amazon and at Barnes & Noble (the store in The Grove has signed copies).

Meanwhile, please raise a toast with me to the great Dick Butkus, who died this week. I did a piece on him once, and later met up with him for lunch. He was gruff but gracious. Here’s the link. RIP, No. 51. Iki! (cheers in Lithuanian)

10 thoughts on “Love a Love Story

  1. Does anyone else feel Kelce is channeling Burt Reynolds? Not that Kelce or Ms Swift would even know Burt Reynolds…

  2. Thanks for name checking our beloved Butkus, Snickers and My fellow Cleveland Heights High School alum Travis Kelce. Having been a fan as well as a presenter of pop culture for more than a half century, I enjoyed your musings about Miss Swift and I tend to agree, with some reservations about her ultimate place in pop history…but for the moment, undeniable.

    And I love how often “love” keeps increasingly making its way into your writing. It’s especially significant in light of your recent personal history. Kind of proves human nature. Mazel tov.

  3. Chris,
    I noted you are wearing a Oregon Reyn-Spooner shirt! Of course any Spooner shirt is considered de rigueur for “men of a certain age” down here in Orange County.

  4. Thanks, too, for the shout out to Butkus. My late husband’s right leg forever wore the battle scars and dents of a tackle by Butkus. Evidentally the guy forgot it was just a promotional gig with WGN personalities when he whomped my Jerry. And of course, Butkus apologized.

  5. Bravo for your words about Dick Butkus. My late husband wore battle scars on his right leg forever from an altercation with the star. Evidentally Butkus forgot he was just on the field with a bunch of WGN personalities for a promotional stunt. And, of course, he apologized.

  6. This Autumn reflecting pool of musings has perfect pitch; it resonates with this year, this time, the way water sings with golden surface light in Fall.
    Hey Chris: have you noticed how the greatest embarrassment is being outed, some maybe secret understanding revealed for all to muse upon? So it is with me; and you.
    You are this real, run-around guy exuding male cultural passions, who loves so intensely and deeply and forever he cannot express it, though he has a lavish semantic gift, and tries and tries and tries. Do you think anybody knows?

    Me? I just returned from my latest tryst with a lifelong love affair of my own, the Central California Coast. I think we are in love with the same girl. It happens.

    In Global Cayucos

    We were in Cayucos this past week—
    The sun shone like a rusty diamond
    And the air did not know what to do
    Beholden as it is to swirls of mist;
    The smoothies overflowed at The Kitchen
    Given added impetus by the heat
    Air conditioning hidden there
    Like all other such non-existent
    Fantasies unknown in paradise;
    And the browned butter cookies in the box
    That usually smoke low in the mind—
    Burning with desire’s unholy light—
    Were melting like candles, before the fact
    Humidity of the sea crumbling grace;

    Shocks thar come from nowhere as we seek
    Respite from looming climate despond…
    It seems are everywhere, nothing new
    In flood and storm—something that we missed;
    Yet the intensity persists, even when
    One would expect the usual lull’s sweet
    Variation; the latest atmosphere
    Seeming upset, almost angry intent
    In its litany of steamy surprise;
    Embedded in pleasures now: a paradox
    As in love, we know more with each unwind
    Yet do less, powerless with insight
    To shape reality with what it lacks
    The course of things lovely when in place
    But increasingly disturbed, almost distraught
    As in Cayucos, because wisdom cannot be taught—
    Balzac said exactly that eons ago
    You’d think, at. this point, in paradise, we’d know…

  7. As a final thought, I think it was Hemingway, of all people, who noted that some human experience is simply unwritable. Language fails. He was talking about war, but this applies as well to other complexities of existence; most certainly to love.

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