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Archive for June, 2009

She lay quietly, breathing slowly in my and her daughter’s arms, her heart beating faintly and her breath coming at longer and longer intervals.

Then, the sounds and feel of her heart and lungs began to fade slowly much the way sound diminishes when we gradually turn down the volume on a radio.

Hardly without notice, her life as we understand it ceased.

I’m ashamed of myself because I failed to understand that she was dying and I waited too long to hold her and talk to her and hum some of her favorite songs.

I’m having a hard time imagining life without her.

I hope I have the strength to write her story.

Life is too uncertain at the moment.

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Or is it?

You’ll pardon me, I hope, if I descend into the murky depths of illicit affairs, which I take in this instance to mean sexual relations outside of marriage.

I’m thinking right now of South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford and his Argentine inamorata. Reports from Argentina have referred to her as a 43-year old professional woman of uncommon beauty. Sanford is 49, so the age range is in line with general expectations.

The element in this romance that strikes me as interesting is the appearance of the two. Given that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, we are, nonetheless, prone to accept reports that the woman is pretty darned good looking.

Sanford, on the other hand, altghough tall and with a commanding presence by virtue of that alone, doesn’t have the face of a Hollywood idol. He has close-set eyes that some may describe as beady. And a long, narrow nose reminiscent of the noses of some species of lower primates. Plus, he seems to have a perpetual five o’clock shadow.

As your typical generic Anglo-Saxon male, I am thus naturally prone to ask, “What does she see in that guy?”

In fact, when I look at Sanford’s face, I am reminded of an old Mickey Gilley honky-tonk song, “The Girls All Get Prettier at Closing Time.”

The song clearly suggests that a woman’s attractiveness increases in proportion with the amount of alcohol consumed by the male. I hold that the rule also applies to women. The more booze a woman consumes, the handsomer a generic will appear to be.

I am not suggesting that Sanford’s inamorata has to get loaded to engage in an affair with him. But Sanford surely must possess some sort of characteristic that transforms him into a desirable male, a characteristic that acts on the female brain much in the manner of booze, a characteristic that casts a soft glow around his entire being.

In my judgement, power is that characteristic. As pudgy Henry Kissinger once said, “Power is an aphrodisiac.” This once-Secretary of State ought to know. He used to squire some of Hollywood’s most beautiful women around town.

And now, generic Sanford is the beneficiary of the essence of Kissinger’s pithy homily. If only the rest of us plain folks were as fortunate, how sweet it would be.

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