Brian Bailey Preface to the Revised Edition

Valentine's Day

Forgive the horribly romantic nature of this post, but it is, after all, Valentine's Day. Many of you are at work right now, wishing you had something clever, something really different to send to that special someone. You've tried trite sentiments, song lyrics, maybe a slightly out-of-context scripture, and shaked your fists at Apple for not providing text as well as images with iCards. Don't worry, I'm here to help.

About a year ago, I watched just about all of the episodes of Mad About You. Wonderful show, very popular in its time, but now conveniently fading from memory for most people. One of my favorite episodes has Paul going in for a routine surgery. He realizes that there is always a chance that something could go wrong, so he pours out his love to Jamie. Later, while she's waiting for him to wake up after the surgery, she does the same.

Now, this is some very good stuff. First, how often do you find material written from both a man and a woman's perspective, meaning none of you are left out? Second, it is very well written, but in a casual, conversational way. Third, it can easily be customized to your particular situation and life experience  (you can't just cut-n-paste, unless you just happened to have played Juliet in the 5th grade or are willing to take a chance). Fourth, what are the chances that someone will recognize lines from a show that ended seven years ago?

Here it is, my gift to all of you on Valentine's Day. Use wisely. And if that special someone also happens to read this blog, I'm afraid you are out of luck. Send me an email and I'll see what I can do.

Paul to Jamie:

I want you to know that you are the single greatest blessing I have ever received. I don’t why we’re put here on this earth. I don’t know what they want from us, except I have always known that I am supposed to be by your side, and taking care of you, and having a family with you, and making you happy.

In a universe that’s 99% disappointment, you, you are the one sure thing. You are the proof that life is good. You are my life.

Jamie to Paul:

Oh my God don’t ever die.

Give me my Romeo and when he shall die take him and cut him out in little stars and make the face of Heaven so fine that all the world will be in love with night.

Did I ever tell you that I played Juliet in the 5th grade? I did.

Oh my God don’t ever die. I have so much more to tell you and I’m not interested in telling it to anyone else. I’m not saying I’d be helpless, I mean, I’m bright and fairly good with money. And I guess I’m cute, right?

You would say, “What are you kidding me? You, my little friend, are a perfect example of beautiful.” And so I am. Because I am nothing more or less than what I see in your eyes when you look at me.

Do you know how long I waited for you? My mother used to say I was too picky, or afraid of commitment and that’s why I was still unmarried by the age of almost thirty, but the truth is I was just looking for you. Do you know how close I came to being a narrow, cold, mistrustful woman? But you have given me a life so big and full and good and fun. I don’t even know what we do really besides clean up and complain and wish we were sleeping, but with you, somehow, fun. And I’ll tell you a secret. When we got married, I couldn’t imagine still wanting to be with anyone all this time later, but I do. It’s a miracle to me, you are a miracle. You’ve made me happy, which is something I never, ever thought I’d be.

It's a hard thought, isn't it? Imagining life without the one you love? I know I take Lori for granted more than I would've ever imagined when I was writing poems and notes to her everyday in high school.  But things end. We have to be clear about this. They really do. Bad stuff happens, sometimes dramatic and newsworthy, sometimes so quiet you can barely hear the sound of hearts breaking. I've seen this happen more than I would like, to people who deserve better and to people who should know better.

It may seem like a sad thing, but the fact is that if you can't imagine it ever ending, you'll stop giving the one you love everything you have.

Somehow, I've been given the privilege of spending every day with a woman so beautiful, talented, and full of joy that I perpetually feel like someone who was given too much at the ATM and can't believe they're actually going to get away with it.

If you've been blessed with the love of your life, he or she deserves all that you can give. Have a wonderful Valentine's Day!