Do a quick Google search for “quotes about love.” Go on… We’ll wait right here.
What you get is a litany of mushy, fluttery, starry-eyed one-liners from authors, poets and lyricists, all positing how wonderful, fulfilling and even spiritual the act of falling – and ultimately being – in love can be. My search brought me this gem from Oliver Wendell Holmes (presumably OWH, Sr.): “Love is the master key that opens the gates of happiness.” Aww.
Well, here’s the thing. Sometimes, the act of being or falling in love is a key that only opens up the gate to crippling, merciless heartache. Paired with a pillowcase of hockey pucks to the gut. Like, it really, really sucks. A lot.
When I was recovering from a relationship that ended, to put it kindly, abruptly in high school, my mom passed on some sobering advice – “Michael,” she said, “every relationship you’ll ever be in will end in either break-up or marriage.”
An emotional haymaker, for sure. But dammit, she was right. And since that day, I’ve had many a good number of relationships, trysts and those awkward, undefined situations end in break-up before getting myself hitched this past fall (hi, honey!). And while each of those endings kind of sucked at the time – except that one, which was kind of cathartic… – each situation, in all its suckiness, has provided some great fodder for tonight’s Lancaster Story Slam topic: “Love Hurts.”
If you’re not familiar with the story slam concept, it’s quite simple. Held every fourth Tuesday at Tellus360 in Lancaster, LSS is a night of competitive storytelling in which brave participants have 5 minutes to get on the mic and give the best oration they can muster. The topics are predetermined (check out the 2015 season here), however each participant has free range to put his/her own spin on it. What typically results is a roller-coaster ride of emotion as one storyteller to the next might jump from side-stitching humor to tear-jerking sadness.
Take, for example, last month’s topic – “Good Vibrations.” As the blog post following the March slam describes, the night’s tales ranged from accounts of meeting a bisexual man on the street while texting and yearning for one’s father to being bear hugged by a stranger at a rock festival and working at QVC. The night’s winner, Lancaster’s Frank Melvin, regaled the room with his hilarious account of being caught by the police in the act of hooking up with (or, as he elegantly put it, dry-humping) his girlfriend in a park after it had closed:
If I had to guess (and I will), tonight’s “Love Hurts” topic will likely yield stories with more punch lines than emotional pauses. Maybe some adult perspective on high school break-ups. Perhaps a play-by-play of a planned-for, yet ultimately botched break-up attempt. But don’t be surprised if someone comes along and ruins it with a Nicholas Sparks-worthy narrative that makes your breath just a bit heavier and eye sockets a wee bit soggier. And don’t be surprised if that there storyteller is the one walking away with a victory.
Lancaster Story Slam takes place at Tellus360 (24 E. King St., Lancaster) tonight. 8pm. $8 at the door. Click here for more info.