Wednesday, January 9, 2013

No. 512 – Justify My Love

Performer: Madonna
Songwriters: Lenny Kravitz, Ingrid Chavez, Madonna
Original Release: The Immaculate Collection
Year: 1990
Definitive Version: None

The following story doesn’t reflect very well on me. I suppose everyone has a skeleton or two in their closet, and this is one of mine. Feel free to skip this if you want; it was what it was.

When Dave started the coed softball team at The Journal in 1991, I already had moved to sports. At about the same time, The Journal had gone through a recent spate of hirings, and I hardly knew anyone because of the extreme shift differential, so the softball team was a way to meet new people as well as play a little ball.

One of the new people I met was Carrie, who was a city reporter, although I can’t now remember her beat. Anyway, she was one of the few people—women particularly—who showed up to every practice as well as every game.

Our practices were at the now-closed Whittier Middle School, a short drive from the newspaper off Court Street. The school had a softball diamond that always seemed to be available. I liked it, because it had a reachable fence, and Bill and I always would be trying to hit a few balls out, just to feel the awesomeness that comes with clearing a fence with a hit.

A large group who attended practice went to a nearby tavern for drinks and food afterward. I don’t remember the name of that place, but I remember that it had shufflepuck and a jukebox that had The Immaculate Collection on it. Carrie’s friend Marianne controlled the juke and almost always played this song, which is, of course, a very hot song. (I suspect Lenny Kravitz had a lot to do with that, and I also would wager that it was a big play in the dance establishments on Dort Highway back then.)

I don’t know whether it was the song or the beer or what, but after a while, Carrie and I were sitting together with my arm around her. Nothing happened that night, but soon after she invited me over to where she and Marianne lived to play some euchre and drink beers. Marianne’s boyfriend was visiting and they needed a fourth. Of course, I said yes.

I think you can see what’s coming, right? Carrie and I spent the night together, and I regretted it the instant I woke up in the morning. It was completely the wrong move, not only because it could mess things up on the team if it went bad but, more important, I also really wasn’t that interested in her. I mean, she was great—smart, funny, cool—but I wasn’t attracted to her at all. She was available, and I was lonely. Two and two definitely made four.

The problem was I sensed she was looking for more than just a short-term fling. I had to do something about this fast.

Unfortunately, instead of telling her like a man that I was grateful for the night we had together, but I didn’t want a full-blown relationship, I passively aggressively had her figure it out for herself. It was like I couldn’t bring myself to say the words directly the next euchre night. Instead, I just said that when I put my arm around her, it was only because my arm was tired. Dreadful, I know.

Fortunately, like almost everyone I’ve ever had the fortune of dating in my life, Carrie was far more mature and together than I was. There never was any drama the rest of the year, and the next year, I was pleased to see she had begun to date another guy—someone who didn’t work at the paper—and they were great together.

In fact, they ended up getting married, so it worked out in the end—not that I had anything to do with that.

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