When I got back from overseas, I started dating a nurse here in Fort Wayne. Well, "dating" may be a bit strong, since I still had a year and a half to go in the Army and could see her only when I came home on leave. Anyway, it didn't work out, and I remember being hurt and angry and writing a blistering letter, telling her what a wonderful guy she was stupid enough to take a pass on, and slipped it under her door. Time has dimmed the memory of exactly what I wrote (thank God for small blessings), but I certainly recall the tone -- something an emotionally overwrought fifth-grader would be embarrassed to admit to. This was way before e-mail (thank God for big blessings), and if I'm lucky, she long ago burned that letter.
If I'd written something so dreadful these days and been stupid enough to send it electronically, it would be around to haunt me forever. So, take a lesson from Mark Sanford, paramours, and keep your lunatic lustfulness a little more private. We are now seeing the governor's missives to and from his "dear friend" from Argentina, and they are such awful drivel.
You have a particular grace and calm that I adore. You have a level of sophistication that is so fitting with your beauty. I could digress and say that you have the ability to give magnificently gentle kisses, or that I love your tan lines or that I love the curves of your hips, the erotic beauty of you holding yourself (or two magnificent parts of yourself) in the faded glow of night's light — but hey, that would be going into the sexual details we spoke of at the steakhouse at dinner — and unlike you I would never do that!
[. . .]
In all my life I have lived by a code of honor and at a variety of levels know I have crossed lines I would have never imagined. I wish I could wish it away, but this soul-mate feel I alluded too is real and in that regard I sure don't want to be the person complicating your life.
This is a man who is supposed to be an intellectual, or at least as close as a politician can get. He went on "Hardball" a couple of weeks ago to defend his libertarian ideas and held his own with Chris Matthews. And yet he can write such juvenile tripe. It really is true that love and lust make idiots of us all, especially when we can't keep the two sraight. Yes, I've written a letter or two like Sanford's in my time, too. I don't remember the exact wording of those, either, but "adore" sounds uncomfortably familiar. But if I'd ever written "by the faded glow of night's light," I trust the woman would have just taken me out and shot me.
The newspaper that unearthed this timeless prose subjected Sanford and the woman to the ultimate indignity of writing (sic) after all their mistakes, which e-mailers are prone to make. The worst one was in her P.S. in which she alluded to fact that she didn't want to turn back the clock, no matter how complicated things had gotten -- "I don't want to put the genius back in the bottle." Futile effort, that one, trust me.