Heartsick

Just like the origin of “Ring Around the Rosie,” I’m sick. Sick, sick. Coughing up solid masses the color of moss, sick. Blood coming from facial orifices in various states of being congealed, sick. Sick enough that I’ve been sleeping during daylight hours, when my little corpus isn’t wracked by bark-like coughs. So infirm that my eyes are as bloodshot as a Phish groupie and I’m using more Kleenex than a teenage boy left alone with a high-speed Internet connection. Sick to the point that I sound like Kathleen Turner deep-throating a cactus.

(That last one is kind of hot, actually.)

You get it. I ain’t well, in fact, I’m feeling just about as bad as I ever have. The only time in recent memory that I can remember suffering more was when I got my heart broken. Which may have been why my the film, My Heart Is An Idiot, hit me as hard as a double-dose of NyQuil taken on an empty stomach.

My friends Dave and Davy decided to make a documentary about love and shit, and this was their final product.

Some of you might know Davy, he’s the founder of FOUND magazine and he’s an awesome dude to boot. David makes insanely beautiful movies and grew up chopping wood! Also, super cute.

Without giving too much away, My Heart Is An Idiot is about Davy trying to get the girl of his (many, varied, often changing) dreams, all while going on tour for a book and for Volume 4 of FOUND. It’s a love story where love itself is the subject, albeit though the eyes and lens of the story’s creator. I thought it was kickass, even though I absolutely loathe romantic shit, and it got me thinking about all of the stupid, douchey things I’ve done for love.

Not really a spoiler alert, but Davy pulls a few seriously dick moves. But we all do, right? Right.

One of my favorite examples of love motivating seemingly inconceivable and churlish behavior is from the 1930s. Originally just the Prince of Wales, Edward VIII of England was an Army officer, and the type of guy who was “linked to” many older married ladies, probably cougars of the time. One of his lovers introduced him to a woman named Wallis Simpson, the socialite daughter of a flour merchant. Edward fell for her, hard. Wallis was on husband #2 by that point, but that didn’t bother Eddie. They struck up a relationship and Wallis began divorce proceedings.

It was at this point, in January of 1936, that Edwards father, King George V died, leaving Edward the throne. Most other men would have gotten drunk off of the power, happily leaping into the king’s shoes, pants, and crown. Instead, Edward got annoyed and did something no man or woman would probably think to do.

See, Edward was planning on marrying Wallis as soon as her latest divorce became final. The prime ministers of the UK, stuffy, crumpet-devouring rich folk that they were, joined up with certain church leaders to cause a fuss. Most members of England’s elite were apoplectic at the idea of a multiple divorcee becoming the queen. So Edward, irritated at the outcry, stepped down, abdicating the throne and turning the monarchy over to his younger brother George VI with the final soundbyte, “I have found it impossible to carry the heavy burden of responsibility and to discharge my duties as king as I would wish to do without the help and support of the woman I love.”

That’s right, his love for a lady got him to give up on being a king. (Those must have been some stellar hummers that Wallis administered.) He’d only been in power for 325 days. Edward and Wallis got married that May and were known as the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. And there’s actually a happy ending t0 this bit of royal history: the couple stayed together for the rest of their lives.

I mean, it’s a happy ending if you don’t know about Edward’s rumored Nazi leanings, but that’s a different sort of love story altogether.

By comparison, My Heart Is An Idiot packs less of a political punch, even though Newt Gingrich makes an appearance. (Yes, really.) But Davy’s documentary includes glorious footage of him gallivanting around the country, grilling everyone for love advice, from Ira Glass to super-fox Zooey Deschanel, so even without his ardor having a national impact on who’s in charge, it’s still universal and affecting. It also reminded me of all the dumb shit I’ve done for passionate infatuation. I joined the track team. I wrote a poem or two. I performed a poem or three. I moved across the country more than once. I got tattooed, also more than once. I had tattoos covered up. (No comment on how many times.) I cut my hair, grew my hair, wore lipstick, stopped wearing lipstick, got a job, quit a job, had sex in a janitor’s closet against my better judgment… the list goes on. Maybe I’m crazier than most, but Davy and I could compare stories.

That said, Cupid cajoled me into that tomfoolery years ago. I can derisively say that my heart was an idiot, ‘cause now I’m a hardened cynic, believing more in the biological need to get laid in place of “love,” scoffing at pop songs that cite phrases like “you’re my one and only,” rolling my eyes at the idea of anyone having a one and only. If I see couples walking hand-in-hand, I switch to the other side of the street. But it’s a bit transparent, I’m probably protesting too much. In my chest, I want to believe in relationships and soul mates. I want to be like Davy, undaunted by past failures, grinning as I throw myself face- and/or genitals-first into the next affair. But until I get the robot-parts removed from the area where my ventricles used to be, I’ll spectate his swooning instead.

And this isn’t me crying, it’s just the illness making my sinuses act up.

Check out My Heart Is An Idiot on the film’s website and if you’re on the west coast, you really should go to a screening. You get to meet both of the totally lovable creators of this masterpiece, and there’ll probably be beer, too.

Thursday, June 9: Los Angeles, California – Bootleg Theater, 8PM
Friday, June 10: San Francisco, California – Roxie Theater, 7:15PM and 9:30PM
Saturday, June 11: San Francisco, California – Roxie Theater, 3PM and 5PM
Sunday, June 12: Sacramento, California – The Guild Theater, 7:30PM
Wednesday, June 15: Portland, Oregon – Crow Manor, 8PM
Saturday, June 18: Seattle, Washington – Central Cinema, 8PM