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There’s plenty of places in this country that encourage disenchantment, cities and states that practically compete to provide visitors with a sense of disillusionment and despair. Then there’s Hawaii. From the moment I arrived, there was something like a command to surrender to enchantment, a mandate for ecstasy. This makes a certain kind of sense: Hawaii’s physical beauty is legendary; the fact that even the air itself--smelling of flowers, of ripe greenness, fecund and...
Arthur Schopenhauer, famous for his positive outlook and sunny disposition* said, "Marrying means to grasp blindfolded into a sack hoping to find an eel amongst an assembly of snakes.” I couldn’t agree more! My wedding is in two weeks! I’m deep in the sack! Of course, most of the following terrors are automatically alleviated by avoiding marriage. Everything will also be fine if you don't have a family but do have sacks of money, if you avoid Schopenhauer, and if you...
“I’ll be more surprised if we succeed than if we fail,” I scrawled in a beat-up notebook last year. It was one of my many reactions to the new, deeply passionate relationship that had eclipsed every other element of my life. I’m a pragmatist, so this pessimism was not necessarily out of character but nonetheless sad in context: Love had inspired in me an impulsive, efficient lunacy that was accompanied by what I assumed...
To paraphrase Tolstoy, all happy marriages are alike; each unhappy marriage is unhappy in its own way, which is why dysfunctional marriages make for such fertile literary ground. Sure, there's the anomalous happily married couple, like Nick and Nora Charles in Dashiell Hammett's The Thin Man, but they're more the exception that proves the rule.  And the rule, of course, is that misery loves company. Relationships are complicated; monogamy is hard. And so it's a relief,...

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