Shakespeare fans have said, “I love you like Romeo loved Juliet.”
Selena Gomez said, “I love you like a love song, baby.”
50 Cent said, “I love you like a fat kid loves cake.”
There are many different ways that love has been expressed in pop culture. I’d like to suggest a new one.
I love you like I am your second in a duel.”
Huh? Let me explain…
Today, we hash out our disputes via text message, twitter or when the internet is down, in person. Back in the day, when men were really men, disputes were settled with a gun fight.
Duels were a common way to solve a problem. A guy was looking at your woman…challenge him to a duel. Someone was looking funny at your horse…challenge him to a duel. A horse was looking at your woman…challenge it to a duel.
Men had reputations to uphold and what better way to solve problems than by shooting erratic guns at one another from a short distance, while women and children watched?
We’ve all heard about some famous duels: Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr, Andrew Jackson and Charles Dickinson, The Three Musketeers vs. Almond Joy. But what is often left out of those stories is the involvement of some very important people.
These people were called seconds.
Seconds were friends of the duelers and their role was to try resolve the dispute by avoiding bloodshed, all while preserving everyone’s honor. Basically they were the cooler heads trying to talk their buddies out of killing one another.
In 1842, Abraham Lincoln, an Illinois state legislator at the time, was talked out of a duel with state auditor James Shields, by his second. In 1864, a second helped Mark Twain avoid a duel with a rival newspaper editor, by over exaggerating Twain’s skills with pistol.
If a peaceful resolution could not be found, the seconds ensured that the duel would take place on a level playing field with equal weapons. They would make sure the parties all agreed on the same terms and they would make those terms as least deadly as possible. Kinda like event planners whose job was to do everything they could to keep everyone alive.
The seconds took all the work off the plate of the two angry parties. They would decide how long the duel would last, what conditions would end the duel and which doctor would be on hand. They would make all the arrangements so that the duelers could just practice their skill of not dying.
Sometimes, the seconds would even take the place of their friend if the primary dueler was not able to finish the fight.
So basically seconds were like the best friends anyone could have. They would try to talk you out of being killed, set the stage so you were not likely to get hurt, and then if you did get hurt, they would take your place and risk their life so your honor remained in tact.
If that isn’t love, I don’t know what is.