Sunday, January 20, 2008

Things My Girlfriend And I Have Argued About

Nothing keeps a relationship on its toes so much as lively debate. Fortunate, then, that my girlfriend and I agree on absolutely nothing. At all.

Combine utter, polar disagreement on everything, ever, with the fact that I am a text-book Only Child, and she is a violent psychopath, and we're warming up. Then factor in my being English while she is German, which not only makes each one of us personally and absolutely responsible for the history, and the social and cultural mores of our respective countries, but also opens up a whole field of sub-arguments grounded in grammatical and semantic disputes and, well, just try saying anything and walking away.

So begins Mil Millington's web page. One page, several hundred paragraphs, twenty-eight thousand three hundred fifteen words, plus or minus a few syllables.

It isn't elegant, if you're looking for tips on web design. No JavaScript effects, no CSS. Don't even ask about AJAX or SQL. No subtle colors.

It isn't about that. Did you guess already, then? Good. It's about writing, and Mr. Millington does that well.

He claims that he's writing about his 16-year relationship with one woman, but it's about all of us, even guys like me who have never married and have had not too many more than a couple of dates. Even us late bloomers. It's about life and such, written as though life and such is worth living in an interesting way.

And it's fiction. This piece of work is too good to be true, and that is fine because the point isn't about being precise but about being good. And anyway, true truth gets through more often when one avoids being literal.

I discovered this one great hulking page about a week back, and read it in two sittings.

Toward the end of the first evening I finally collapsed. After maybe two hours of reading and howling the cumulative effect took charge. One passage pushed me over the edge. I was snorting, honking, hooting, choking, spluttering. For a while I could not breathe, almost drowning in my own tears.

One roll of laughter piled on another like waves pushing each other up the beach. The force of them all knocked me down. They squeezed all the air out of my. I could only let my head lie on the desk and try not to die. This continued for five minutes. The walls shook from my noises. A passerby would have heard a lunatic party in my house. But it was all me.

At some point Mr. Millington got tired of doing this, or the page got too long, so he stopped it, and is leaving it sit, but has a mailing list, which he last broadcast to about three months back. It may be a while before I can get more of this. No, wait, hold on -- I've just discovered the guestbook, and the guestbook archives. Good. Now I can die laughing.

Back to the chase. He has books in print. "Things My Girlfriend And I Have Argued About", which has a catchy title, "A Certain Chemistry", and "Love and Other Near-Death Experiences."

He works for something called "The Weekly," which I haven't quite figured out yet, but it may be worth a try.

The score then: Millington over Everything Else by one to nil.

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