July 11, 2006

Ahab's Townhouse

It's quite sad to see a man create tragedy to save what he thinks is the most important thing in life - his property. According to the NYTimes, Nicholas Bartha blew up his townhouse, and almost himself, yesterday because "he wanted nothing more than to remain in that house."

Purchasing the house, "the love of his life," was "validation, proof of success". The sad part is that this man's wife and two daughters never held that same meaning for him.

Instead of complying with a court ordered divorce settlement to sell the house to provide alimony for his wife of nearly 30 years, this "workaholic" vowed, like the men of the NRA, that the house would have to be pried from his cold, dead hands.

Such stubbornness is not exclusive to men, but I associate it with Melville's Ahab, and stories of murderous husbands and boyfriends who cry 'if I can't have you, no one else will.'

It is a fascinating brand of love; a love of blind selfishness; a love of owning things, and a pride that comes from possession and control.

Is this the quintessence of manliness? And if so, is there no love more true than that which leads to violence?

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