The Flora Effect: Cataclysmic Events on Behr

The following Notes from the Editor are excerpted from the Preface to the Revised Edition of Dr. Martin Behr’s seminal work, The End of Marriage: A Guide to the Universe.

The author’s words are often an instructive point from which to begin examination of the text. Let us consider the following passage:

The swirling mist of the universe is indifferent to the corral called the rational, at least when the universe is momentarily left in non-dispute by the cosmologists. Humans, however, hunger for an organizing principle and have managed to devise a workable contraption called marriage out of the fertile muck of desire and faith. This carnal cord is neither as silken nor smooth as words such as ‘desire’ and ‘faith’ might indicate. In fact, the marriage bond is closer kin to a knotted jungle vine than to an elegant accessory.

That even this much is known with verifiable certainty about marriage is due to the pioneering work of Martin Behr, Ph.D., who began and then abandoned a career in space physics before embarking on a radically personal quest for meaning through the marital relationship. The untimely death of Dr. Behr before he could complete his life-long study of a life long lived with another is to be mourned in terms of what will never be understood about what happens to the players in a marriage when one of them succumbs. The elucidating mind behind the intended final volume, I Am Now a Widower will remain lost and this serves only to underscore the poignancy of the previous volumes.

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The neurology department sent you a form letter asking you to be a resident’s final exam in diagnostic assessment. You wait in the exam room in the tank top and leggings you wore under your jeans.

There is a perfunctory knock at the door announcing the team. They take their places, an older man, a younger man and a woman somewhere between them in age. The candidate, the woman, stands next to the exam table where you are sitting.

“Please begin,” nods the older man to the woman.

This woman has fifteen minutes to figure you out. Even though she is probably only ten years older than you, she reminds you of Eleanor Roosevelt or the prow of a ship cutting through the churning waters. You are instantly on her side.

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