By Curtis Shelburne
If you know me, you probably already know that I have WRSTE Syndrome.
You’ll not find this on a list of disease acronyms, be they tragic or trendy. No pharmaceutical company will spend millions making annoying commercials about it. (I’ve not yet figured out why that couple in the now-famous drug ad is sitting in two bathtubs. The drug-pushing company is not selling plumbing fixtures or foaming bath soap. Ah, well.)
By the way, isn’t it a hoot that those commercials are 1/4 ad and 3/4 lawyer litter? “This is great stuff, but be advised that some people have turned suddenly and irreversibly green while taking Prescriptex, a few have died truly ghastly deaths, and research has shown at least a 1 in 500,000 chance that if you abuse this medication your grandchildren could be born naked.”
But I digress.
WRSTE is an under-studied, under-funded, little-known malady, and I definitely have it: Would Rather Sing Than Eat.
Since I’ve been incredibly scrupulous about my diet all of my life, following the strict IOEIIITG Diet (“I Only Eat It If It Tastes Good”), I was a little surprised, years ago, to be stricken with WRSTE. That can be a problem. You see, “stuff that tastes good” tends to cluster around places where I’m asked to sing. That puts my diet and my syndrome in conflict. WRSTE always wins. I’ve got it that bad.
The malady is particularly troubling during Christmas (no surprise) and around Valentine’s Day (some surprise). Christmas food’s fantastic but Christmas music is even better.
And Valentine’s Day? Well, the fact that Cupid’s kingdom has become annually a bit of a singing-rich environment for me still surprises me. That I’m involved with Valentine’s Day much at all amazes me.
You see, my wife loves me not because of any romantic inclinations I might have to spend too much on cards ($6.50 for a card!? Really?) or splurge on flowers. I’ve been pretty successful at keeping those tendencies under control. (Guys, if your wife loves cards and flowers, by all means, go with the cards and flowers. My wife prefers cash.)
But some good folks at a nearby community civic club asked me to croon a tune or two for a Valentine’s banquet a couple of years ago, and, well, a few more folks and a church or two have, too. (After all, I suffer from WRSTE.) But be assured that the American classic love song dynasties of Nat King Cole and Tony Bennett are under no threat from me.
My family’s got Valentine’s Day surrounded. Two brothers have birthdays within three days of Cupid’s Day, and my mother-in-law’s birthday is the big 14th of February itself. My brothers haven’t asked me to sing to them, but Vernell was fine with “Happy Birthday.”
Cupid’s songs really are kinda fun and some of the classic crooners’ tunes are timeless. I like singing them.
But here’s the deep truth worth singing about any day: Love is not king; our King is love.
Curtis Shelburne is pastor of 16th & Ave. D. Church of Christ in Muleshoe. Contact him at