Mickey and Sylvia (did they even have last names?) said it all in their big '50s chartbuster, "Love Is Strange."

That's it, right there: Love is Strange.

It's blind, but it will find a way to make the world go round, and at first sight, too. Strange.

It supports an entire industry composed of fortune-tellers, bartenders, desk clerks, Los Vegas ministers of the non-denominational faith, psychiatrists and piano players sitting behind brandy snifters stuffed with dollar bills.

Puppy love. Calf love. We love not wisely but too well and all is fair . . . and leave 'em. . . .

Researchers at Johns Hopkins and the Universities of Minnesota, Wisconsin and Bridgeport have recently published scholarly dissertations on love. Previous researchers include Shakespeare, Tolstay, Verdi . . . why even bother to finish the list?

Except to say, as these tales prove, that it might as well end with Mickey and Sylvia, whose names will live forever -- unlike some of the following, which have been changed, along with certain identifying details. To protect whatever remnants of privacy love leaves behind. Love is strange.

They were the best of friends in college. He was a preppie from Rye, heir to a few million; he zipped about in a foreign sports car. She was from Circle and P and was used to city buses.

They shared wine and secrets. Once they were watching "Love Story" on the late night movie. It moved him to wonder. "I don't know what I would do if Kelly ever died like that," he said.

She loved that he could care so deeply and, at that movement, she loved him and hated his precious Kelly, away at another school. I wish she were dead, she thought to herself. "You shouldn't think like that," she said to him.

Not long after they had a violent parting of the ways, then kissed and made up. But he told her, "I'm afraid you're in love with me." And she told him, "You're afraid you're in love with me."

And so, days before graduation, the friendship ended. On the last day -- the last day they were to ever see each other -- he came to say goodbye. He exploded into her room, tears down his cheeks, and sobbed in her arms.

"I'd hoped you'd miss me," she said, "but I didn't expect this."

"I didn't either," he whispered. "Kelly died in a plane crash last night."