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, Las 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, Tolstoy, 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.

She was a violin and he a cello. All that stood between them was the conductor.

But when the maestro bent over his score, the flirtation began. She'd catch the cello's eye -- then quickly look away. He'd make her laugh out loud -- in the middle of Rachmaninov -- by putting his bow to his mouth, pretending it was an oboe.

A viola finally brought them together. She asked them both to play in a quartet.

They began going out together after rehearsals -- insisting that they were just friends since he was seeing another violin and she was dating a trumpet player. Over Lido's pizza, red wine and candlelight they talked late into the night.

He says now that he'd loved her all along. But she didn't realize the depths of her affection until she heard him play Beethoven and he sent chills up her spine.

She ditched the trumpet player; he broke up with the violin. Then one night, when their quartet was playing a dinner party, he leaned toward a passing waiter, bowed a roll without missing a beat and offered it to her.

Glissando. Crescendo. They were married.

They both took classes preparing to audition for orchestras. It soon became obvious, however, that the chance of their acceptance at the same orchestra was slim. Playing in different orchestras and living apart was unacceptable.

After much soul searching they moved back to Washington. He's going for his doctorate in computers. She's in retail. But they still make melodious music together.