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 industryu 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 is 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.

There was a shortage of rock 'n' roll bands that summer in Washington. it was the post-acid and pre-punk period, when Emmylou Harris played the back room at Clyde's and no one had heard of Hustle lessons.

His name was Mark and he was a drummer and she was in love. Madly in love. He never knew it.

Mark's girlfriend had been killed in a car accident the year before and friends said he never got over it. She knew him slightly, a sad, funny creature with a wispy blond mustache who sat alone at parties, sipping wine and smoking cigarettes.

She decided to save him.

Her friends has arranged the date. They would go to the bar in Georgetown where his band was playing Saturday night.There was a party after ward. It was perfect, she thought. Mark would fall in love with her. She would polish his drumsticks and listen to Gene Krupa records. He would dedicate his 10-minute drum solos to her.

Saturday night arrived and she and her friends decided to eat dinner first. They drove to Maine Avenue for a bushel of claims. Back at her apartment, they ate steamed clams and raw clams and clams with funny, rubbery tails. She dipped them in melted butter and some hot red sauce and before she knew it, more than five dozen had been consumed.

When they arrived at the bar, the band was playing. They sat in the front row and Mark acknowledged her prsence with a deft touch of the cymbal.

Suddenly, her stomach growled. Then churned. Then exploded. Clams with their rubbery tails were doing belly flops in her abdomen. She ran to the women's room, where she stayed for the next 45 minutes, being sick to the strains of "Something in the Way She Moves."

By the time she emerged, pale and forlorn, the band stopped playing. Mark had gone to the party without her.

Years later, she heard he had moved to Cafifornia and was working in a department store. Someone said he had found Jesus and had given up rock 'n' roll. She still thinks of him, she says, every time she sees clams casino on a menu.