Amor vincit omnia. Love conquers all, or so the saying goes. A beautiful thing to believe. Unfortunately, then there was the day when it all came true.
It all came true, it all came true; suddenly, love conquered all. Literally. It worked, it really worked. It started to happen. That thing that you have for your neighbor’s wife, whom you covet? Suddenly she loved you back. That unrequited crush on the cute guy in the next cubicle? Love bloomed there too. Ditto for the hot coffee girl at Starbucks, the barista, you know the one. Love; blooming magical love, and it worked on the people in your college classes, the old lover that you looked up one day, the ex who had dumped you humiliatingly. If you loved them, then they loved you back. Amor vincit omnia.
But then things grew complicated. Sure, you loved your neighbor’s wife, who loved you because you loved her, but she also loved her husband because he loved her, but then her husband confusingly loved another husband, of all things, a husband who lived three houses down the street, and that husband secretly loved a 20-year-old coed who now loved him back too but that coed loved a hockey player who loved another coed and so on and on and on…
Mass confusion was the result, with all of this suddenly requited love running riot. There were ménage à trois, and ménage à quatre, and ménage à neuf and ménage à other French numbers that we don’t know. It was an exciting time, but a dangerous time. Suddenly there was all this swinging and other loose sexuality. It really was like we were living in Europe or some shit, which many people pointed out. “It’s like we’re in Europe or some shit,” they said. Or, “This ain’t goddamn France, you know.” But now it was like it was France. Or something.
Now there were so many love letters to send, so many glamour-shot sexy photos to take, reclining against fur rugs with candles in the background, and then all the holiday arrangements, so complicated, what with everyone in love with and loved by twenty-nine to seventy-two people or so. The holidays were just a disaster. Who to spend Christmas with? Who, for god’s sake, to spend Valentine’s Day with? Ugh. Just really fucking ugh. It was all so complicated.
“Holy shit,” we all said. “This is a disaster.”
And so we decided to cancel love. Love was over. Love was through. On a “hot or not” quiz in a glossy magazine, “love” would have decidedly rated a “not.” People were just plain sick of it all.
And so we decided to cancel love. By law, passed by Congress and signed by the President, conversation was limited to dull, rote, non-engaging topics, topics that would quash all love and bring an end to any flirtation, topics such as, So How Is Your Son/Daughter Doing in School These Days, Getting Straight “A”s or What? Or, I Hear That You Got a New Car, Does It Get Good Mileage? Or, Do You Have That PowerPoint Presentation That I Asked for on Wednesday?
All of this soon dulled our ardor, and love was officially cancelled. Cancelled like a bad sitcom pilot. Cancelled like a baseball game in the rain; love had made it through the fourth inning, but not through the fifth, and so love didn’t even count, officially.
Likewise, by law, physical stimulation was limited to emotionless bathroom sex in nightclubs or ponderous one-night stands, meaningless hookups in apartments, interstate highway rest stops, national parks, and so on.
Some people did feel that banning love like this was a bad idea, a really bad idea. “Banning love?” they said. “How dare we? Who — after all, who — do we really think that we are?” It was a good question: who did we think we were?
On the other hand, some felt that banning love was a good idea: “Ahh, it was such a bother anyway,” they said. “The divorces, the tragic deaths, the long distance relationships, all the heartbreak. Goodbye. Goodbye to all of that.”
Good idea? Bad idea? The debate was somewhat moot. For without love, most people found that they were soon sick of meaningless random sex. (Which shocked a lot of people, by the way. Most people thought that they would never get sick of meaningless sex. But they were wrong.)
Without sex, soon there was a lack of children, and then the world was depopulated, and everyone was dead, with symbolic Western-style tumbleweeds rolling along through stark cities, in the sudden breeze. Everyone dead: this was another debatably Good Idea?/Bad Idea? sort of thing. However, mercifully, with no one left alive, there was no one to carry on the debate. Nor was there anyone left to carry on the debate over love, whether it was the best thing ever or just a really bad concept from the start. Only the tumbleweeds were left to debate, and they didn’t debate, and were imaginary, created by the author, and never existed in the first place.