Love is a Fallacy

I got this article from my friend about 2-3 months ago. A good one. Check it out!


Love Is a Fallacy – Written by Max Shulman

Cool was I and logical. My brain was as powerful as a dynamo, as precise as a chemist’s scales, as penetrating as a scalpel. I was only eighteen.

It is not often that one young has such a giant intellect. Take, for example,
Petey Burch, my roommate at the University of Minnesota. Same age, same
background, but dump as an ox. A nice enough fellow, you understand, but nothing upstairs.

One afternoon I found Peter lying on his bed with an expression of such distress on his face that I immediately diagnosed appendicitis.

“Don’t move,” I said. “Don’t take a laxative. I’ll get a doctor.

“Raccoon,” he mumbled thickly.

“I want a raccoon coat,” he wailed.

I perceive that his trouble was not physical, but mental.

“Why do you want a raccoon coat?”…

“All the Big Men on Campus are wearing them.

Where’ve you been?”

“In the library,” I said, naming a place not frequented by Big Men on Campus.
He leaped from the bed and paced the room,

“I’ve got to have a raccoon coat,” he said passionately.

“I’ve got to!”

“Peter, why? Look at it rationally. Raccoon coats are unsanitary. They shed.
They smell bad. They weigh too much. They’re unsightly. They-“

“You don’t understand,” he interrupted impatiently.

“It’s the thing to do… I’d give anything for a raccoon coat. Anything!”

My brain, that precision instrument, slipped into high gear.

“Anything?” I asked, looking a him narrowly.

“Anything,” he affirms in ringing tones.

I stroked my chin thoughtfully. It so happened that I knew where to get my
hands on a coat. My father had had on one in his undergraduate days; it lay
now in a trunk in the attic back home. It also happened that Petey had something I wanted. He didn’t have it exactly, but at least he had first rights on it. I refer to his girl, Polly Espy….

I was a freshman in law school. In a few years I would be out in practice. I
was well aware of the importance of the right kind of wife in furthering
a lawyer’s career. The successful lawyers I had observed were, almost without
exception, married to beautiful, gracious, intelligent women. With one
omission, Polly fitted these specifications perfectly. Beautiful she was…
Gracious she was Intelligent she was not. In fact, she veered in the opposite direction. But I believed that under my guidance she would smarten up. At any
rate, it was worth a try. It is, after all, easier to make a beautiful
dumb girl smart than to make an ugly girl beautiful.

“Petey,” I said, “are you in love with Polly Espy?”

“I think she’s a keen kid,” he replied, “but I don’t know if you’d call it
love. Why?”
“Do you,” I asked, “have any kind of formal arrangement with her? I mean are
you going steady or anything like that?”

“No. We see each other quite a bit, but we both have other dates. Why?”

“Is there,” I asked, “any other man for whom she has a particular fondness?”

“Not that I know of. Why?”

I nodded with satisfaction. “In other words, if you were out of the picture, the field would be open. Is that right?”

“I guess so. What are you getting at?”

“Nothing, nothing,” I said innocently, and took my suitcase out of the closet.

“Where are you going?” asked Petey.

“Home for the weekend.” I threw a few things into the bag.


“Look,” I said to Petey when I got back Monday morning. I threw open the
suitcase and revealed the huge, hairy, gamy object that my father had worn
in his Stutz Bearcat in 1925.

“Holy Toledo!” said Petey reverently. He plunged his hands into the raccoon
coat and then his face.

“Holy Toledo!” he repeated fifteen or twenty times.

“Would you like it?” I asked.

“Oh, yes!” he cried, clutching the greasy pelt to him. Then a canny look came
into his eyes. “What so you want for it?”

“Your girl,” I said, mincing no words…

He flung the coat from him. “Never,” he said stoutly…

I sat down in a chair and pretended to read a book, but out of the corner of
my eye I kept watching Petey. He was a torn man. First he looked at the coat
with the expression of a waif at a bakery window. Then he turned away and
set his jaw resolutely. Then he looked back at the coat, with even more longing in his face. Then he turned away, but with so much resolution this time. Back and forth his head swiveled, desire waxing, resolution waning. Finally he didn’t turn away at all; he just stood and stared with mad lust at the coat.

“It isn’t as though I was in love with Polly,” he said thickly, “Or going
steady or anything like that.”…

“Try on the coat,” said I.

He complied. The coat bunched high over his ears and dropped all the way down to his shoe tops. He looked like a mound of dead raccoons.

“Fits fine,” he said happily. I rose from my chair. “It is a deal?” I asked, extending my hand.

He swallowed.

“It’s a deal,” he said and shook my hand.


lets continue to the love is a fallacy (2)


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