The Man Who Fell in Love

from Another Forty Fables

A man woke up one morning with a smile on his face and a song in his heart – skipped breakfast and rushed out to work. For the man had fallen in love! But alas, he had fallen in love with the human race.

“I wonder what they’ll be wearing today?” he wondered at the bus stop. “I wonder if they’ll remember who I am?”

Smirking, he boarded the bus – but the passengers looked away. His winks and nudges were pointedly ignored. His attempts at conversation met with glowering indifference.

“Hmm – ” he thought. “Glowering indifference is so very alluring.”

At work, his advances fell on stonier ground. He blew kisses, wrote notes and gave flowers to just about everyone. And working as he did for the railway company each day offered endless opportunities for effusive greetings – and emotional farewells.

“Platform fifteen for the semi-fast service, departing eleven o’ nine – ” he would announce. “Goodbye! Safe journey! I love you! Write to me!”

“This behaviour must stop,” his supervisor told him. “It is inappropriate and unnatural in a railwayman.”

“You’re just saying that,” laughed the man. “You’ve obviously never been in love.”

“And you – ” said his boss – “have obviously never been unemployed.”

“You will never quash our love!” cried the man to the skies. “You can try to keep us apart but we are destined to be together!”

– at which point they broke the door down and dragged him away from the microphone.

The man’s friends had difficulty understanding his new-found passion for their species.

“Look at our background,” they told him. “Don’t you realise? We are nothing but trouble.”

“My mind is made up,” chuckled the man. “I won’t be talked out of it.”

“What about our dark side?” they growled. “Greed? Dishonesty? War?”

“You were pushed,” the man replied. “You had a difficult childhood.”

And so he continued – forgiving and forgetting – writing poetry and aphorisms; and complementing total strangers upon their appearance.

Now the human race didn’t know what to make of all this – it had never been so flattered. But it was uneasy and unsettled, it had been hurt by previous relationships. So when the man took to writing graffiti on its walls and singing at its windows in the evening, it called the police. After all, it was only human.

“You are charged with being excessively nice and harassing just about everybody,” a magistrate told him.

“You’re in denial,” the man insisted. “I can see you’re upset – do you want a cuddle?”

“We hardly know you,” said the magistrate. “And you hardly know us. The court is undecided.”

Inevitably, this only encouraged him.

“I love you,” he whispered to passers by. “Love you!” he repeated on the telephone – dialling random numbers in the middle of the night. “I love you!”

People began to get cross with the man. They returned his smiles with scowls. And the man became morose and possessive.

“You don’t love the human race,” he told a charity collector. “You only want their money.”

“You don’t understand them,” he told politicians. “You’re full of empty words.”

“If you really loved them – ” he told a priest, “you wouldn’t feel the need to keep saying it.”

“You don’t care,” he told a well-respected doctor. “You’re only interested in their bodies.”

He gave them his time. He gave them his attention. Valentine’s Day left him bankrupt. And not one member of the race had so much as kind word in reply.

“How do we know you really mean it?” they said. “This has all happened too suddenly.”

“We won’t be rushed,” they said. “We haven’t decided if we trust you.”

Late one night, he finally snapped. “All right, if that’s what you want!” he sobbed. “So be it!”

Broken and bitter, he turned his back on the past – and took a job in telesales.

“People? I’ve had it with them – ” he told a sales conference some months later. “They don’t have feelings – and neither do I.”

And the man was applauded as a sage and a philosopher, uncorrupted by thoughts of altruism.

The human race soon found somebody else.

Moral: And they always will – the hussies.

© Adam Acidophilus 2000