WEST GOSHEN TWP, Pa.—Pascal was on to something when he wrote in Pensées, “All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” That was 349 years ago, Gentle Reader, and people weren’t good at the sitting-quietly thing. Indeed, wrote The Guardian recently, “. . . they’d do almost anything else: play boules, start the Franco-Spanish war, and so on” to escape their thoughts and themselves.
People still suck at being alone, suck so badly that even when they’re not alone, they go around hugging each other all the time to assure themselves they’re really not alone. How needy, pitiful, obsessive, sad, detestable, and disgusting is that? They ought to be made to go through a day with their arms at their sides—at gun point if necessary—and to wear a sign that reads: “I’m a sad, wretched, soulless fuck who used to be on Cuddler.”
In May 2009, The New York Times reported, ” . . . the hug has become the favorite social greeting when teenagers meet or part these days.” What took The Times so long to notice? We became aware of this trend among teenagers and would-be teenagers in 1977 in Ocean City, Maryland, where a woman of no import whom we knew briefly started clamping her arms around her friends and vice versa whenever they met, even if they had last seen each other the fucking day before.
In order to thwart this voracious tide, schools in California, Connecticut, Illinois, New York, Iowa, Florida, Texas, and Cambridge, England, have enforced hugging bans and no-touch rules. The federal government should follow suit, banning hugging in at least all the spaces where smoking is banned, which will soon be everywhere.
Those of us who would rather brave root canal without the benefit of anesthesia than submit to invasions of our personal space can take joy in the fact that tree hugger and bunny hugger are terms of derision in some enlightened circles. Perhaps there is hope after after all. In the meantime, remember the Book of Daze℠ Golden Rule of Hugging: If you ain’t fuckin’ it, don’t hug it. Amen.
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