Ask right questions, fall madly in love

Dr. Shahar Madjar, Journal columnist

“Winter is coming,” Ed told me.

“It is the middle of July, and not a cloud in the sky,” I reminded him.

“It is coming, nevertheless,” Ed said, “This is the Upper Peninsula, and winter is always lurking behind even the brightest days.”

“What difference does it make all of a sudden?” I asked.

“What good is winter, if you don’t have a woman to warm up against underneath a thick blanket?”

“If it’s a woman you’re after, Ed, shouldn’t you find a woman for all seasons? I asked.

Ed thought for a moment. “Yes, doctor, of course. An all-season woman, a year-round companion, a four-season relationship–that’s what my heart desires. And it turns out, doc, that to fall in love with somebody, anybody, is a simple matter of asking the right questions.”

“Questions? Right questions? Can you just tell me what is going on?” I asked.

“I read about it in The New York Times,” Ed told me as if sharing a secret, “a gal called Mandy Len Catron–a writer, or a reporter, I never heard of her before–she wrote an article and called it To Fall in Love with Anyone, Do This. Can you believe it, doc? It turns out that all you need is to ask the right questions, 36 of them questions, then look into the eyes of this stranger, for several minutes straight, and BOOM! Love ignites like a candle in the dark, and you fall for her, and she for you, and no more cold winters, doc.”

“I doubt it. It doesn’t make sense. Impossible,” I said.

“Want to bet?”

“I don’t ever bet,” I said.

“Why?”

“Because I hate to lose,” I said.

“But you’re sure that you’re right, doc, right?”

I’ll make a bet with you,” I told Ed reversing my position, for I remembered the rule my father told me–that he who makes the rules, wins the game. “But only if you agree to be a subject in a love experiment.”

“Now we are talking, doc. A love experiment?”

“To fall in Love with Anyone,” I said, “that means anyone, a total stranger, a random person?”

“Exactly,” Ed said.

“Here is how the experiment will go,” I tell Ed. “First, you will have to stumble upon a total stranger, a random person. Then ask her the 36 questions and she will ask you the 36 questions. You will then look into each other’s eyes for as long as you wish. If she falls in love with you, you win the bet.”

“And if not?”

“I win.”

“Deal,” Ed said and extended his hand, ready to shake mine.

“Just one more condition,” I said, “she will have to be a complete stranger, a random person.”

“And how will we guarantee she is a total stranger, a woman I found by pure chance?” Ed asked.

“Simple. We’ll hang a large map of the world on a wall. We’ll cover your eyes and hand you ten darts. You’ll throw the darts at the map. Some darts will hit oceans and seas, but the first dart to hit a country, say Columbia, or France, would determine your destination. You’ll board an airplane at an airport of your choice. There will most likely be several legs to your journey in each direction, and most likely, there would be several women that would sit next to you during these flights. Tell them about our experiment, Ed, and offer them to participate. And if you fall in love with one of them, any of them, and she loves you in return, you will win the bet.

“And who will pay for the flight?” Ed asked me.

“Whoever loses the bet,” I said.

“Should I win,” Ed summarized to himself, “I will have the love of my life, and a free ticket to a random destination. I am so excited, doc.”

“And no more lonely winters either, Ed,” I said.

A map and ten darts. Ed found himself on a journey from Ironwood, Michigan to London, England. There were three flights in each direction, and a total of eight women he tried to engage. And who won the bet, you wonder? I shall return.

Editor’s note: Dr. Shahar Madjar is a urologist at Aspirus and the author of “Is Life Too Long? Essays about Life, Death and Other Trivial Matters.” Contact him at smadjar@yahoo.com.