Erich Segal, author of the popular novel Love Story, died last Sunday at the age of 72 from complications of Parkinson’s disease.

The 1970 novel that made him famous was a weepie about Oliver and Jenny, two college students who fall in love and marry … shortly after which Jenny suffers a tragically melodramatic death from cancer. A huge bestseller, the book was made into an even more popular movie starring Ryan O’Neal and Ali McGraw … all of which provides added proof to support the contention that the 1970s were mostly crap.

The character of Oliver was, according to Segal, a composite of two Harvard students he knew: Al Gore and Tommy Lee Jones. Which would, conceivably, make him a block of wood with a bad complexion.

The inane catchphrase, “Love means never having to say you’re sorry,” may be laid at the feet of Segal. Inane? Hell, yes: Anyone who has ever been in a loving relationship of long duration knows that being able to say you’re sorry (and meaning it!) is the mark of a mature, serious relationship.

Segal was a professor at Yale writing about Harvard students, which may partially explain his ridiculous perspective on romantic love. A Princeton man would have known better.

Requiescat in pace, Professor Segal. Love means being sorry to say you’re dead.


Illustration: Posted by the author, inspired by Robert Indiana’s iconic 1996 LOVE graphic.

Steve Krodman

Steve Krodman

Steve Krodman, AKA the Bard of Affliction, lives in the steaming suburbs of Atlanta with his wife and two cats. He is partial to good food, fine wine, tasteful literature, and Ridiculous Poetry. Most significantly, he has translated the Mr. Ed theme song into four languages.

  1. From what I remember Love Story was the original chick flick that guys really had to be in love (pw) to let their girl friends talk them into going to see the movie.

  2. I always thought that “Love means never etc.” was meant for people who were involved in S&M. Not being that type, I’ve been sorry a lot.

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