The Pond Of Vanoise
( Originally Published 1916 )
AT Romille, near Fougeres, in France, there is a pretty pond, the pond of the Vanoise it is called.
From twenty leagues around they used to come there to drown themselves, says the Paris Figaro. The pond of the Vanoise attracted the candidates for suicide, as if its placid waters exercised an evil spell. In vain the place was watched. Every day or so a body was found.
The inhabitants of Romille, calm Bretons who love life, strongly disapproved of this use of their pond as an extinguisher of vital sparks. They had a meeting, they passed resolutions, they made a motion and took a vote. It was carried. On the banks of the pool they put up signs:
"Defense de se noyer sous peine d'amende." Which may be translated, "Drowning one's self is prohibited under penalty of law."
And the beauty of it is that, since these placards have been placed, no one has dared drown himself in the pond of the Vanoise.
The simplicity and effectiveness of this plan commend it as suitable for universal adoption. At one Alexandrian stroke any civic or social Gordian knot may be loosed.
Are we tired of political bosses, lobbyists, and corruptionists ? Simply pass a law that such per-sons be hereby forbidden to practise their arts and are ordered to go to farming.
Why trifle longer with burglary, arson, and murder? Be it resolved that such offenses be from now on prohibited. And there you are. It is like Columbus and the egg. So simple you never thought of it.
Are we aweary of the strife of opinion? Let us legislate that all people shall, beginning the first of January, be required to think as we think. Then shall we lapse into summer calm and none shall any more argue.
Why be offended further by the drinking of alcoholic liquor, by the use of tobacco, by the end-seat hog, by the slit skirt, by the X-ray robe, by peroxide hair, by crowded street cars, by delayed railway trains, by political parties that do not fulfil their pledges, by gum-chewing and bad grammar?
Let the legislature or city council simply print a number of placards and insert properly paid notices in the newspapers.
"Defense to do any of these things sous peine d'amende."
Just a simple twist of the wrist. The millennium is right here in a minute.