A New York Times article, A Best Friend - You Must Be Kidding, described how schools now seek to discourage children from having best friends because one-on-one relationships are not the healthiest way for children to learn to relate to others.
When I sent the article to my cousin, he described how his ten-year-old son's school won't let him sit with his best friend on the school bus.
I understand that such intense relationships have their downsides - just the way intense love relationships that high school kids (and older people) form are not always in their best interests (I wrote Love and Addiction, after all).
But has it come to this - mental health authorities regulating who we can have relationships with? Is this getting anywhere near the old person with Alzheimer's who decides he might as well die - if the only way we can avoid dysfunctional interactions is to have public health officials choose whom we spend time with, are we still worthy of being called human?
All right, so it would eliminate really embarrassing press conferences by religious governors who got the hots for Latin senoritas. But it will also cut out a lot of literature.
Remember Dante's idealized lover, Beatrice, in The Inferno (NO, I don't mean the video game)? Well, the Florence school authorities decided that Dante would be better off hanging out with a group of his peers.
Dante: "Peers, your golden curls are like leaves from the tree of life, that sustain me in my journey through purgatory."
Peers: "Which one of us do you mean, Dante (giggling) - Georgio?"
Florence school authorities: "Dante, you need to get your head out of the nether depths of hades - we've made an appointment for you to see a doctor for a prescription of anti-Ds - you'll love your new brightened outlook!"
Dante: "Is that a potient from Lucifer that you offer me? Where is my angel, Beatrice? I would rather spend eternity in hell!"
Florence school authorities: "Suite yourself, Danta - pull the lever, Ernesto!"