Not long ago, I received a disturbing message in my electronic mailbox. It read as follows:

FROM: Lena B. Katz

There’s a wolf in Pennsylvania. My friend heard it howling last week. A lone wolf’s howl. Nothin’s lonelier than a lone wolf. He’s far, far from the nearest wolves. Not much chance of a mate around here.


I don’t mean to alarm anyone by rebroaching the subject, but this electronic message lacked the quality that is correctness. True: There is a lone wolf in the great state of Pennsylvania. And yes: The wolf’s chances of finding a mate in Pennsylvania are slim. However, I believe the author was incorrect when she said, “Nothin’s lonelier than a lone wolf.” I have compiled an exhaustive ranking of things and loneliness. I draw your attention to numbers 1 through 5. All are lonelier than a lone wolf.

Most Lonely Things

1. Rocks — Because of their lack of awareness, rocks don’t know that other rocks, just like them, often surround them. Rocks can’t feel love, hate, happiness or acceptance. They can, however, feel loneliness. And they feel a lot of it.

2. Andrew Kleimeyer — Andrew is loneliness personified. He has been happily married for 15 years and has a child in the public education system. Andrew’s son recently received the Hustle Award for his performance in his preseason JV basketball tournament. He is first in his class and secretary of his student council. Nothing ever seems to be good enough for his father.

3. Elderly Inhabitants of Nursing Homes — This one is serious, guys. Millions of old people are abandoned by their so-called loved ones and simply left to wither away in nursing homes. It only takes a half-hour of your time once or twice a month to really brighten up someone’s life… I’m just kidding. Old people don’t have any feelings.

4. The Young Elvis Presley — Sure, he had his legions of fans and scores of imitators, but did they love him for who he was, or merely for what he represented? Were his friends there for him, or for his celebrity and riches? These doubts plagued him until his death. He died never knowing if anyone really cared for Elvis the man.

5. I don’t know why you expected the Elvis thing to be funny. Loneliness is not a happy thing. What if you were the 4th loneliest thing ever? Would you want people reading about you and laughing? I bet if you hooked up half as much as Elvis did, you wouldn’t care. Laugh it up, kids, because he’s making out with your great-grandmother right now.

6. Lone Wolf — The proof is trivial.

7. Wolves at Parties — They’re drinking, they’re dancing, they’re showing up with their best friend while wearing an “I’m With Stupid” T-shirt, but something inside just isn’t complete. Something there is about a wolf that is always lonely. That’s why they occasionally tend to keep to themselves. Like Robert Frost said, “Good [wolves] make good neighbors.”

8. Wolves That Participate in a Big Brother or Big Sister Program — These wolves are among the most content of their species. For every bit of himself a Big Brother gives, he gets twice as much back. Unfortunately, this is not enough to appease that part of the wolf that is still lonely. Big Sisters receive nothing in return for their efforts.

That is all. Nothing else in the whole world is lonely.