Anything but blue skies. (Joe Raedle/GETTY IMAGES)

I feel a great disturbance in the Force, as though a million punchlines cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced.

Life post-Cain would be vapid and empty. Without him in the race, I would be left wander through my days a silent shadow of my former self. And instead of people wanting to read about politics to see what zany antics Cain and the Gang had gotten up to in the most recent debate, they would only read about pieces that included multiple references to Kim Kardashian.

The room swims about me.

Herman Cain can’t go yet. It’s barely November, and it’s the wrong November. There will be time, Herman! Don’t you want to see how many more women will emerge from the woodwork? Also, where is this woodwork that women keep emerging from? I bet Hugh Hefner has some installed in his mansion.

And this is only a preview of the jokes that I would make without you, Herman. Surely you see how terrible this would be.

Look, Herman, it’s not as though the GOP field is devoid of figures of fun. I know this. But they’re all so predictable. All the best jokes about Gingrich were made in the 1990s. Don’t make jokesters go back to combing Michele Bachmann’s remarks for minor historical inaccuracies. That was not as fun as everyone pretended it was. Mitt Romney? What are we supposed to do with him? Rick Perry is the best joke left in the race, but watching him is like watching a dog try to walk around in sneakers. It’s funny at first, but then it looks so painful for the dog. Rick Santorum? We can’t get past the name.

Ron Paul? Nobody wants to talk about Ron Paul, because every time we mention him, hordes of people descend on our blogs and leave irate comments complaining that we don’t talk about him more often. Or, for any Ron Paul fans reading this piece, I mean, “We wouldn’t joke about Ron Paul, because of the tremendous respect we all have for him. He’s the gold standard!”

Barack Obama has a, uh, teleprompter, and sometimes he calls corpsmen “corpsemen,” and one time he made fun of his daughter’s braces, and, er, hey, that Joe Biden’s pretty zany —

Please, Herman, don’t go.

Millions of people are suddenly on tenterhooks. Cain is making the verb “reassessing” exciting. “Reassess more slowly, Herman!” is a phrase I certainly never thought I’d utter. But I can’t stand to see him leave.

The whole campaign was a highlight reel. The singing! The mustache! The pizza! “9-9-9!” That smoking ad! That creepy, slow smile! Remember when he was the front-runner, and everyone attempted to generate serious commentary on his plans as he looked on and attempted not to giggle?

He stood there at debates in his gold tie looking as if he were having a ball. He was certainly selling a lot of books.

And then came the sexual-harassment allegations. Dismissing him as a joke didn’t work. But he was quickly being transformed into a different sort of punchline, less zany than creepy. The mustache didn’t help. Things were beginning to stick. The odds that he might prevail were getting slimmer all the time.

As long as my wife believes I should stay in this race, I’m staying in this race,” Cain said. How long will that last, at this rate? Even if he manages to dodge the sexual-harassment allegations, 13 alleged years of an affair is a lot to come to terms with, never mind those tender book inscriptions.

Maybe he jumped the shark. Maybe he jumped it months ago.

I don’t think he has, but I have to concoct this fiction to console myself, or life would seem too pointless to contemplate.  

Say what you will about Herman Cain, the man was the best joke we had. He can’t leave just yet.