A few weeks ago I had a hearing in a small town and arrived about twenty minutes early. I sat down on a pew in the back of the courtroom to finish reviewing my notes and wait, and this is what I heard.
“Sir, isn’t it true that you offered a young black woman money in exchange for sexual services?” asked a man who was evidently the wife’s, and soon to be ex-wife’s, attorney. The man on the stand was a white man dressed in jeans and a sweatshirt who appeared to be about 45 years old.
The man responded with “I plead the 5th.” How do these judges keep a straight face? This stuff is hilarious. The partner I was with kept looking at me and making wide eyes and snickering.
“Did you offer a teenage bank employee money to spend some time alone with you?”
“I plead the 5th.”
And so on. Guess who the next witness is? Yep, the 19 year old black female who he followed after she got off from work. He pulled up beside her, blocking traffic, and told her he needed to talk to her. She assumed it was related to work, but instead he told her that he found her sexy and said he could help her make a lot more money than she did at the bank if she’d spend some time alone with him. And yes, he did all of this while married.
During the examination of the wife, we learned that despite their seemingly dire financial situation which on occasion has “necessitated” check kiting, they had managed to pay for her $11,000 face lift, a trip to Vegas, and of course, a Mustang. The judge reprimanded them for this financial foolishness, by the way.
“Did you deny your husband sex on your anniversary?” the attorney asked. What? Is this really relevant?
“I’ve never said no to sex.” Oh no, she didn’t just say that. I am, of course, about to laugh like a ten year old, covering my face with my file folder.
“In fact the only time we didn’t have sex that he wanted to was when he couldn’t perform. And that happened at least 5 or 6 times,” she responded in all seriousness.
The wife went on to detail their sex life, her attempts at spicing it up, and so forth. Needless to say it was amusing to me, an outsider, but it was yet another reminder of why I never want to get a divorce. All of that stuff being public heaped on top of anguish and disappointment. And while it was amusing in a sad kind of way—the same kind of way I feel when I catch a second of Maury or Jerry—it made me think that all of our lives might look a little ridiculous if they were put on display and we were cross-examined by an attorney endeavoring to make us look bad, particularly when it comes to our decisions in romantic relationships.
It’s amazing how we can justify our decisions and rationalize our behavior at the time, and who is really normal anyway? Families who have seemed so “together” have almost always, upon closer examination, been flawed and marked by their own problems. Whether it’s living on the edge of financial solvency as to keep up appearances or other skeletons in the closet, we are all struggling in some way. So while certain behavior seems ridiculous to me, I need to remember that a lot of what I do is awful foolish too. For example, one of my resolutions from last year was to never throw up as a result of drinking alcohol again. The last time it happened I never even made it into the first bar we went to and was absolutely miserable. Given that I was 27 at the time I made the resolution and don't even drink that often, that might seem retarded, but I'm glad to report that I've kept it. And given my spotty tolerance and a variety of bartenders (one night I could barely sit up in the hot tub after a martini; another time I had three and didn't feel anything), I've had to watch myself. Anyone else have/have had a "ridiculous" resolution?