The Sanctity of Divorce
"The worst crisis in 60 years!" screams the British press of the impending royal divorce. If Prince Charles succeeds Mumsie to the throne, he will be the first divorced monarch for two centuries! His main squeeze, Camilla Parker Bowles, is already "sprucing up" for a more public role!
While the Brits are pissing in their knickers over such things, back here on planet Earth, marriages crumble into divorce every hour without a single rattle of teacup and saucer. In San Francisco alone, the Superior Court processes an average of 15 divorces a day, and some divorce assistance attorneys handle up to 50 cases simultaneously.
"We've seen a real boom in divorces since January, and I don't know why," says Cathy, a paralegal for Divorce Centers of California. "And it's not just young people. We've had couples who've been married 15, 20 years."
(British divorce isn't just an overblown media monster, it also has funny names. "Decree nisi" is the first stage, where a divorce is initially obtained after two years of formal separation; in America, decree nisi usually runs along the lines of "I'm taking the house and kids; you can have the car." England's second stage is "decree absolute," the final dissolving of the marriage; in the States that translates to "Sign the papers, or I won't stop calling!")
Divorce happens to everyone, even stick-up-the-ass royalty -- people are only human -- but if San Francisco's press slobbered over every divorce in town, our newspapers would start sounding like Fleet Street gossips:
After a fruitful Saturday morning in the Marshalls shoe department, Leticia MacTavish and Kate Groob arrived with their children for a divorcees holiday in the main dining area of the Civic Center McDonald's, 48 hours after the start of proceedings in Leticia's divorce from Hugo MacTavish, an unemployed drunk and topless-bar aficionado. Their public transit metroliner snapped to a halt on Market Street, and the party, including Kate's two sons -- Stig, 7; and Benny, 4, a county health clinic Ritalin case study -- were swept away in the excitement of the crowd waiting in line for the pay toilet. Photographers were completely fooled. The vacationing newly single mothers sat unnoticed at a picturesque window table overlooking the Carl's Jr. and watched their children play with a custodian's mop.
When the Navy vacates Treasure Island in September 1997, if City Hall gets its way, Bay Bridge motorists may be treated to the sight of hundreds of homeless indigents wandering along the road, perhaps even sauntering into rush-hour traffic to clean windshields. Board of Supes President Kevin Shelley is all excited over their far-fetched scheme to designate a planned 375 out of 1,100 housing units to the homeless, who would share residential areas with the wealthy.
Besides making the island into some sort of ostracized, panhandlers' Molokai, this idea completely forgets a basic tenant of the moneyed set -- to be as far away from the great unwashed as possible. Who wants to wake up one morning and see his next-door neighbor peeing on the 733i?
But, if we're gonna do it, let's not have Shelley and his team stop at mere neighborhood-sharing. Think of the missed marketing opportunities. Why not incorporate the homeless theme into the other Treasure Island plans for hotels and a theme park? Stay in the legendary Emperor Norton Suite! Ride the Wild Wino!
The first person who peddles the "Indigent Island Swim Team" T-shirt is going to make a mint.
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