Saturday, April 23, 2011

3/24 - DP in Wonderland

Well, there is plenty about which I can wonder this week. I came into today wondering about how the Prudecutor could advise the Monday chatter who could not be unconvinced that her brother deliberately impregnated his girlfriend in order to be walking on the heels of her own pregnancy that it would be best if she were instead to turn her thoughts to welcoming her impending new niece or nephew. I suppose that course of action just might be for the best for the LW, but what a terrible thing to do to the poor child. Nobody needs an aunt locked in an eternal sibling battle with his or her father. The LW is clearly not a nice person, and in such a case an estrangement is clearly the best thing for the most innocent parties in the case, the unborn children.

It appears that the Prudecutor believes that Love has some sort of magical redemptive power that will turn evil people into good. Wrong, wrong, wrong! Love can be a force for good or for ill, and it generally bodes ill to be at all close with nasty pieces of work such as the LW in question. There is an imaginary line beyond which, once people have crossed, a loving relationship will bring more ill than good. Monday's LW, who insisted on clinging fervently to her sibling rivalry uber alles, is well over the line. She should have nothing to do with any newborn children. In a better world, she wouldn't even have anything to do with her own; they would be raised by governesses and tutors.

L1: Now here, I actually have more serious wonders about LW1 than about the Prudecutor. But do not think she gets a pass. I am half inclined almost to consider admiring her restraint in confining her moralizing to advising LW1 to attempt to reconnect emotionally to his wife during his illness. But note the use of reconnect. Why assume that LW1 and W1 had an emotional connection in the first place? Unless I'm told their romance at some point, I never presume to assume that any two people married for love (although it is interesting to wonder whether that might not be a more reasonable assumption in the case of a same-sex couple; it's great fun living at this time just to see the way one's thoughts undergo necessary adjustments over the M word). There are a variety of possible stories behind the origin of their marriage.

But LW1's assumptions outdo even the Prudecutor's. He assumes that his wife and children would be devastated to learn of the affair. Now this is certainly a plausible possibility. And LW1 is tolerably well acquainted with W1 and their progeny. But he seems oddly positioned. He has been having an affair for ten years. Presumably this means that he has spending a large quantity of his leisure time out of the presence of his wife and children. Even if he is correct in assuming that they know nothing of his Great Secret (in which assumption he appears to be living up to the tradition of such company as Henry VIII), he is hardly in a position to say with any certainty that they are entirely dependent upon some concept of his fidelity for their peace of mind. Who knows what his wife has been doing all this time?

I actually am going to give the Prudecutor some credit for being Sneaky and Devious on this one. She clearly hopes that LW1 will "reconnect" with his wife, decide to end the affair and then dump Peggy without any settlement whatsoever.

Now I am entirely in favour of discretion being involved in the settlement. An excess of discretion might carry unforeseen difficulties, as is witnessed in the similar case of Emma Woodhouse cheerfully assuming a parentage among the gentry for her little protegee Harriet Smith, only to have a very narrow escape at the end of the novel when it is revealed that Harriet's father came merely from the mercantile class, and that poor Harriet, who had narrowly escaped all Emma's grandiose plans, was not a gentleman's daughter after all.

But in the true spirit of the ingenious, I have a solution of the utmost cleverness. Given their age difference, LW1 should present Peggy to his wife and children as his natural daughter. Shades of Harriet Smith indeed! Recall that Peggy is some ten years or more older than the marriage. They can easily devise some story about Peggy's birth, and how her vindictive mother had kept all knowledge of her true circumstances from Peggy until she'd recently died. This works out quite neatly for everybody. Peggy will get a larger share of the estate as a natural daughter openly acknowledged than as a secret mistress, she will able to see a good deal more of LW1 during his illness, and, should W1 actually be living in some sort of LaLaLand in which she's happily married to a faithful husband, she can continue her residency there.

But it will amuse me greatly if the reading of LW1's will is the first time that W1 makes a public appearance accompanied by her girlfriend - especially if this happens during Homocentric August.

Moral: "What a connection she had been designing for Mr Knightley, or the Churchills - or even Mr Elton! The stain of illegitimacy unbleached by nobility or wealth would be a stain indeed."

L2: Now here I wonder how LW2 knew that the other patrons were speaking Japanese to each other. I have little to say here, other than that LW2 might reasonably suggest to management that, should the establishment be willing to provide the means for customers to leave donations or well-wishing letters, it would be gratefully received and utilized.

Come to think of it, Andy Murray was one of the children who attended the primary school in Scotland where there was a shooting tragedy. I distinctly recall there was an addressed publicized to which people could send letters. That sort of thing might be quite welcome.

Moral: "'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean - neither more nor less.'"

L3: There is so much about which to wonder on multiple fronts. I wonder at the Prudecutor's assumption that C3 actually have a regular pediatrician, and even more so at her blithe assumption that LW3 would know who the pediatrician's identity. While it is the sort of thing that one might know about a reasonably close friend, given that we live in a society where it is a bit of a stretch to assume that anyone has personal and particular access to health care of any sort, it does seem at least potentially a bit of a reach. Being unable to speak with authority about child malnutrition, I shall refrain from wondering about what standard of proof this evidence might be able to sustain. Most of all, though, I am inclined to wonder at LW3. What sort of person, given the likelihood, however great it might be, of conduct that would at least rise to the standard of neglect if not outright abuse, would conclude that intervention would end the friendship anyway and that distancing themselves from the problematic parents would solve the entire problem? That sounds rather Randian.

I suppose the thing to do might be to take whatever evidence can be amassed to LW3's own pediatrician for an expert opinion. Of course, LW3 will probably dislike the idea, as he will be billed for the consultation (it reminds me of Dandelion Dead and Constance Martin's reaction to the bickering between her father, the chemist, and the doctor about which of them will guarantee the fee of five pounds that will be required for the investigation of the attempted murder by poison of Connie's husband), but really it seems the least one can do for two children. Sigh.

Moral: "'If it had grown up,' she said to herself, 'it would have made a dreadfully ugly child: but it makes a rather handsome pig, I think.'"

L4: Well, there is much to wonder at here as well. One might wonder with some pleasure about LW4 being male and willing to insert himself into this brouhaha between his mother and one of her friends. Would that be sexist? One might wonder why I4 accepted the invitation; is she perhaps planning to hide buckets of pigs' blood to dump onto M4 at the crucial moment? Or perhaps I4 accepted the invitation with the intent of making amends. One might wonder how an anniversary party is going to be that much of a surprise, even with full cooperation from the conspirators and all their accomplices. One might wonder at the Prudecutor's assumption that this falling out between friends equates to whatever it was that occurred at the White House. But what I wonder at most is LW4's unchallenged assumption that the presence of I4 and her husband at the surprise party will ruin the evening for both LW4's parents. Who is his mother, the Queen of Hearts?

Here I can provide a personal example. My mother once had a friend who was one of the few women who could outlast her on the telephone. My mother was given to six-hour conversations, but her friend was generally good for nine. When they had a falling-out for some time, both couples were still part of a couple of local social groups, but while it lasted there was no effect on my father, unless perhaps he'd hoped that the social calendar would see a few cuts that never materialized. The friend died of cancer about 25 years ago, and for about 15 years now my mother has been living with the friend's widower. There's some financial reason why they are unable to marry.

I don't suppose it would do any harm for LW4 to contact I4 before the event and ask her if there is anything he can to to help mend the rift before the party rather than during or after. But I can't see how the invitation can be rescinded without running a serious risk of creating ill intent in I4. Then again, the chance of a surprise anniversary party going off properly and remaining a surprise is so slim that LW4 and S4 might well be advised just to be adults and acknowledge the party, which would seem to increase his options.

Moral: "The executioner's argument was, that you couldn't cut off a head unless there was a body to cut it off from: that he had never had to do such a thing before, and he wasn't going to begin at his time of life."

"The King's argument was that anything that had a head could be beheaded, and that you weren't to talk nonsense."

"The Queen's argument was that, if something wasn't done about it in less than no time, she'd have everybody executed, all round."

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