The only surprise from Monday is that I refuse to believe that the Prudecutor genuinely meant that she did not find a photo of a freshly folded load of laundry to be more erotic than a photo that might generate a rating rather towards the tail end of the alphabet. However, being the eternal defender, I can declare that All is Not Lost. I think I could even clear the Prudecutor of such a charge. I would imagine, in conference, and in such tones as it would make it quite clear what answers during cross-examination would have the best effect upon the jury, that the Prudecutor's skills in the gentle art of keeping house fall somewhat below those exemplary accomplishments frequently displayed by She Who Must Be Obeyed, that the Prudecutor would not even be able to identify the Cleaning Products Aisle in her favourite supermarket (assuming, of course, that she even had a favourite supermarket), and that perhaps, like Tony Timson, she might reasonably be incapable of identifying even so much as the location in the house of her own washing machine.
L1: Divorce. Three of these things belong together, as they sing on Sesame Street. Remove the inharmonious element, the wife. But drive her crazy first with suspicion, so that she will judged unfit to have custody of the children. Then there will be a really Happy Family. Or, if I am hired by the other side, cross-examination into the facts of the daughter's birth, who was identified as her father and why, her and her mother's relationship with him, LW1's potential for mending the relationship with his co-parent, and a variety of related topics could at least keep a good cross-examiner in daily refreshers for at least a couple of weeks.
L2: A & E. But quick - before they conclude the run of Hoarders or whatever that series is. These exploitative programs can really be life-altering. It might not be as much fun as managing to arrange an appearance before Mrs Justice Sheindlin or one of her ilk, but it's still useful.
L3: What kind of moron actually believes that a surprise party for someone on his own birthday is actually a surprise, let alone a welcome one? Remember the "success" of the surprise party thrown by Mizz Liz Probert at Froxbury Mansions in the Gloucester Road. Have as many parties as the old man would like (which might not be all that many when all is said and done; quite a few of these honourees would probably genuinely prefer NOT being the centre of attention at a large party). These events are usually used as weapons with which assorted party-throwers or -goers club each other. Case in point: the man who was a member of the wedding party for his closest friend, whose siblings, who were on the record as being opposed to his "lifestyle" and had been for some time, deliberately selected that date for their father's 75th birthday party. He was ordered by Dr Schlessinger to attend his father's birthday party.
And now the main comment:
L4: Oh, did the Prudecutor ever miss this one. What a pretty little gloss-over by LW4. Divorced and remarried with two little boys aged six and three. Now, what are the chances, Members of the Jury, that a woman with a newborn child and a three-year-old would have the time in three short years to become disenchanted with her husband, seek and obtain a divorce, and then, an appropriate amount of time after the divorce, meet a new and perfectly suitable suitor, undergo a courtship of reasonable length and remarry? That is quite a lot to achieve in the short space of three years (no need to add on however many months besides). Or how much more likely might it be that SF4 might just have happened to have been the cause of, or at least a large part of the motivation behind, the divorce? Think how much time that would have saved. Of course, one need not mention this during cross-examination of LW4 or SF4 if the case is otherwise going sufficiently well. It might be far better left and then remarked upon at length in Closing Remarks.
But there are others points on which one can dwell at length. LW4 has provided glowing testimony - but is she truly an unbiased witness? he's not coming across as one. Might there not be hidden instances of the dreaded A-word that she might just happen to be glossing over, or indeed of which she might not even be aware? Alternatively, could she have poisoned the well herself when they were still little boys? How did she treat BF4 and SF4 after the remarriage? Did she push too hard on the boys to recognize SF4 as "Daddy"? Did she undermine their relationship with BF4? The divorce and remarriage appear to have occurred during the height of the mania for divorced men to remove themselves from their children's lives on the grounds that it was better for the children to have only one father figure and for their routines not to be broken to smithereens by having to undergo disruptive visitation. How did LW4 and SF4 handle the death of the boys' father? Was it perhaps, tacitly if not openly, a relief, that at least they would only have one father, one whom LW4 currently loved, instead of a second one with a greater claim whom she'd grown to dislike or even hate?
And where does the Prudecutor get the idea that LW4 has the power to back up all these commands the Prudecutor recommends? If the sons have different memories of SF4 than LW4, who says that hers are more valid? And on whose description is he Grandpa - the sons'? their partner's? LW4's or SF4's? Also, is this a pointed omission; do they commemorate her birthday and Mother's Day? It would be rather rich on the part of the Prudecutor to demand more from them for their stepfather than they offer their mother. And what is LW4 supposed to do if she presents her list of commands to no effect? Finally, and perhaps most tellingly of all, where is the evidence that SF4 is crying his heart out over or has even noticed this horrible neglect on the part of his stepsons?
Does it really take an expert spinner of tales to produce a convincing portrait of a stereotypical woman with stereotypical female reactions to holidays, birthdays, High Holy Days, Low Holy Days, Six Month Anniversaries, etc., surrounded by three stereotypical men who could not care less about any holiday in the calendar except that it becomes an occasion on which they have to please a stereotypical woman who will have forty-two fits otherwise?
Now there is nothing wrong with LW4 initiating a discussion with her sons about why they act (or don't act) as they do. But such a discussion comes with the usual disclaimer. She should be prepared to hear something unpleasant by way of reply.
My parallel will reverse the genders here. To be a little more on the side of SF4, who, except perhaps for his taste in wives, has not yet given any indication of serious fault, I shall compare SF4 to Mrs Dashwood and the sons to Mr John Dashwood in Sense and Sensibility. The book opens by establishing that Mr Dashwood (Henry) has had three daughters by a second wife, that the estate from which HD intended to draw provision for his second family was left to him only conditionally with no means to draw upon the capital for such a purpose, and that HD dies leaving his widow and daughters with only ten thousand pounds between them, but having exacted a promise from his son to assist them. Mr John Dashwood, although in general inclined to selfishness, is at first sufficiently moved to plan, as he himself has just come into full possession of the valuable family estate, to give his half-sisters a thousand pounds apiece. We then witness the process by which John's wife Fanny, rather more perfectly cold-hearted and selfish than her husband, succeeds in wearing him down from a thousand pounds to five hundred, then to an annuity of a hundred a year to his stepmother, then to occasional presents of fifty pounds or so in order that they might not simply increase their style of life from the income, and finally to no gift of actual cash at all but simply assistance in moving and occasional presents of stock in season.
Moral: "'And I must say this: that you owe no particular gratitude to him, nor attention to his wishes, for we very well know that if he could, he would have left almost everything in the world to them.' This argument was irresistible. It gave to his intentions whatever of decision was wanting before; and he finally resolved, that it would be absolutely unnecessary, if not highly indecorous, to do more for the widow and children of his father, than such kind of neighbourly acts as his own wife pointed out."