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Remember the alimony.


Someone has said(maybe it was me, my memory having been on the skids since I can't remember when), "You can fool some of the women some of the time, and you can fool some of the women all the time, but you can't fool your wife at any time."

Take George Shambling--andI'm sure Mrs. Shamblin wouldn't mind in the least. According to an item in The Pittsburgh Press, "George Shamblin insisted to police that he was trying to save his wife from drowning when he threw rocks at her as she struggled in the Kanawha River. 'I was trying to drive her back to shore,' he said."

Whether this line ofreasoning kept the Shamblings from joining the crowd at the local divorce court is not known. But we can suspect the worst. And today I am taking my typewriter in hand (no mean trick in itself) in hopes that by reasoning with the Shamblins and thieir ilk I can reduce to a trickle this swelling stream of traffic from the main house to the doghouse to the courthouse, and all too often to the nut house, if not the "big house."

Admittedly, a male Ann Landers Iam not. But when a man has united his plight with a woman in the trough of holy wedlock (or howerver that goes) for as many years as I have, it's a shame not to unload some of this marital wisdom upon couples perhaps still fresh from the altar. Or the ocean floor. Or the skydive. Or wherever it was they elected to recite their homemade vows.

Among these bona fide divorce-courtcases, we'll first try to do something for the Wangle couple.

"Because I thought a man was entitledto go out by himself once in a while," testified John Wangle in Domestic Relations Court, "my wife bought two bloodhounds and had me tracked down wherever I went. I am beginning to feel like a hunted thing." During the trial the two bloodhounds ran into the courtroom and began baying at him. It took 15 minutes to subdue them.

I'm sure you'll agreethat Mrs. Wangle got carried away. Or let her marriage go to the dogs, you might say. (I certainly wouldn't say it, but you might.) There is something to be said, however, in her behalf. Those of the female persuasion apparently possess an inherent instinct that alerts them when hubby is preparing to relieve the monotony of married bliss. Her file cards on a man's excuses accumulate faster than her recipes.

How comethat lipstick on his collar? He was knocked down by a freshly painted bicycle. The powder on his blue serge suit? From carrying a baby across the street for this mother, an extremely ugly woman. The perfume? Raw ambergris from a sick whale. What was he doing with a sick whale? Etc.

Mr. Wangle admitted to a colossalblunder, of course, in his opening statement: "I thought a man was entitled to go out." A married man never just "goes out." Whatever his intended goal, he is going bowling, to a lodge meeting, back to the office, to look for night crawlers, to sit up with a sick friend. But to just "go out" -- sheer insanity!

As for Mrs. Wangle's lack of imaginationin hiring bloodhounds, why would she pass up the thrill of tracing hubby's prowlings herself? Being in on the kill when the lodge meeting turns out to be his lodging himself on another woman's sofa, or when the friend he is sitting up with happens to be chic rather than sick, often supplies the very fillip that keeps a dried-out union from becoming unglued. Excitement, in other words, is the spice of marriage.

I only hope I can do as much forthe Zonkers.

"He preferred his niblick and hisNo. 2 iron to me!" That plaint was voiced in court today by Mrs. Karl Boris Zonkers, who filed a divorce action against her husband on charges of cruelty and mental torture.

"When he took his golf bag to bedwith him, it was too much for any wife to endure," she told the court.

Decision was reserved by the courtwhen the husband's attorney declared that his cleint was unable to appear in his own defense because of a previous golf date.

A less cultured man than I mightsuggest that it's merely Mr. Zonkers' legitimate preference in bags. But that would only complicate the situation. I will speculate, however, that Mrs. Zonkers has allowed herself to go to pot in the mistaken belief that hubby will stick with her through thick or thin. Now she finds that regardless of how badly beaten up from years of use, however much the bottom may sag from begin dragged on the ground, or how many bulges from constant overstuffing, the golf bag's silhouette still leads the competition when it comes to turning hubby on.

You must accept the fact, Mrs.Zonkers, that your husband is not unique. One golfer (I've forgotten his name), upon seeing a funeral procession passing the course he was playing, doffed his cap and held it over his heart until the last car went by. "That certainly was a respectful gesture," his partner remarked, lining up his putt. "It was the least I could do," the respectful man replied. "We would have been married 35 years tomorrow."

If I were in your shoes, Mrs. Zonkers(and I have a feeling they would fit), I would give the golf bag a run for its money. Instead of trying to stymie your husband's enthusiasm for the game, go with the flow. Not only accompany him on his golf outings, but keep his score, carry his bag, look for lost balls. Kicking a ball out of a rough onto the fairway now and then could do wonders in restoring you to the No. 1 position that his niblick and his No. 2 iron have assumed.

And on to the Hemlock case we go.

Mrs. Mazie Hemlock brought suitfor divorce today against her husband, Malcolm P. Hemlock, charging that ever since their marriage several years ago, he had been trying to reduce her height by piling sandbags on her head every night.

"He is a small man and self-consciousabout his height," she said. "Whenever we go out together, he tries to get me to walk stooped over so he won't appear so small."

Call me chauvinistic, Mrs. Hemlock,but this seems to me a trivial inconvenience to keep a marriage from going down the drain. A husband, tall or short, stoops most of his married life in keeping his shoulder to the wheel, his nose to the grindstone, and his hand to the checkbook. But let your hubby ask you merely to shorten your profile when you're out together or to sleep with a few sandbags stacked on your head, and off to court you go.

True, Mr. Hemlock, you could putlifts in your shoes or wear a stovepipe hat. But evidently your high principles will not tolerate decption. Nonetheless, you might try one or the other--at least until your wife gets that crick out of her neck and that monkey off her back.

That brings us to the Bastile case.

Tramps in the bathtub and hobosin the hall were named by Mrs. Mary Bastile as grounds for divorce against her husband, Ferdinan, in Domestic Court today.

"Ferdinan has a fondness for oddcharacters, and he brings them home at all hours," Mrs Bastile explained. "I can't walk through the apartment without finding an old salt or an amnesia victim much more at home than I am. Either his pals get out or I do. Our flat has become a flophouse."

Mr. Bastile replied that he hadnothing against his wife, but he found strange characters more entertaining.

How any wife can resent her husband'srole as a Good Samaritan is hard to fathom. We can appreciate your shock upon preparing for a bath, Mrs. Bastile, to find a tram soaking in the tub, reading the Hobo News, and puffing on a snipped cigar butt. Or when you come home late and sprawl over an old salt asleep on the entry rug. But have you ever considered staying at home and becoming acquainted with the boys? Frankly, I find it rather rude of you to go out when you have guests in the house.

Laugh and the world laughs withyou, goes the old saw. But the old saw failed miserably in the case of Mr. and Mrs. Flint.

Mr. Zavior Flint is seeking adivorce from his wife, Blossom K. Flint, because her sense of humor is too good.

"My wife," he told Judge Todd,"laughed heartily when I broke my ankle; she laughed when the house burned down; and she laughed even harder when she discovered the insurance had lapsed. When I fell in a puddle, she almost broke a blood vessel laughing, and she practically laughed herself sick when I ran my brand-new car up a tree."

Mrs. Flint laughed during the entireproceedings in court.

A man, on rare occasions, canargue successfully with his wife, he can dodge a flower pot, he cant take a sedative for jangled nerves. But against his wife's laughter there is no defense. I refer here not to laugher stemming from his jokes or from his wearing a lampshade at the party. I refer to the laughter of the wife of the builder of the Tower of Pisa when it began to tilt. The laughter from Mrs. Schubert that no doubt was the reason her husband didn't finish his symphony.

Your mistake, Mr. Flint, is misconstruingyour wife's laughter as reflecting a sense of humor. Should you be right, the Smithsonian will surely be bidding for her remains. In the meantime, Mrs. Flint, do try smiling instead of laughing. And not a loud smile, more like the Mona Lisa type.

My own dear wife just cmae in withthe Mona Lisa type to remind me I had promised to pull the backyard elm stump she has been falling over for the past nine years.

"Wait till I finish this paragraph," Itold her. "It's about your being able to remember our wedding day because it was the last time you walked down the aisle without a shopping cart."

"That reminds me," she said. "Haveyou seen the lid to the garbage pail?"
COPYRIGHT 1987 Saturday Evening Post Society
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Copyright 1987 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Stoddard, Maynard Good
Publication:Saturday Evening Post
Date:Jul 1, 1987
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