Monday, November 24, 2008

Safe Havens?

Bastards of Young - The Replacements (mp3)
Leave - Glen Hansard (mp3)

I stumbled on this item on the news wire today. The world's definitely gettin' weirder.
Safe Haven Divorce Law Backfires on Las Vegas

(AP) - Nevada state lawmakers are discussing the possibility of convening an emergency session after a well-intended law has reaped serious negative consequences on the state.

Since early November, disgruntled wives have been abandoning their husbands by the truckloads, deserting them in casinos with a few hundred dollars and the clothes on their backs, leaving them to the care of the cruel and heartless Las Vegas rules of evolution.

The law allows wives to leave their husbands inside any casino in the city limits and sign a simple divorce decree on their way out. The divorce requires a straight payment of $2,000, although many wives have tipped the judge and others in excess of another $1,000 for allowing them such a brilliant plan.

"Divorce is a staple of American life," explained Joey "Two Exes" Campanini (R - Dist.34), who sponsored the legislation. "We figured Vegas was the pioneer in fly-by-night weddings, so we should be the ones to invent the fly-by-night divorce."

By signing the "Express Divorce" settlement, wives agree to ask for no more than half the marital assets, with child support to be determined later by an arbitrator of the state's choosing.

Since the law went into effect on November 4, more than 40,000 husbands have been kicked to the casino curb, many losing every penny of their possessions within hours of arriving and being placed into the care of the state, causing an unexpected burden on the government and the casino industry, a redundancy in Nevada.

"We didn't expect quite this many men left on our doorstep," admitted Timmy "Gonads" Lipnicki, a junior vice president at the Luxor. "We were told to expect around 500 each day, but we've had almost ten times that number.

"To be honest, we passed this law because we thought it would increase traffic in the poker rooms and the strip clubs, but these bozos are goin' broke so fast they're not helping us. No wonder the wives dropped 'em like a bad habit," added Lipnicki, who has been married to the same woman since he was 16, although he proudly boasts of five mistresses.
Nevada's problems come on the heels of a similar recent problem in Nebraska, where that state's Safe Haven law, intended to allow parents to drop unwanted infants off at hospitals without fear of criminal charges, led to chaotic results. Before that state could change the letter of the law, more than 35 children -- most over the age of 10, and many from states beyond Nebraska -- had been abandoned in cornhusker hospitals.

Likewise, women are flying in with their ne'er-do-well husbands from every state in the Union and can't find a casino quickly enough.

"It's rekindled my lfaith in God," said Roberta Sanders, who left her husband Willie in the Rio on November 6. "I'd been praying to Jesus for a decade to give me the perfect way out of this miserable shithole of a marriage, and on Halloween I read about this law passing. It's true that God answers prayers in His time, not ours. Praise His name!"

Other wives shared similar sentiments. Said Sheila Gunderson of Duluth, Minn., "That fucknut didn't even notice I'd left him there until three days later." The fucknut in question was her husband Ralph, who blew his 2-day winnings at craps on an overnighter at one of the brothels out of town. "I dropped him off on Thursday and signed that bill with tears of joy in my eyes. Ralph called me on Sunday morning wondering why I hadn't shown up to meet him for breakfast. What a moron. What further explanation do I need for why I left him?"
When contacted by cell phone, Mr. Gunderson was perplexed. "I was wondering why she was being so sweet, why she seemed so excited about going to watch me play the slots for a long weekend. I shoulda known. She hasn't smiled like that since before we had our first kid back in '85."

He declined to answer further questions because he felt he was due to rebound at the roulette tables, but his numbers would only be hot for the next 20-30 minutes.
Alas, the above story proves (a) how often I fantasize about writing for The Onion, and (b) why they haven't knocked on my door to hire me.

But the insanity surrounding Nebraska's problems with their well-intentioned Safe Haven law bothers me so much I think I'm losing sleep over it. My only defense mechanism is to make light of what is a truly horrifying statement about our society.

Some want to dismiss this as bad parenting and leave it at that. Others want to explore how a society as advanced as ours could leave so many parents without any decent support system. I only hope that the unintended consequences in Nebraska might be enough caffeine in the system to force people with power and influence to start asking deeper questions and trying to address deeper problems about parenting in the 21st Century.

God only knows what must be going on inside those households to drive parents to such an extreme and irreversible decision. We're not talking about spouses here, grown adults whose screw-ups and foibles can be cut off from us with a couple of lawyers and a lot of asperin. We're talking kids. Kids who must have problems at a level I can only imagine.

When I try to imagine what kind of problems lead to such an end, it leaves me exhausted from sadness. It's so sad I have trouble writing about it. So I make Las Vegas divorce jokes! Ha!

Why do we romanticize the notion of having children when parenting is more like raw oysters than chocolate? Why do so many people continue to believe having a child is no harder than having a puppy? Why do some parents, who perhaps began as dedicated and involved and loving, find ways to numb themselves and create a distance when their children become less-cuddly teens? Why do some parents hate their children and express it from the earliest days on? Why are some children born with wiring so screwed up that even the most patient and loving of parents can't manage? Why why why why why? So many questions, all of them ugly and unintentionally judgmental, all of them begging for answers that might prevent the words "Safe Haven" from ever again having to be used in this horrifying context.

Both songs can be found on iTunes and's mp3 site. The Replacements kick heavily-intoxicated butt.

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