Oh, Marvin Mitchelson, where were you when I needed you? Where were you when Caroline Becker, a cheerleader with blond hair out of a shampoo commercial, left me for someone else? I could have sued. Where were you when Franny Fine in the sixth grade chose Neil over me -- and Sam and Richie and several dozen other people. We all could have sued -- the first class-action suit by sixth graders for alienation of affection. Oh Marvin, how I could have used you.
Mitchelson, as you must know by now, is the California lawyer who has pioneered the arcane specialty of palimony law. It was he who represented the by now legendary Michelle Triola in her suit against Lee Marvin, and he once was the lawyer for Vicki Morgan who, at the age of 29, was left high and dry after a career toiling as Alfred Bloomingdale's traveling companion.
And now, Mitchelson is representing Lee Perry, a Harvard University professor who is suing Richard Atkinson, the chancellor of the University of California (San Diego), for what amounts to custody of his sperm. She claims that she had an affair with Atkinson and he promised to father her baby. The affair, she says, is ended, but she still wants the baby -- preferably via artificial insemination. Either that, or $1 million. This could never happen at Notre Dame.
The common thread in all these cases is the word "no," as in rejection, coupled with disappointment -- in other words, life. And while the aggrieved parties in all these cases are women, the word "no" is one I have heard many times in my life. Fool that I am, I simply licked my wounds and whimpered away. What did I know? I could have sued.
So, assuming the statute of limitations on a broken heart has not run out, I would like to serve papers on several women. In addition to the aforementioned ones, I would also like to sue Linda. She said no to me not once, but many times. The no always followed a yes, making this, as it is called in the palimony biz, an on-and-off affair. This caused me great stress, a pimple or two, and made my grades suffer. (The plaintiff stipulates that he flunked Economics I: A Survey of the American Economy from Adam Smith to the New Deal.) I ask, by way of damages, an apology and the finding that she has married an orthodontist in Scarsdale and is bored stiff.
While I'm at it, I would like to sue my parents for making me return a puppy I had taken in off the street (broken heart); for forcing me to return the reflector sun glasses I had bought with my allowance (loss of face before the store clerk); for giving me a twin sister who, until puberty, could hit a softball farther than I could (mental anguish); for insisting I wear Boy Scout shoes (great shame and ridicule), and for the spanking I received for playing with matches and burning down the weeds (pain, suffering and emotional trauma). I ask treble damages for the latter.
I would also like to sue a woman named Alice, a model who shared with me the conviction that she was stunning. I drove her to a romantic spot of great scenic beauty, cut the engine, tuned in some Mozart on the radio, and poured out my heart to her. I told her things I had never told anyone and when I asked her what she thought of it all, she responded, "Can I change the station?" For this, I demand my money back for the date, alleging she fraudulently concealed the fact that she did not have a brain in her body.
I want to sue every dentist who told me "it wouldn't hurt" (breach of promise); any stewardess who routinely announced "equipment trouble" (mental anguish, shortness of breath and the haunting feeling that I had forgotten to turn off the lawn sprinkler); shoe salesmen who said the shoes would stretch (breach of contract); all weather forecasters (outright lying); doctors who give 15 people the same appointment (breach of faith), and the orthodontist who wired my mouth like a suspension bridge to close a gap in my teeth I still have (outright fraud).
In fact, I see my entire life as nothing but one big lawsuit. I can sue former girlfriends, friends, relatives, teachers (that's you, Mrs. Dolan), employers, my drill sergeant in the Army -- anyone who ever said "no" to me or hurt my feelings. But the first suit I want to bring is against Mitchelson himself. It's for consistent breach of good taste.