11 August 2005

What's the Difference Between Intersection and Vivisection? Polygamy!

A decade or so ago, Intersection told a story of a philandering husband who is severely injured in an automobile accident; when his wife and mistress meet as he clings to his actual life, his proverbial double life falls apart. It was a terrible movie, but it stuck in my mind as an example of a lousy film with a great ending. Examples of the opposite situation -- great films with lousy endings -- are much easier to come by; The Abyss, with its Ed-Harris-saved-by-aquatic-aliens denouement and My Life, featuring Michael Keaton's brave final journey into a bank of Klieg lights, come to mind. This is almost certainly because only dimwits like myself actually sit through a lousy movie to discover the great ending.

Anyhow, since Intersection came out a dog's lifetime ago and I only saw it once, I don't even clearly remember the ending I thought was so great at the time. I seem to recall that the wife, played by the usually-awful Sharon Stone, and the mistress, played by the always-awful Lolita Davidovich (Remember her? I didn't think so -- here's a link) reconciled their situation between themselves to protect the reputation of the cheating husband, played by the only-awful-in-real-life Richard Gere. My memory is that it was the writing and execution of the ending that was so wonderful, rather than its premise, which stretched credulity to its breaking point.

Yes, albeit extraordinarily unlikely, it seemed possible that a complete bastard cheating on his cold fish wife with the town bicycle could be so loved by said fish and said bicycle that they would selflessly endeavor to preserve his for-some-reason pristine personal reputation. Three key facts made the Intersection scenario seem remotely plausible:
  1. Ever since he laid out his Armanis in American Gigolo, Richard Gere can do anything on screen, including ruling Israel, and make it seem remotely plausible.
  2. Gere's character had the courtesy to drop dead at the end of the film. (Sorry if that ruined the movie for you; you wouldn't want to waste a Netflix selection on it, believe me.)
  3. The Intersection philanderer had the good sense not to simultaneously marry all the women he was sleeping with.
So, if you're thinking of getting a little piece of chicken on the side, what is your take-away from this? Well, first accept the fact that you're not Richard Gere and that it will not work out as well for you as it does for him -- ever -- in anything. Secondly, if you're not planning to take a dirt nap before the poop hits the fan, remember that infidelity is bad but polygamy is much, much worse -- even in Utah, as Fletch would say. Case in point:
Some people bring flowers, others bring balloons. When Melvyn Reed's three wives showed up to visit him at the hospital, they brought an unexpected curtain call to his years as a double bigamist.

British police confirmed that after Melvyn Reed woke from his triple bypass heart operation earlier this year, his complicated marital affairs took a turn for a worse. All three of his spouses had turned up at the same time, despite his efforts to stagger their visits.

Media reports say that, upon realizing that something was amiss, the wives held a meeting in the parking lot, and learned that they were all married to the same man.

. . . .

The Metropolitan Police said Reed married his first wife, Jean Grafton, in 1966, then left her without divorcing her. He went on to marry Denise Harrington in 1998, then married Lyndsey Hutchinson in 2003.

British media have widely reported that Reed recently moved back in with his first wife, Grafton. They say she is the mother of his three grown children.

I'm predicting that his recent triple bypass won't be the last time Melvyn finds himself lying somewhere gutted like a trout while someone looks for one of his vital organs. When a wife discovers she's been betrayed by her husband, the odds that that husband will get away without grievous injury or serious misery are quite small; betraying three wives simultaneously cuts those odds somewhat.

So, let's review -- what were Melvyn's mistakes?
  1. Melvyn is not Richard Gere. Don't feel bad, Melvyn, no one is really Richard Gere; even Richard Gere probably doesn't seem like Richard Gere in person.
  2. Melvyn survived his triple bypass. Next time, he gets no anesthesia.
  3. Melvyn was the marryin' kind. Marriage is "until death parts us"; thus, three marriages means Melvyn's death will part him three ways.
It's tough but fair, Melvyn.


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