When two people get married, they do so thinking that they will stay toghether for a long time. But since humans are not perfect, things happen that could lead to discord and, in many times, bitter divorce. The following are cases that appear to be funny and tragic at the same time.
There is a popular anecdote among Somalis in the US about a woman, with limited English, who had tried desperately to dissolve her marriage. She went to the court and told a judge, “I want to open my husband.” The judge was perplexed and asked the lady to repeat what she had said. “Well, I want to open my husband,” she repeated. When asked why she wanted to open her husband, she replied, “because he cut off my leg.” The judge, who was already confused about “opening” the husband (how do you open a husband anyway?) became concerned about the allegations of “cutting off a leg.”’ What seemed a civil matter was beginning to morph into a criminal case. Someone did explain to the judge that the woman wanted to divorce her husband because he had caused her so much trouble. The word “Fur” in Somali means either “open” or “divorce”. Moreover, “lugooyo” literally means “to cut off a leg” but it also is an idiomatic expression for causing mischief.
Take My Wife…Please
Criminals rob banks because that is where the money is. Right? Not so to an American man in Ephrata, Pennsylvania, who apparently had a secret agenda. The man robbed a bank with BB gun, demanded money, and then asked the teller to call the authorities. Bank employees were baffled by the man’s odd behavior. He remained in the bank, instead of fleeing with the cash, and he kept inquiring about the police. “Are they coming soon?” he kept asking. He was, in essence, anxious to see the police get there and arrest him. They did. In court, the man admitted robbing the bank but said that he had an ulterior motive. He wanted to get away from his overbearing wife. The man claimed that his wife had threatened to commit suicide if he ever left her. He was looking for a place where he would have no contact with her. Well, he finally got his wish. The judge sentenced him three to six years. That guaranteed that the two would not see other for a long time. The wife, understanably, divorced him and, to his dismay, did not end her lfe. She must have thought that her husband’s story was a product of his fertile imagination. He was, indeed, a master of theatrical over-reaction.
The Tell-tale Sign of Deceit
Cheaters, by nature, are said to brag about their exploits to their friends. But a Chinese man in Chongqing was tightlipped about the fact that he had a thing for women who were not his wife. His undoing, though, was the parrot in his house.
According to Xinmin Evening News, the man’s wife came back home after a month-long journey. Immediately, she sensed something was wrong with her husband. The husband did not display the normal acts of a cheater; meticulous and new excessive personal grooming, too much time on the phone, coming home late, etc. No, he was acting normal. It was, interestingly, the family bird that piqued her curiosity. The parrot started picking up new words during her absence. It kept repeating, “I love you,” “divorce,” and “be patient.” The wife knew her parrot well-enough to suspect that her husband had a mistress and, hence, was cheating on her. She immediately filed for divorce, thinking that the bird’s revelations would be sufficient grounds for dissolving the marriage. She was disappointed when she was informed that the bird’s testiomony would be inadmissable in a court of law.
Annals of Vindictiveness
Dr. Richard Batista, a surgeon, and his wife, Dawnelle, were living a lavish life in Long Island, New York. The couple had three children but their marriage became rocky after the wife developed a kidney ailment. Their relationship, once cordial and loving, suddenly became toxic. But then something happened that changed everything. Dr. Batista decided to donate his kidney to his ailing wife. How special! Dawnelle’s father and brother had previously donated their kidneys but her body rejected their organs. Amazingly, Dr. Batista’s kidney was perfect for her and she recovered. What seemed to be the most romantic gift a husband can give to his wife turned out to be a source of tension. Something went dreadfully wrong.
About 18 to 24 months after the surgery, Downelle, according to court documents, started having an affair. Dr. Batista was devastated. How could she do that to him? Didn’t he give her part of himself. What an ingrate, Dr. Batista thought. He filed for divorce. Instead of asking for the milion-dollar home the couple shared, Dr. Batista -- are you ready for this? -- demanded his kidney back. His kidney! “I want my kidney back,” Dr. Batista declared. The case had all the ingredients of a media circus. But can a transplanted kidney be removed from a woman just because her husband had a change of heart?
After realizing that there was no chance of his wife giving his kidney back (Come on, Dr. Batista, you are a surgeon. You know better!), the good doctor, instead, asked for $1.5 million. Where did he get that figure? Well, according to the doctor’s lawyer, that’s the going-rate for a kidney in the black market. Oh, I see.
Honey, Where Are You?
An old image of the World Trade Center
All You Can Eat!
The legendary Halac Dheere, in Somali folklore, was best known for his ravenous appetite. His unconventional table manners, needless to say, would have made Emily Post, the renowned expert on etiquette, cringe with goose pumps. Halac Dheere would have had a strong following among proponents of the Atkins Diet (high protein and low carb) but he sure would have had difficulty getting along with a certain American woman.
The woman in question filed for divorce because she said her husband was eating too much. What does that have to do with their marriage? By eating too much, the woman claimed, her husband was committing a crime. Actually, the woman went even further when she said that she did not want to be an accomplice to her husband’s commission of a crime. This is what happens when you only eat all the food you can SEE! Did I say ‘see’ or ‘sea’ food’? Whatever!
I am Bored
A German woman was anything but grateful. She felt trapped in what she called “an unhappy marriage,” because her husband --get this--worked for the family, cooked, and cleaned. “I have become irrelevant,” she told the judge. “There is nothing for me to do.” Perhaps, a class on time management would have helped her.
A Poet’s Dilemma
Qamaan Bulhan was a talented Somali poet who spoke on behalf of his people against the incendiary tirade of equally-talented poet- Ali Dhuuh, in the famous Guba series. Bulhan once had a domestic issue that troubled him immensely. According to Somali artist, Mahmoud Abdullahi “Sangub”, Qamaan Bulhan one day came back from a trip to an empty house. His wife, Barni Sh. Abdille, was long gone. When Bulhan inquired about her whereabouts, he was shocked to find that she had left him for good. She voided their marriage because Bulhan was not offering daily prayers. Initially, she had consulted with clerics who belonged to Shaikh Abbayoonis lineage. These clerics told Barni that they had no good ground to nullify her marriage. Then, she went to other clerics who belonged to Reer Aw Nuuh (Abasguul) lineage, and they ruled the marriage null and void. Bulhan was informed about what had transpired during his absence, and became infuriated and distraught.
After a short period, Barni and Bulhan reconciled. One day, Bulhan came to his house and saw a group of clerics meditating. They were his guests. He asked them about their lineage. The roving clerics, who normally were a collage of various clan members, refused to identify themselves other than calling themselves “Ikhwan” (brothers). Bulhan insisted on knowing their clans but they refused to heed to his demand. He did not want to relive the nightmare of losing his wife again simply because a cleric said so. He also did not want the clerics besmirching his reputation. Bulhan recited a poem in which he chronicled his mistrust and animosity to clerics who dispensed fatwas (religious edicts) with impunity. In one line of the poem, Bulhan said, “Abbayoonis mooyee, wadaad eegataan nahaye.” (Except Abbayoonis, we are on the lookout for clerics).
A Friend’s Escape Clause
Speaking of prayers, a friend on the East Coast told me several years ago that she was getting divorced from her then-new husband. The couple had gotten married but was not yet living together. Her “blink-and-you-missed-it marriage”, as she mockingly called it, caused some tremors. “He wants me to dress modestly,” she angrily told me. Then, she went on and argued that the issue, in her humble opinion, was not about religion but, rather, about control. The husband, she believed, to put it plainly, wanted to control her and dictate to her how she looked and dressed. Then she dropped a bombshell. “This is the same man,” she said with sarcastic glee, “who wants me to dress modestly when he himself does not even offer one of the five pillars of Islam (prayers).” Ouch. That hurts!
Your Body Is Beautiful
A Somali imam from a well-known center in the Midwest was visiting Kansas when I met him over dinner in a friend’s home two years ago. I took the opportunity to ask him what kind of social problems Somalis were facing in his state. He told me about a woman who had come to see him complaining about her husband. The imam was used to hearing all kinds of stories but not the one this lady told him. She wanted to get divorced from her husband because he had the peculiar habit of shedding his clothes once he got home. Let me clarify; all his clothes. “I can’t live with a nudist,” the woman retorted.
The Imam appealed to the husband to change his odious behavior but to no avail. The husband was not interested in the type of modesty the imam was preaching. The couple, who did not have children, finally got divorced. Then, two years later, the same woman came to the imam -- this time, though, she was complaining about her new husband. Apparently, the new husband was endowed with a great body (more like Arnold Schwarzenegger, I assume) but he had an annoying habit of covering himself up with long-sleeve shirts at home. Obviously, the man was shy. Is something wrong with that? Not to his wife. “I told him to wear short-sleeve shirts or tee-shirts because he has such a beautiful body,” the woman told the imam. “But he would not listen to me.” The imam sardonically described the wife as being, well, a person of extremes! Eventually, the couple got divorced but for reasons that had nothing to do with the science of the husband’s body.
And finally, in a California court, a feeble 70-year old man was brought to court. He was charged with attempted sexual assault through the use of force, and attempted sexual conduct through use of force against his 65-year old wife. The charges prompted titters and gasps in the courtroom. The case either seemed sheer idiocy or perversion of the law. The poor elderly man appeared sick and had difficulty walking straight. Could he have inflicted sexual harm on his spouse? This must have been a mistake. Maybe the elderly man tried to hit his wife with his cane! Not so, according to the government. Someone, however, had crudely suggested to the prosecutor to amend the charges to --are you still with me? -- “assault with a DEADLY weapon.” This must be a joke? Right!
Hassan M. Abukar
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