The Associated Press recently reported on divorce proceedings involving the chairman of the board of United Technologies Corporation. George David is 67; his soon-to-be ex-wife Marie is 36. Both accuse each other of extramarital affairs; apparently the young woman was having special sleepovers with a “friend”. Mr. David, meanwhile, was presumably meeting someone and using his AARP card to get discounts on hotel rooms.
This is pure speculation on my part, of course, but I can’t help wondering if the significant age difference between George and Marie was a factor in their growing disenchantment with each other. It may have annoyed him that, like so many people of her generation, Marie incessantly used the phrase “it’s all good”. People in their late sixties know that it’s not all good; in fact, some of it is now way below average, and even painful. Marie, on the other hand, may have begun to have second thoughts about George because of the generational gulf in their musical tastes — the last group he’d heard of was Captain & Tennille.
What is a matter of record is that they were married in 2002, but by 2004 the marriage was in trouble. Attempts at reconciliation were made, and in October 2005 a post-nuptial agreement was signed; it called for Mr. David to give Marie $43 million in the event of a divorce. Then he went ahead and had an extramarital affair anyway! If the judgment of the chairman of a major corporation is so poor that he thinks some extracurricular slap-and-tickle is worth $43 million, it’s no wonder the U.S. economy has turned to rubble.
Well, they both agree that the marriage is irretrievably broken, but Marie now says she can’t live on a mere $43 million. She has filed papers to have the post-nup invalidated, and is asking the court to make George give her about $100 million in cash and stock, plus $130,000 a month in alimony.
Marie itemized her weekly expenses, which included her Park Avenue apartment and three residences in Sweden. Other weekly expenses include $4,500 for clothes — weekly, remember — $1,000 for hair and skin treatments, and $1,500 for restaurants. Having lived for a while in New York, I’m not sure $1,500 a week is enough for food, but she may be one of those super-thin model types who can get by on a stalk of celery and a smoothie. If you’re eating in real NYC restaurants, though, your $1,500 for food is gone by Wednesday night.
Marie also itemized expenses for limousine service and for travel ($8,000 weekly). I noticed that she failed to include anything for charitable donations, but when you’re struggling to get by, I guess you have to cut back somewhere.
Gentlemen, let’s admit it — from time to time we’ve grumbled that our wives have squandered on shoes or clothes or whatever. But this sad story of George and Marie just goes to show how lucky we are — by comparison, our wives are misers. So here’s my recommendation: show your better half how much you appreciate that she’s not a spendthrift. Treat her to dinner tonight. And not just the drive-through, either — take her inside and get seats at the counter.