Pity poor Brad and Angelina.
Or should that be Angelina and Brad? The pecking order, like those that used to be hashed out by film stars’ agents over which of their clients should get top billing in the credits, is no doubt a matter that Brad and Angelina have already referred to their divorce lawyers.
Their divorce lawyers are very busy people.
They, his and hers, have been going at it, hammer and tongs, for the past two years.
They are doubtless very happy people too as the money pours in from the most protracted divorce case in history – although doubtless they were probably not short of a shilling or two to begin with.
According to press reports, Brangelina (now, there’s a happy compromise – unless her counsel would insist on Angelbrad) the unhappy pair have so far spent five million dollars for the privilege of not living together. And obviously the longer the impasse continues, the higher the fees will go. Perhaps as high as four times as those spent so far, one newspaper reckons. I can only suppose that the lawyers walk very slowly to and from the coffee machine, perhaps stopping there for a while to discuss the Dodgers, or the forest fires raging all around the city in symbolic rage, as those little clocks the learned ladies and gentlemen keep in their desk drawers tick inexorably on.
Twenty million smackeroos! Just to decide which of the multi-multi-millionaire movie stars gets what portion of an endless fortune and who gets to see the children more often. If this kind of argument were to take place in a school playground, over pocket-money, it would be settled by an avuncular teacher acting as arbitrator in a matter of minutes, or at least before the bell rang for the beginning of classes.
But there is the rub. It is not about pocket-money – it is about moolah on a vast scale, or at least vast to all but one percent of the world population. That is the strange thing about money: the more one accumulates the less meaning it has – but if you are Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie the more it must be revered, counted, preserved and fought over, if necessary to the end of time. I dare say neither Brad nor Angelina could spend their respective fortunes in their lifetimes if they tried. Make that ten lifetimes, twenty for all I know.
But that is to miss the point, the lawyers will insist, all the while trousering as much of Brad and Angelina’s earnings as they can while they can. It is, rather, about principles. What these principles are they fail to specify. They could not specify even if they spent as much time thinking about them as they spend thinking about how to separate Brad and Angelina from their fortunes, including the dawdling to and from the coffee machine.
I can’t remember who said that those whom the gods would destroy must first be made mad, but he had a point, though clearly he was not referring to divorce lawyers.