Skip to main content

The Price of Love

The Price of Love
Erik Deckers
Laughing Stalk Syndicate
Copyright 2008

They say you can't put a price tag on love. That true love is more valuable than money. That money can't buy you happiness.

Apparently they're wrong.

If you're Johnny Valentine of Holly Springs, Mississippi, it turns out you can put a price tag on love. Actually, you can put a price tag on "society, companionship, love, and affection," plus "the loss of sexual relations."

To Valentine, that's worth $750,000.

That's how much Mississippi millionaire Jerry Fitch has to pay Valentine after stealing Valentine's wife.

In 1997, Sandra Valentine went to work for Fitch, a prominent businessman, oil man, and big-shot real estate guy. Shortly thereafter, Fitch and Sandra began having an affair, and in 1999, she gave birth to Fitch's daughter.

Which means Valentine can't make any "son of a Fitch" jokes.

Sandra originally denied the affair or that their new daughter wasn't Valentine's. But after a paternity test revealed Fitch was the father, Valentine divorced his two-timing wife, and Sandra married her lover.

Just a slow day at the office for Jerry Springer.

Mississippi has an old state law that permits a spouse to sue for damages based on the aforementioned loss of society, companionship, yadda yadda yadda. So Valentine decided that as the cuckolded husband, he was entitled to some of Fitch's riches.

Valentine was granted the three-quarters of a mil by a Mississippi jury, but Fitch must have thought Sandra wasn't worth it, because he appealed the verdict to the Mississippi Supreme Court.

Valentine won again, so Fitch appealed it again to the U.S. Supreme Court. But the Supremes refused to hear the appeal, thus upholding the lower court's ruling.

In other words, while money can't buy happiness, Fitch bought himself $750,000 worth of society, companionship, love, affection, and sexual relations.

Which means Fitch will spend the rest of his life wondering if it would have just been simpler to register at instead.

I hope she's worth it. I wouldn't even pay five bucks to shake Paris Hilton's hand.

Valentine's suit was based on an antiquated law that says a wife is a man's property, just like cattle. And when Fitch stole his property, Valentine thought he deserved compensation.

(The concept of wife as property goes all the way back to the Teutonic tribes of 10th century Germany, so if you want to write any angry letters, write to the Germans, not me.)

Sandra should feel proud that she's worth $750,000 to Fitch. Whenever she wonders whether he really loves her, he can show her the checkbook and say "I love you thi-i-i-i-s much." And she can also rest assured that he won't cheat on her again, since he's so heavily invested in the relationship.

Many women, including Sandra, are offended that the "women as property" law is still on the books in Mississippi. They don't think they should be treated as cattle.

But if Sandra really was cattle, Fitch got the short end of the deal.

Last February, two Kansas men stole 133 head of cattle worth more than $140,000. At those prices, Fitch could have gotten a herd of nearly 713 steer.

And he got off easy. Apparently, cattle rustling is still a hanging offense in Colorado.

Meanwhile, Mississippi is one of only seven states to have the "alienation of affection" statute on the books – Hawaii, Illinois, New Mexico, North Carolina, South Dakota, and Utah are the others.

In other words, Colorado places a higher value -- your life -- on cattle than those other states place on a man's wife.

Talk about your family values.

Mississippi is not the only state to award big damages. In 2001, North Carolina awarded $2 million -- 1,901 cattle -- in a similar case in 2001.

Does this mean that Mississippi wives aren't worth as much as North Carolina wives? Or did Valentine just shoot too low?

In October 2007, Fitch told "Good Morning America," that his case was about principle, not just the money.

Not just the money? Not JUST the money?

In other words, it's partly about the money.

Which makes me wonder if Fitch might be looking at his new wife and seeing her head atop a big bag of money with wings on it. Like in the cartoons when a dog looks at a cat and sees a big steak.

"This alienation of affection law is only in seven states in the United States now," Fitch told Good Morning America. "It needs to be off the books. This is not right."

Maybe not, but neither is adultery or coveting a man's wife. Just be happy you're not living in the Old Testament days where they stoned you for that.

They just fined you if you stole livestock.

Like this column? Leave a comment, Digg it, or Stumble it.


  1. In the Old Testament, I think they stoned the woman and let them man off with a pat on the back. At least in this scenario, it's the man who had to pay. Perhaps that's progress!


Post a Comment

Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I am accepting comments from people with Google accounts to cut down on spam.
Otherwise, spam comments will be deleted with malicious glee.

Popular posts from this blog

AYFKMWTS?! FBI Creates 88 Page Twitter Slang Guide


Did you get that? It's an acronym. Web slang. It's how all the teens and young people are texting with their tweeters and Facer-books on their cellular doodads.

It stands for "The FBI has created an eighty-eight page Twitter slang dictionary."

See, you would have known that if you had the FBI's 88 page Twitter slang dictionary.

Eighty-eight pages! Of slang! AYFKMWTS?! (Are you f***ing kidding me with this s***?! That's actually how they spell it in the guide, asterisks and everything. You know, in case the gun-toting agents who catch mobsters and international terrorists get offended by salty language.)

I didn't even know there were 88 Twitter acronyms, let alone enough acronyms to fill 88 pieces of paper.

The FBI needs to be good at Twitter because they're reading everyone's tweets to see if anyone is planning any illegal activities. Because that's what terrorists do — plan their terroristic activities publicly, as if they were…

Understanding 7 Different Types of Humor

One of my pet peeves is when people say they have a "dry" sense of humor, without actually understanding what it actually means.

"Dry" humor is not just any old type of humor. It's not violent, not off-color, not macabre or dark.

Basically, dry humor is that deadpan style of humor. It's the not-very-funny joke your uncle the cost analysis accountant tells. It's Bob Newhart, Steven Wright, or Jason Bateman in Arrested Development.

It is not, for the love of GOD, people, the Black Knight scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. I swear, if anyone says Monty Python is "dry humor" is going to get a smack.

Here are some other types of comedy you may have heard and are just tossing around, willy-nilly.

Farce: Exaggerated comedy. Characters in a farce get themselves in an unlikely or improbable situation that takes a lot of footwork and fast talking to get out of. The play "The Foreigner" is an example of a farce, as are many of the Jeeves &…

What Are They Thinking? The Beloit College Mindset List

Every year at this time, the staff at Beloit College send out their new student Mindset List as a way to make everyone clutch their chest and feel the cold hand of death.

This list was originally created and shared with their faculty each year, so the faculty would understand what some of their own cultural touchstones might mean, or not mean, to the incoming freshmen. They also wanted the freshmen to know it was not cool to refer to '80s music as "Oldies."

This year's incoming Beloit freshmen are typically 18 years old, born in 1999. John F. Kennedy Jr. died that year, as did Stanley Kubrick and Gene Siskel. And so did my hope for a society that sought artistic and intellectual pursuits for the betterment of all humanity. Although it may have actually died when I heard about this year's Emoji Movie.

Before I throw my hands up in despair, here are a few items from the Mindset list for the class of 2021.

They're the last class to be born in the 1900s, and are t…