Saturday, February 5, 2011
Cupid has a Darn Good Lawyer (II)
On one such day, I became so angry with cupid that I decided to go find him and sue him for causing both collateral and emotional damage to me by being careless with his bow and arrow. Spurred on by the fact that I had many friends who could write LLB and LLM after their names, I traveled far and wide and met him perched on a baobab tree, about to shoot an unassuming young couple.
The young man was helping the beautiful girl position her pot on her head after helping her draw water from the well, his well built muscles glistening with the sweat from his exertion. They looked so young, so carefree. “Stop!” I screamed. 'Have you not caused enough trouble?' I asked.
Startled, he dropped his bow. 'How may I help you?' He asked. I laughed a mirthless laugh. 'Help me? No, thanks, I’ve had all the help from you I can stomach for a lifetime'. ‘Is this a legal suit? He asked. Aha! I thought. “I see I am not the first one to seek legal action against you. You agree you’ve made some mistakes then". 'I’ll admit nothing of the sort'. He said. 'But yes, sadly, you’re not the first to seek legal action against me. And for people like you, so I don’t have to take time off my all important job, I have a lawyer'.
He whistled and his lawyer appeared. 'Why don’t you people wear clothes? I asked, discomfited by the flagrant display of nudity. 'Our job is best done with full disclosure', he said, winking and darted off saying ‘He will address all your concerns’
Cupid’s lawyer was very professional and efficient. He took down my name, etc. and asked me to state my case. I began to list all the reasons I believed Cupid made a terrible mistake pairing … and I off and in the process, caused me unnecessary distress and pain, which I believed I should be compensated for. I counted them - 143 good reasons. I will not bore you with the details. When I was done, he asked, is that all? Surprised, I asked 'Is that not enough? Do you require more?' He shrugged and said, 'People often have more'.
'What do you do?' He asked. 'I am a student'. 'What do you study?' 'Economics', I said. 'Good. This should make our meeting shorter'. He said, genuinely happy. His smile made me nervous. What possible reason could he have to smile? I was about to make them pay for the harm they caused me.
‘Your concerns listed here all look valid'. He said. Still smiling, he continued, 'Supposing my client were to own up to all these offenses listed, you economists believe that intangible costs and benefits can be measured by the use of...' ‘Shadow Pricing’ I offered. 'Right. So you would have no problem helping me quantify these grievances you have listed'. 'At all!' I said. 'I will just attempt to put a monetary value on my tears, heartache, sighs, etc. and give you a round figure'.
'Do that', he said. 'And to be fair, wouldn’t your marginal cost, marginal benefit thing come in here too? I mean, unless you are saying you benefited in no way from this allegedly accidental’ liason'. ‘of course, not’ I answered. 'Could you make a list of those benefits and shadow-price them as well?' ‘You would trust me to do that accurately? Knowing I have incentive to overstate cost and understate benefit?' I asked. 'Well here’s some economics for you. People respond to incentives'. He smiled and said ‘Your heart won’t let you lie. I’ll bank on that’ and flew away to God-knows-where.
(To be continued Tomorrow)