I was educated by Jesuits, dear reader, and therefore… BegPardon?? Oh, no: just a few years, really. Never got around to taking vows. You see: I was kicked out of the college when at the precocious age of 13 I called into question, at uncompromising length and with irrefutable arguments, the historical existence of St Ignatius of Loyola, their putative founding father. So it was dishonourable discharge for me, because the good fathers were pretty bad losers. But that’s another story, for another day…
So, as I said: I was educated by Jesuits, and therefore I deeply love the Delicate Dilemma. You know the kind: a razor-sharp discussion of ethical puzzles, apropos of a story that has no clear moral answer. Like the one good old Immanuel Kant wrote down as an illustration to his Compulsory Imperative: suppose you’re living in a country with a perfect justice system, and your best friend knocks on your door, telling you he is being haunted by the police… Will you then let him in and hide him in your attic?
That one is, of course, a piece of cake to answer. But now, from Down Under, comes a far more fascinating one! Yes, a true gem excavated from the soil of the last continent to be discovered! And I may say it takes an Aussie to come up with such a risible riddle!
OK. Here goes without more ado.
Let us say you are a smart, upwardly mobile, well-educated, and quite physically vital Australian young lady who has landed a job as a civil servant in the pay of a respectable government bureau. Your employer sends you to a congress you have to attend so as to perform your duties optimally. As the congress will take several days, your employer books you a hotel room. The evening of your arrival, you happen to meet up (by chance or sly appointment) with a gentleman friend. You have dinner together (Ostrich steak, I suppose, with Aphrodisiac Sauce…) There are candles on the table. There is wine in the glass. There is romance in abundance. His manly hand softly touches the inside of your knee under the ta---… In short: once the kangaroo pudding has been gobbled up, the two of you decide to, well, continue the conviviality in a private setting. In Aussie idiom: to go up to her room to ball. You go at it with, well, young, upwardly mobile, and physically vital abandon. And just as the going gets good (Oh stop! You know what I mean, dear reader! Alfred B Mittington does not have to translate everything to Australian Idiom, does he?), just as the coming gets going, then… the overhead chandelier crashes down from the ceiling, hurting you badly in various places of your unprotected anatomy, and traumatising you no little in the head.
We all know how that feels, right? Happens every day and to anybody…
But now what do you do? Do you go to the hospital, get fixed up, attend the rest of the congress as good or as bad as you can and steal home, silently, shamefully, embarrassed at this laughable adventure?
No, you don’t! Instead, you run to the nearest lawyer’s office, and you sue your employer for damages, because you have been harmed, both physically and mentally, in the line of duty during office hours! After all: you were in that hotel room - weren’t you, Sheilah? - because your employer obliged you to attend that bleeding congress! So if harm came your way in that hotel room HE forced down your throat (don’t get no picture into your head, dear naughty reader!) he is formally responsible…! And can we kindly hear now how many million the government are willing to cough up, mate…?
You probably will not believe this, dear reader, but the above is indeed a case that made the Australian High Court the other day. And the High Court decided that no, the lady in question is not entitled to compensation, because ‘the activities engaged in were not directly related to her duties as a civil servant’ and ‘she cannot have been under the impression that this could have been part of her task.’
Bloody H.! The freaking cheek of these judges! They seem to labour under the erroneous understanding that a person is only entitled to a bucket of money when harmed while ORDERED by their employers to fuck a third person! And that is not, of course, what this is all about (according to the wisdom which the Jesuit fathers instilled in me).
No, in reality, the matter ought to be decided by a far more ample, and ethical contemplation. It depends, in my Jesuit view, on four quintessential moral questions. They are the following:
1. Would the young lady have been in that bed had she NOT met and ‘intertwined herself’ with the gentleman friend in question? Let us hear about her usual schedule and daily routines!
2. Had she indeed been an early sleeper, would she then have found herself in the EXACT SAME SPOT in the catastrophic bed? I mean: do give us all the gory details of the Kama Sutra position they were engaged in!!
3. Did the chandelier come off the ceiling BECAUSE OF their carnal activities? We need the architectonical details of that hotel, its resistance to earthquakes, and yes, once again, more details of their throbbing motions!
4. How can it be that Down Under, where everything is topsy-turvy, a chandelier comes crashing UP? Was there perhaps some diabolical government experiment involving the manipulation of gravity going on nearby? Let’s hear it from Mr Snowdon and our fellow Aussie Mr Assange, if you please!
Until these questions are exhaustively answered, dear reader, Alfred B Mittington will not tell this poor Australian young lady, who already suffered so much, to go, well,…. lick herself. Like a hurt cat, I mean (oh, what a very sick imagination you have, you shameless reader of mine!) And meanwhile, I would be most interested to hear from you folks what you think of the case in the comments thread down below.