The Persons of the Play*
Mr. PITTSBURGH, a businessman
Mrs. PITTSBURGH, née PARIS, his wife [not present]
Act I Scene 1
JUSTICE: Mr. Pittsburgh… [shuffling papers]. You want to get a divorce from your wife, Mrs. Pittsburgh, née Paris. Is that correct?
Mr. PITTSBURGH: Thank you very much. Before we discuss the divorce, I’d like to remind you that I’m an amazing businessman. Absolutely amazing. My business has really been doing amazingly well over the last months. Its stock market value is up by 4.2 fantazillion, and I’ve hired 42 ravillion new workers. I’ve just returned from a trip to Greenland, Siberia, and Antarctica where I closed contracts for more than 420 boastillion in sales of lawnmowers and shrub trimmers. One by one, I’m keeping the promises I made in my strategy…
JUSTICE: Mr. Pittsburgh, I was informed that you’re here to get a divorce from your wife, Mrs. Pittsburgh, née Paris. Is this correct?
Act I Scene 2
Mr. PITTSBURGH: As a businessman, I’m fighting every day for my reputation, and for the success and independence of my business. Therefore, in order to fulfill my duties towards my business, I will withdraw from my marriage with Mrs. Pittsburgh, née Paris, but begin dating her to marry her again, or marry someone else. I’m getting out. But I’ll start dating, and I’ll see if I can marry again. And if I can, that’s great. And if I can’t, that’s fine.
JUSTICE: You want to get a divorce in order to marry the same woman again? Did I hear that right?
Mr. PITTSBURGH: My business is most important to me. There is nothing more important than my business. My marriage is hurting my business. It benefits Mrs. Pittsburgh, and it hurts my business. As of today, I step out of my marriage. It’s not acceptable to me to be bound by a voluntary agreement that puts me under draconian restrictions and obligations. Do you even know what draconian means? Despotic, tyrannical, repressive…
Act II Scene 1
JUSTICE: Can you please elaborate on how your marriage is hurting your business?
Mr. PITTSBURGH: Compliance with my marriage and the limitations it puts on my virility would mean I lose 4.2 bragillion opportunities for dating other women until 2026, according to a study of friends of mine. By 2042, compliance with my marriage vows would mean: dinner dates down 42 percent; gala nights down 84 percent; pleasure boat trips – and I happen to love pleasure boat trips – down 168 percent; night club visits down 336 percent. Can you imagine what that means for my reputation? For my business? For its success? For its independence?
JUSTICE: Ehem… [clears throat]
Mr. PITTSBURGH: I’m a faithful husband. I’m the world’s leader in faithfulness. But I cannot stay in a marriage that imposes no burdens on others. For example, I have a very good Chinese friend who’s seeing a Chinese woman. He can do with her whatever he wants. Not me. And my Indian friend, a very good friend. He’s marrying an Indian woman, and they’re getting so many presents for their wedding. That is very unfair.
JUSTICE: Mr. Pittsburgh…
Act II Scene 2
Mr. PITTSBURGH: This marriage is only about others getting more than me and my business! Everybody was cheering at my wedding, they went wild; they were so happy. But now I know: They were happy because they knew that the marriage would put me and my business at a very, very big disadvantage. I have so much virility, the most abundant virility on the planet. I could benefit so many people – but this marriage is putting this energy under lock and key, blocking all the enthusiasm I have to give to the world – the great enthusiasm, the phenomenal enthusiasm. My business needs all my energy – without it, it’s at the risk of severe losses, dramatic decline, and bankruptcy.
JUSTICE: Mr. Pittsburgh, please. I understand your excitement about your business. However, in order to get on with the divorce procedure, I need your comments on what doesn’t work in your marriage.
Act III Scene 1
Mr. PITTSBURGH: Marriage is useless. If everybody was married faithfully all the time, no business would ever be made. Or only a tiny, tiny amount of business. And think of everything lost in those marriages – hybrillions and hybrillions spent on presents, men and women lost to the world, night clubs closed, and so much sexual energy wasted in people’s homes. I’ll continue to be faithful. I’ll be the faithfullest. But I’m not going to put my business out of work. I’m not going to lose my virility.
JUSTICE: You’re saying you’ll continue to be faithful after your divorce?
Mr. PITTSBURGH: I’m willing to immediately date with Mrs. Pittsburgh again to discuss a new marriage. As long as its terms are fair to me and my business. As long as it’s on my terms. Or I’ll date someone else and marry them. As long as it’s on my terms. I’ll have a marriage that is much better than this marriage. I think everybody will be thrilled. But until I’m back in that marriage, I’m out of this marriage.
JUSTICE: Mr. Pittsburgh, I cannot proceed with the divorce you unless you explain what doesn’t work in your marriage.
Act III Scene 2
Mr. PITTSBURGH: Isn’t that clear? This marriage is putting me at a debilitating disadvantage. Do you even know what debilitating means? Draining, sapping, exhausting, enervating. Everybody else around the world can see other women, and I can’t. Just imagine what that means for my business! My marriage is keeping me tied up and bound down, and everybody else gets a huge benefit. That cannot go on while I’m still responsible for my business. My job as a businessman is to do everything within my power to make my business successful and keep its independence. My marriage with Mrs. Pittsburgh curtails my business, in order to benefit those who are competing with my business. Mrs. Pittsburgh doesn’t put my business first. I do, and I always will.
JUSTICE: So you’re saying Mrs. Pittsburgh doesn’t take enough interest in your business?
Mr. PITTSBURGH: I’m convinced that she’s laughing at me behind my back. And all those others who are seeing other women, they’re laughing at me, too. I want my business to be successful and independent. I don’t want anybody laughing at me anymore. And she won’t be. She won’t be. I’ll be the only one who’s laughing! At them! At her! At everybody!
JUSTICE: Mr. Pittsburgh, I understand that a failing marriage can bring up harsh feelings…
Mr. PITTSBURGH: When I married her, she became a Pittsburgh! She’s Mrs. Pittsburgh! I didn’t become Paris! I’m not Paris! I’ll never be Paris!
JUSTICE: Mr. Pittsburgh, please. Can I offer you a glass of apple juice?
[Mr. Pittsburgh takes the glass and smashes it on the floor.]
Act IV Scene 1
JUSTICE: Okay. I think it was good that we took a little break. Let’s get on with this. Can you explain how you want to sort out the financial part of the divorce, please?
Mr. PITTSBURGH: Mrs. Pittsburgh has been pulling money out of my business from day one. The engagement ring alone cost me 420 exaggillion, and I’ve been paying amplifillions and amplifillions and amplifillions of dollars to other people getting married. And many of them weren’t even at my wedding. Over the years, I’ve handed over 42 maxillion to Mrs. Pittsburgh. Nobody pays so much for their wives. And this included money from my business budget for guerilla marketing against the competition. That’s where it came from – and nobody even knows what she’s doing with all the money. Nobody else is paying anything to Mrs. Pittsburgh – but she’s actually investing in clean energy businesses, supporting sustainability activists, and giving money to charities in China and India.
JUSTICE: Mr. Pittsburgh, my documents say that Mrs. Pittsburgh has very significant assets herself, both inherited from her European family of noble descent, and earned through her own businesses? Here, it says that her net worth is actually higher than yours?
Act IV Scene 2
Mr. PITTSBURGH: I’m not dependent on Mrs. Pittsburgh. I’m independent. I don’t care how much money she has. I have more. My business is the best in the world, it’s my obligation and greatest honor to protect it. And I will.
JUSTICE: Mr. Pittsburgh, I really do understand your excitement about your business. What is your suggestion about the financial agreements needed for the divorce?
Mr. PITTSBURGH: I’m a man! I’m an independent man! I’m a businessman! I’m a great businessman! It’s my obligation to make the best use of my manliness! I always thought it inconceivable that a marriage could prevent an independent man from being independent, from running his own business, but this is the reality I face if I stay in this marriage.
Act V Scene 1
JUSTICE: Mr. Pittsburgh, you’re aware of the fact that your business will be bankrupt if Mrs. Pittsburgh decides to pull out her funding after the divorce?
Mr. PITTSBURGH: She always wants more and more – the marriage was just a starting point. Only a divorce will protect me from being exploited over and over again. Believe me, she’ll ask for more and more, if I stay in.
JUSTICE: Mr. Pittsburgh, your business depends on Mrs. Pittsburgh’s funds.
Mr. PITTSBURGH: As a businessman, I have one obligation, and that obligation is to my business. My marriage threatens my business, hurts my reputation, undermines my independence, imposes constant pressure on me, and puts me at a permanent disadvantage to everybody else in the world. I want to get a divorce. I want to be the only Pittsburgh again. No more Mrs. Pittsburgh. She can go back to Paris, France, if she wants to. But I’ll keep my name.
Act V Scene 2
JUSTICE: Mr. Pittsburgh, you can keep your name. But if you get a divorce, you won’t be able to keep your business. I’ve been informed that Mrs. Pittsburgh will pull out her funding, and that means you’re bankrupt.
Mr. PITTSBURGH: I’m getting divorced! It’s the only way to make my business great again!
JUSTICE: Is this your last word?
Mr. PITTSBURGH: I want a divorce!
JUSTICE: Sign here, please.
[Mr. Pittsburgh sings, then storms out of the room.]
JUSTICE [sighs]: The problems of one little person They don’t amount to hill of beans in this crazy world. Some day, he’ll understand that.
[Curtain. The orchestra plays As time goes by.]
* This is a purely fictional dialogue. Any similarities with real or fake characters or events anywhere in the universe are completely accidental. No cities, businesses, or marriages were harmed in the creation of the dialogue. Carbon emissions created directly and indirectly through writing this article will be offset by planting an apple tree.