Friday, Dec. 30, 2011 | 12:05 p.m.
In Italy, 99-year old “Antonio C” has recently learned that his 96-year-old wife of 77 years “Rosa C” had an affair over 60 years ago when he stumbled across some old love letters she had written in the 1940s.
Say it ain’t so, Mr. and Mrs. C.
To put this in perspective, Mrs. C’s affair happened at least 35 years before Arthur Fonzarelli began barging through Howard and Marion’s front door without ever knocking. But, ayyy, I digress.
It prompts a lot of questions. As everyone knows who has been in a long-term relationship, unwashed dishes in the sink are never really the core problem.
The marriage was obviously off to a bad start, in relative terms at least. Mrs. C had launched into her affair just 17 or so years into her wedded life.
Assuming that Mrs. C’s guilt subsided no sooner than a quarter-century later, she must have remembered — at least every decade or so — that there was a mound of letters stuffed in a hat box behind a stack of empty boxes that once housed brand new fancy Italian kitchen appliances on the top shelf of the spare bedroom closet. One day, soon, when Mr. C is out at Magazzino di Casa, she has got to get around to trashing them.
“Honey,” Mr. C said. “Have you seen the eight-foot extension cord?”
“No dear,” Mrs. C said. “Have you checked in the spare bedroom closet behind that inconspicuous hat box I’ve held on to since Benito Mussolini was shot?”
Mrs. C reportedly tried to convince Mr. C to stay, but after collecting his stool, paddle game and an ashtray, Mr. C was out the door searching, one would assume, for a younger woman.
It’s not easy to just group the C’s into the Kardashian/Spears/O’Connor failed marriage category. This subset demands a much deeper level of detail. Obviously, these problems didn’t just arise overnight.
Perhaps Mr. C had wanted an economical divorce for about half a century, but without any kind of proof Mrs. C was being unfaithful, he was doomed to give up an automatic 50% of the estate.
Patience is, after all, a virtue.
Just maybe Mr. C also had an affair, and she was about to discover his letters in the garage in a box next to his Bowflex Sport, and he had to strike first.
Perhaps Mr. C knew of the letters but just wanted to avoid a nasty custody battle over their five children, and the time now was right, for whatever plausible but sad reason.
Regardless, it’s a tragic ending not unlike J.R. Hildebrand hitting the wall in the last turn of the 2011 Indianapolis 500 just a single moment from winning.
And in Italy, where auto racing is king, one must wonder what in the world the Vatican must think of all of this. At least if a pilgrimage is in order, it’s in the neighborhood.