“Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” … and Wife Swapping

Declaration of Independence (1819), by John Trumbull.jpg
What I am about to share with you is based on a true story. Well, bits of it anyway.

A funny thing happened on the way to Independence Hall.

Just days before our Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776, two of their trusted advisors — the actual architects of the D.O.I. — were at a local watering hole around the corner from Independence Hall in Philadelphia.

“Freshen’ ya drink, Guvnas?” said one of the barmaids — I think her name was Teagan.

I should hope not! Because let me tell you. These two stewed prunes didn’t need any more booze. Indeed, they’d been tossing back hella-drinks all day. Deep in the cups, the two men passed on the refill and, instead, stumbled off to the outhouse to relieve themselves.

Unfortunately, however, they left behind a bar napkin.

And not just any bar napkin. Indeed, this bar napkin contained the original draft of the D.O.I.

But, wait. It gets worse.

Lurking in the corner of the tavern was the secret British agent Nigel Von FishNChips. Now, in addition to being one of Britain’s top spies, Nigel had a crude sense of humor. Puns and double entendre were too subtle for dear old Nigel.

Instead, Nigel went right for the jugular.

Seizing the moment, he whipped out his trusty quill and ink jar and began to edit that first draft of the Declaration of Independence by changing the line about “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” to “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness and Wife Swapping.” Fortunately, he had enough self-control to stop himself from drawing a phallus on the napkin.

(Unfortunately, this blogger didn’t exercise enough self-control to leave out the phallus part from this not-so-true story).

Just when things were looking really bleak, one of the two advisors returned to the bar — the other had already Ubered home. He retrieved the bar napkin and stuffed it into his pocket. And, in an unlikely turn of events, the next morning, the advisor reached into his pocket and found the napkin. Whew!

This story ends happily.  After sobering up with a morning-after smorgasbord of scrapple, coffee, and cheesesteaks — which was after belly-laughing for hours like immature college students over the unsavory “wife swapping” edit  — the advisors revised the D.O.I.

And our Founding Fathers were none the wiser.

Sure enough, history practically repeated itself.

This time, it was Nigel’s nephew, Clotted Cream McGee, who almost pulled off a fast one by changing the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution to declare that governments cannot deprive any person of “life, liberty, or wifeswapping ” without due process of law. Fortunately, the drafters ran a spell check, changed “wifeswapping” to “property,” and saved the Constitution.

Who knows what would have happened had CCM inserted a space between “wife” and “swapping.”

Well, maybe two Louisianna sheriff’s deputies would have prevailed in this Fifth Circuit opinion. Instead, on appeal from a Louisiana federal court, the Fifth Circuit upheld the firing of the two sheriff’s deputies for not obeying their Sheriff’s directive that they not cohabitate with each other’s wives before getting divorced from their current wives.

I just love this quote from the appellate court. Sop it up with a biscuit:

Their involvement in relations that openly and “notoriously” violate the legally sanctioned relationships of marriage and family is likely to besmirch the reputation of the Sheriff’s Department and hinder its ability to maintain public credibility.

The appellate court ultimately concluded that the firing did not infringe on the appellants’ constitutional rights.

It even closed with a discussion of Obergefell v. Hodges, the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2015 decision governing same-sex marriage. Hey! That sounds like a plausible argument said no one ever except for the appellants.  Let’s see how the court handled it:

The Supreme Court’s recent decision in Obergefell v. Hodges does not alter applicable law. Whatever ramifications Obergefell may have for sexual relations beyond the approval of same-sex marriage are unstated at best, but Obergefell is expressly premised on the unique and special bond created by the formal marital relationship and children of that relationship. Obergefell does not create “rights” based on relationships that mock marriage, and no court has so held.

The takeaway for my readers.

I suggest that you do a lot of searching into that dark black soul of yours to explain why you made it 700 words deep into an HR-compliance post with “wife swapping” in the title.

Keep searching.

Hey, little monster. I’ve got my eye on you.

Image Credit: By John Trumbull – US Capitol, Public Domain, Link
“Doing What’s Right – Not Just What’s Legal”
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