He says she can keep the house. But in the divorce settlement, Dr. Richard Batista of Long Island, New York, says he wants his kidney back. He donated the organ to his wife in 2001. Now he claims that she betrayed him by having an affair and filing for a divorce. He’ll settle for the monetary value of the kidney: $1.5 million.

What a guy. Now what kind of woman would cheat on the kind of man who’d donate a kidney and then ask her to return it? The legal issues here are hard to take seriously. So let’s have some fun with this.

Wouldn’t the kidney be considered community property? Would the law require Mrs. Batista to give back half the kidney? Are all of the organs of both parties community property?

What if she refuses to give him the money and opts for actually returning the organ? Is Dr. Batista willing to go through another surgery to have it reinstalled? You know, kind of like putting in a pacemaker, or perhaps an old battery for a cheap flashlight. And who pays for the surgery? Is this covered by Blue Cross? Some jokester on a talk radio show should call them up and ask them, live, on the air. Those Blue Cross claims handlers LOVE questions like this.

If he doesn’t want the surgery, what is Batista going to do with the kidney? Have it bronzed? Great conversation piece to put on the mantle over his fireplace. And a terrific babe magnet. Bring a new woman home on his first date, and just when the couch is starting to heat up, she looks toward the mantle and says, “What’s that, Dick?” “Hey, babydoll, that’s my kidney. I’m a surgeon, y’ know, and I cut it out of myself and bronzed it for the next love of my life in case she ever loses one of hers.”

I like this idea. It’s macho. Shows a high pain tolerance. Shows forethought. Shows off his supreme skill as a surgeon. Best of all, it’s romantic. Any fool can give you their heart. But ladies, when was the last time a man offered you one of his kidneys? Happy Valentine’s Day!

The good doctor clearly is playing hardball here, so all’s fair in love, war, and medicine. He’s the one who has made bodily organs a property issue and a bargaining chip during the divvying up of assets. That being the case, if I were the estranged wife, I’d get my lawyer to demand that Dr. Batista give me his other kidney, too. And then really raise the stakes: Okay, PityPot, you get the kidney back. But I want your testicles–both of them–or whatever monetary value the average man would place on them. (She could always play out this drama right up to the time of the hearing, and then settle for just one and let him keep the other. Why get greedy?)
But what’s a woman going to do with her ex-husband’s jewels? You certainly don’t want them bronzed and placed on the mantle. Try explaining that to the slob you bring home from the Cheatin’ Heart. “Oh, that? That’s what I do to men who don’t give me what I want.” Quickest way in the world to end a bad date–the guy crosses his legs and then hops on one foot right out of your living room and out of your life.
I say give the scrooge his kidney back, Hannibal Lecter style, on a plate, cooked and seasoned just like liver. And a six-pack of bottled beer, ribboned in pink, with a card: “Thanks for loaning me your kidney.” Let him choke on it.

See my column, MERCER: GLOVES OFF, at BadChiliMag.com

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