Going through a divorce is considered among the most stressful of human experiences, second only to a life-threatening illness, followed by getting fired and moving. Personally, I think standing in line at the DMV ought to be included, but that’s just me.

Evidence of the stress stemming from divorce, or even “breaking up,” can be heard on the taped Mel Gibson phone calls to his ex-girlfriend. Mel screams incessantly until he’s hoarse and insane, whichever came first.

Another example of soon-to-be-divorced stress is Tiger Woods. Last week’s Bridgestone International was the worst of his pro career as he finished a whopping 30 strokes behind the winner! “It’s been a long year,” is all Tiger could say.

Former UCLA basketball star Earl Watson filed for divorce on Aug. 1, claiming his wife, actress Jennifer Freeman, “bit him on the chest until he bled.” A few years ago I rode in an elevator at the Shores with the Watsons and I don’t recall anybody biting anybody. I’m pretty sure I would have remembered.

Divorce is the bread and butter of the “family law industry,” and it is an industry, at least in California. I have a wealthy lawyer friend in Santa Barbara who insists that divorce is a recession-proof business. In bad economic times people are more prone to break up and in good times they can afford to leave for a young babe, or the male equivalent for cougars. (“Cougars” defined as women over 35 dating men at least 8 years their junior, though I don’t know why it’s “cougar” as opposed to other felines.)

Divorce can be staggeringly expensive. (After all, somebody’s got to pay for my friend’s estate.) Recently, experts were predicting that Tiger Woods would wind up giving Elin $750 million in a settlement, even though they reportedly have a $10 million pre-nup

Curiously, as Woods’ golf game declines so does Elin’s predicted settlement. Suddenly Elin’s take was down to a “paltry” $500 million. (Imagine scraping by on that.) After the Bridgestone Invitational, I saw a revised estimate of $100 million. Today, Tiger’s playing in the PGA, the final major of the year. If he doesn’t make the cut tomorrow, what’s next, Elin and the kids on food stamps? Somehow I rather doubt Elin, or her children, or grandchildren for that matter, will ever have money problems.

Who does have money problems, and have their divorce trial on Aug. 30, are Frank and Jamie McCourt, who own the Dodgers. (Hopefully, not for long.) Having been divorced, I don’t wish it on anyone, unless you’re married to Jesse James, in which case it would seem a blessing. (Watch, somebody’s gonna forward this to James and there will be a “biker fatwah” out on me.)

With the McCourts, I’m chanting daily for the judge to force a sale, which would allow Mark Cuban to buy the Dodgers. The last time the Dodgers won the World Series Ronald Reagan was president! Then again, it could be worse. The last time the Cubs won the World Series Teddy Roosevelt was president.

It’s been estimated that the McCourts could spend $20 million in lawyer and accountant fees during their divorce. That’s the going rate for an ace starting pitcher, and the difference between first place in the division and fifth place in the wild card race.

As Mel Gibson can attest, one doesn’t have to be married to get “divorced.” Having a child and separating from your significant other, generally means you’re going to be dragged into Family Law Court.

Even LeBron James may be there. Savannah Brinson, his girlfriend, and mother of his two children recently told Harper’s Magazine that she isn’t thrilled with moving to Miami and uprooting her two boys. In this upcoming season, if LeBron starts missing three-pointers like Tiger’s missing putts, we’ll know why.

One marriage doomed to divorce that I was really looking forward to was Levi Johnston and Bristol Palin. Bristol is the eldest daughter of Sarah Palin who hated her future son-in-law and vice-versa. Though separated, Levi and Bristol share custody of their 2-year-old son, Trip, whose uncles are Trig and Track. (Makes you think someone in the Palin household was tripping.)

A month ago, Levi and Bristol publicly announced their engagement while Sarah privately announced “over her dead body.” I can picture Sarah kneeling over Levi in the snow, much like she did over that poor moose.

Though Bristol and Levi confessed that they had pined for each other, apparently Levi’s pining didn’t preclude getting an ex-girlfriend pregnant. Bristol called off the wedding and Sarah resumed dreaming of occupying the White House. (Her dream, my nightmare.)

Meanwhile, my lawyer friend, an ultra-conservative, is very much in favor of gay marriage. His theory is why should heterosexuals have the monopoly on divorce? And if Proposition 8 is overturned, it could double his business. What recession?

Jack can be reached at Jnsmdp@aol.com.

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