Sunday, September 9, 2007

Judge Not, I'll Try (No I Won't)

The Bible says, "Judge not, lest ye be judged" but that's not enough of a deterrent. Judging other peoples lives and choices is fun, free and entertaining. You just have to pay for the popcorn.

To compound my sin I love watching "Judge Judy." She judges the legal merits of each case. We the viewers judge the litigants. With practice you can even predict the outcome of a case by the outfit they’re wearing. Being sued on national television may not call for a tie and tails, but I think a sweat suit is a tad too casual for court.

The best part of TV judge shows is the post verdict wrap up. This is where the litigants get to speak up for themselves; sounding off about the judge's decision, their opponent and offering sage advice to the viewer. Occasionally there are thoughtful and coherent remarks but for the most part it’s a rapid exchange of insults spewed in a desperate attempt to get in the last word. American entertainment at its finest. Pass the popcorn.

Sadly, the majority of cases are disgruntled couples. They’ve shacked up, procreated, co-mingled finances and when it doesn’t work out, they run to court. The law provides some remedy for marrieds, but even so it can’t fix bad choices or a broken heart. You cannot litigate love. That’s what makes these cases so compelling, yet difficult to watch. We’ve all been there.

A recent case featured a young couple who began their relationship when She was 16 and He was 19. We’re talking statutory rape for those of you inclined to quibble over such trivial legalities. Four years and two kids later they were broken up. Surprising, I know. She was suing him for the return of Her clothes. She and the kids had quickly moved out when She could no longer put up with His controlling nature.

Ah, the impetuousness of youth. The Grown Woman’s Guide to Relationships clearly states, if you’re gonna leave – and deep down you always know – you’ve got to plan ahead. Take everything you have a right to because there’s no going back.

He was counter suing for the return of his dignity.

Their case was pretty straight forward, but as expected the post verdict comments were enlightening.

She said: "He has tons of guns. He'd pull ‘em and threaten to shoot me."
Funny, that never came up in court. She said He was controlling, not crazy. If I were trying to build a case against my ex to get my stuff back I think I'd open with the gun.

He said, "I never threatened to kill her with no gun."

Eerily implying that he had threatened to kill her, just not with a gun. A rifle perhaps? Strangulation? Arsenic?

She said, "If I would do my hair and makeup, I was trying to sleep with
everybody. I told him I wasn't but he didn't believe me."

Of course he didn’t. He couldn’t hear through the deafening sound of his own insecurity.

He said, "She'd never wore makeup before, ever, in her life. And then she wore
it to go bartend at a party, what's that telling you?"

That tempting though it may be, not every woman wants to sashay about town in a house coat and curlers? That’s the trouble with young love. It doesn’t realize that people grow and change. Hell, older people don’t handle it all that well either.

When I was 16 I didn't wear makeup. A little Vaseline mixed with Kool Aid was all the lip stick I needed. A few years later I could tell you every color in the Wet & Wild lipstick line as if I’d mixed in the lab myself. In essence, a funny thing happened between 16 and now. I grew up. That’s what children do.

Did He really think that She would stay 16 and naive forever? Two babies before 21 pretty much put the kibosh on that. You’d think he’d be so busy raising the two kids he already had, that he wouldn’t have time to treat his girlfriend like one. And they say men don’t multitask.

But it’s a catch 22. If she had acquiesced to his wishes by not doing her hair, makeup – oh hell, why even bother bathing – in time he might have left her because she was such a mess. No man wants to be seen with a hag on his arm; especially not a young one. Then we might have seen Him on a talk show telling the world that He doesn’t understand how such a beautiful girl could let herself go; and how He’d love to see Her get a make over.

It makes me wonder if the most famous of young lovers – Romeo and Juliet – had actually hooked up, how their relationship would have faired. Would we see them on "Divorce Court" getting a stern talking to from Judge Toler? Would she urge them to put aside their differences and focus on the needs of their children? Or would Juliet be crying her eyes out on "Maury Povich" as a vindicated Romeo pumps his fist in the air yelling, "I knew they weren’t mine!" The obligatory back drop screen featuring two adorable children who look curiously like Mercucio.

As the bard so correctly said, "The course of true love never did run smooth."

Dammit, I’m all out of popcorn.

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