Snakes, Spiders, Judges And Other Things That Bite

Copyright (c) 2010 Lucille Uttermohlen

One of our local judges has such a bad temper that some of my colleagues refuse to appear in front of him. Tropical plants would love his courtroom, because enough steam comes out of his ears to keep the entire rain forest content. He has the patience of a rattlesnake, and you never know when he’ll strike. Most of my colleagues have had the pleasure of being embarrassed by him in open court. He could make Superman cringe if he thought he was the least bit “unprepared” or said or did anything his majesty, I mean honor considered “inappropriate”.

The odd thing about this hissing jurist is that his decisions are usually sound. He can see through a lot of posturing and brown nosing. I don’t think God could bribe him. He is one of the best judges in the area. It’s just that, if you aren’t covered with mental alligator hide, he can bring you to tears.

One of my favorite stories about this judge happened several years ago. I expect the matrix printer to show up on one of those things that this year’s college freshmen wouldn’t know. However, I had one, and it didn’t always cooperate with the Apple 2 plus computer that came with it. I would tell it what margins I wanted, and sometimes it would accommodate me and my print job would be, if not lovely, legible. At other times, it would get creative, and my document would look like those 1 million monkeys with typewriters had drafted it for me.

I prepared a divorce decree, and the margins just wouldn’t come out. I seemed to have a choice between having nothing but one signature on a page by itself or having the whole mess crammed together in an unreadable black mass. I tried several different things, but it just wouldn’t work. I reread my document, and had a brainstorm that has changed the rest of my legal practice.

“I know what I’ll do,” I told my captive audience, which consisted of my dog and mother. “I’ll just add a new paragraph, and it will kick everything down a few lines.”

It worked! Everything lined up just fine after that.

The next time I did a divorce decree, I had made peace with my printer. I took the extra paragraph out of my form, and drafted a couple new decrees. I took them up to the courthouse, and would like to report that we all lived happily ever after. But, I had no more then gotten back to my office when the phone rang.

“Why did you change your decree?” If the courthouse had had windows, they would have rattled.

“S S S Sir?” I quavered.

“That last decree was the best document you ever handed me!” he thundered.

“I I I I’ll put the paragraph back
When she’s not tending her imaginary rain forest in Judgipoo’s courtroom, Lucille writes about adult relationship issues at Her blog is http://www.couple-or-not/blog and you can always email legal questions or just vent at
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