Court TV

Personal interests can surprise people. While one individual might enjoy an extreme sport, another might spend his free time practicing some kind of new meditation practice. Most folks, however, don’t engage in such serious hobbies. To the chagrin of my wife Amy, one of my favorite activities is watching court shows on television. Yes, I’m a “Judge Judy” groupie. I also enjoy “Judge Joe Brown,” “Judge Mathis,” and “People’s Court.” Is it educational broadcasting? No. Is it interesting? Definitely!

Judge Judy reminds me of my mother. Both women are cut-and-dry people. They don’t suffer fools at all. Mother always believed that two sides existed of any situation: right and wrong. Choosing the right is what people are supposed to do unless they are mentally incapable of knowing the difference between the two.

Judy Sheindlin is a Jewish lady with plenty of chutzpah. For twenty-five years, she’s served as a judge in family courts, and now she serves in what is undoubtedly the most popular court room in America. Each day, her show airs at 9:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. Episodes included a variety of cases covering a myriad of complaints. Civil courts are open to strange people with ridiculous claims, and Judge Judy airs some of the most ridiculous.

Some say they feel sorry for the people who appear before Judge Judy. I have not the slightest sympathy for them. For one, these folks have viewed the program enough times to know what goes on. Second, for some reason they sign up to appear on a show that will air across the nation. Third, they bring to courts cases that are absurd. My take on it is they deserve to be verbally flogged by Judge Judy for being so ignorant. Hey, these folks exchanged their dignity for the price of a plane ticket, hotel room in California, and $100.00. Yes, they might even win their cases and receive a cash settlement paid by the show’s producer. That happens about 40% of the time. It’s not enough for me to look like a fool to millions of viewers.

What I like best about this feisty woman in a judge’s robe is her attention to details. In most cases she cooks a person’s goose in its own grease. She listens intently to what people says and then uses their words to destroy their cases. She also uses common sense. One of her favorite expressions is “If it doesn’t make sense, it’s not true.” She’s caught hundreds who appear before her in boldface lies.

Sheindlin also is prone to name calling. Among her favorites are “moron, idiot, and fool.” She holds nothing back, and some people declare that she’s too mean to those who appear on the show. All someone who objects to her attacks needs to do is watch a few episodes of the show. Before long, they’ll declare that Judge Judy has hit the nail on the head by referring to folks with those names.

I make no apologies for liking “Judge Judy.” It’s closer to “real TV” than some of the other so-called reality shows. It’s about time that we called on the carpet those whose frivolous lawsuits are without merit. I only wish I could get Nashville stations. They air three straight hours of court television Monday through Friday. I need to go now because before long, the court shows will be on the television.

It's Not Fair!

Fair is defined as being marked by impartiality and honesty: free from self-interest, prejudice, or favoritism. It’s something most folks learn about throughout their lives. However, most often the word fair is used with two other as in “It’s not fair.”

When we are children, the concept of “fair” is drilled into our little heads. Parents insist that we be fair in our play with brothers and sister and that we don’t allow self-interest to do something wrong when we must split a treat. Little by little, kids grasp the meaning of the word fair. Some learn it when they hear the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

As the years go on, the phrase “It’s not fair” enters our vocabularies. In school, kids are forever squawking about how unfair tests are. Teachers are blamed with their failure because they have given unfair tests, unfairly made accusations of misbehavior, or moved unruly students to isolation. The whining goes on forever.

Kids also begin to think that home is an unfair place. They can’t understand how it’s fair for parents to expect them to help out around the house. They claim adults treat them like slaves. When a child misbehaves and is punished, he cries “foul” and complains to the powers of heaven that being grounded for sneaking out last night or losing his car because he received a speeding ticket is not at all fair. Demanding that a teen stay home to study for exams can lead to temper tantrums that declare the whole world is against the youth. One thing’s for sure: kids don’t think moms and dads have a fair bone in their bodies.

Unfairness continues in the work place. Some bosses actually set expectations of their employees. Those new to the workforce are shocked that they are to be at work on time every day. Tell them a dress code is in place, and they become apoplectic. A few are dismayed that they aren’t starting work in a management position or that their salaries aren’t equal to veteran workers. To the amazement of employers, parents sometimes call to demand that their “babies” be treated better.

Unfortunate things occur in all our lives. We wouldn’t wish them on anyone else. But if we lose a loved one, one of the first thing we say is “It’s not fair.” I’ve said it before. Then I thought to myself, would it have been fair for another’s loved one to have died in place of mine? I didn’t want to have my parents and my brother die; they were too dear to me, but their passing had less to do with fairness and more to do with a larger plan. That seems to put life a bit more in perspective.

Here’s a news flash: life isn’t fair. Bad things some time happen. Some folks don’t treat others well or play by the rules. Parents do the best they can to rear children who are good, loving, and caring individuals. In the course of parenting, they sometimes make mistakes, but they are rarely unfair. Work isn’t a place for fairness; it’s every man for himself. It’s where the fittest survive. No, fun isn’t a constant ingredient; that’s why it’s called “work.” All would do well to get a bit tougher and begin providing their own fairness. The next time you hear the line, “It’s not fair,” I dare you to ask the speaker why it’s not. The answer might be shocking.