Simcha Fisher, author of The Sinner’s Guide to Natural Family Planning writes for several publications and blogs daily at Aleteia. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and ten children. Without supernatural aid, she would hardly be a human being.
A court date, that is. To contest a ticket. This seemed like a much better idea six weeks ago, when I didn’t have enough cash to pay the ticket. But now that my court date is set, I’m a little bit nervous. What am I going to say? It’s gotta be better than what I said to the officer who stopped me, which was the sobby version of, “I’M JUST HAVING A REALLY BAD WEEK, OKAY?”
My husband has been to court hundreds of times, as a crime reporter. From his expertise, I’ve gleaned that it’s best not to wear sweatpants that say “TOUCHDOWN” across the hiney, not to spit at the guard or even in his general direction, and not to refer to the judge as “my honor.” But beyond that, I guess all I have going for me is my street savvy, my honesty, and of course my natural, irrepressible charm.
I can point out to the judge that there were really three factors playing against me, making it well nigh impossible for me to remain within the confines of what is apparently the “law”: First, when the officer asked me if I was aware how fast I was going, I did not respond, “Sir, I was not even completely aware that I was in the car,” and I don’t feel that he gave me any credit for that. Second, nobody notified me that it was “Hey Everybody, All of a Sudden It’s Super Important To Pick One Side of the Road and Stay On It” day in America. Third, the sun was in my eyes.
So already you can see that the deck was stacked against me. To this, add the unfortunate fact that I assumed our town was too rinky dink to even have any policeman, and I think it will be clear that this ticket is entirely unjust, and should be thrown out with apologies post haste.
I mean, think about it: I’m a taxpayer. I recycle. I vote. I keep my number of public nuisances well under average for the neighborhood, and have even taken down most of my Christmas decorations. (Although wouldn't you agree that the giant Halloween spider made from garbage bags that we nailed to the side of the shed is timeless, though? And by “timeless,” I mean that I assumed Hurricane Sandy would take care of it for me. Stupid hurricane.) I didn’t even bother the town animal control officer about that deer that died in the stream in the back yard, because I forgot about it, and something came along and ate it.
In short, what you see before you, your honor, is a responsible citizen, a respectable resident of our town, and if not exactly a pillar of the community, than certainly not a direct impediment to the public welfare, except on dump day. Look, it is now obvious to me that “Sort it yourself, trash monkeys!” is not the proper way to address the trained and certified engineers who operate the transfer station. Mea culpa. It’s not entirely my fault; I was given fluoride as a child.
Your honor, I submit to you that the uniformed officials of this town might actually want to thank me for the example I set. Don’t we have too many people who are overly eager to become nothing more than a faceless automaton, another number in the crowd? Well, what would you call it when so many of my fellow citizens blindly line up to “register” their cars with the state? Is that why we fought in the war – so we could get a number on a sticker on our car? I, for one, refuse to be reduced to a number, and I think that some of you would do well to remember that our founding fathers would have turned pale with rage to hear how the grinding machinery of the DMV bleeds our hero citizens dry of their hard earned cash, especially when they accidentally spent it all on a trampoline.
In conclusion, your honor, I would like to remind you that the sun was in my eyes. And I was having a really bad week.
Well, wish me luck. Just to be on the safe side, I think I’ll wear the pants that say “DIGNITY” on the butt. Those always get the job done.