Welcome to The Epic! I am launching this blog as a manifesto for and a guide to living well. The title and motto of the blog are taken from the Epicureans, at least some of whom believed in the notion that not one minute of the future was guaranteed to them and that as a result they had the duty to live life to its fullest every moment.

I believe in discovering fun and pleasurable things wherever I find myself each day and I am told I have a knack for unearthing them. My hope is that by sharing in my pleasures and some of my ways of finding them you will begin to collect all the riches that lie in the moments of your life. They are there. Take them! All our lives should be.....Epic.

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Old Timers

A week into being fifty-two, I ran into a fellow I know who is a professional contemporary. Not an easy sort of person to meet these days. Maybe they figured out something I didn't. More likely, in the words of Duke Ellington, I "don't get around much anymore". In any event, we fell into one of those "old timer" conversations about people we knew who are even older timers than us. Guys from way back. Legends. We shared some great memories and had a few good laughs.

One gent in particular was a total character. In the manner in which only small American southern town courthouses can produce total characters. Not your Atticus Finch sort of lawyer by any means. This guy rolled into court one day thirty years ago resplendent in a suit...and a turtleneck sweater. The judge was a senior man. An even older time, Southern, small town courthouse man. As the attorney got settled behind the counsel table, the judge stopped whatever else was going on and froze him with a look...

"Mr. [S] did you forget your necktie this morning?"

"No yah-honnah. As you can see, I am wearing a turtleneck sweater. No necktie required."

"I can see very well and I know what a turtleneck sweater is. What I want to know is what a turtleneck sweater is doing in my courtroom, sir."

"Yah-honnah, the turtleneck sweater is on the cutting edge of business fashion. Endorsed by the highest authorities of men's style."

"Oh? Such as who?"

At this point, the O.T. clicked open his new Samsonite briefcase and plunged his hand inside. Triumphantly he played his trump card...

"Why yah-honnah, according to no less authority than Mr. Hugh M. Hefner in this month's issue of Playboy magazine. I have a copy right here, as you can also no doubt see."

What may be described as a pregnant pause occurred at this juncture. The judge peered down from the bench at the O.T. The bailiff chewed his lip to keep from bursting out laughing. The court reporter and clerk slid slightly down in their respective chairs waiting for the brimstone to fly from the judge's direction. Then...

"Mr. [S], give me that. The Court will give it a full review in chambers at its leisure and I will rule on the topic at an appropriate time. In the meantime, you have ten minutes to get your butt back to your office and get back here wearing a shirt and necktie."

The judge took possession of S's copy of Playboy and gave a strong rap with the gavel. Next case.

I miss those old characters. I guess the burden is on us, who have defaulted into their places now, to carry on. But I still don't think I would try wearing a turtleneck to court. Playboy magazine or no Playboy magazine.


Ben said...

My favorite courthouse character is a full-blown Kentucky Colonel, resting in peace now, or more appropriately, ushering the less-than-welcome through the Pearly Gates on just his say-so.

As a Vietnam-era UCMJ Judge he presided over the atrocities trial that inspired the movie "Casualties of War". Before that he marched to Berlin as a Ranger, and my favorite story of his is not law related. He claims that, while occupying a chateau in France which had been hurriedly abandoned by Jerries in the face of the invading Allies, he discovered an autographed copy of Mein Kampff in its well-appointed library. Since he had just chewed out his enlisted men for ransacking the home's liquor stores, he couldn't very well keep the collectible book for himself so he returned it to the shelf where he found it.

It is from experiences like these that forged the sense of gentle fairness that he brought to the courts here. I miss him.

Main Line Sportsman said...

Turtleneck to court..what was he thinking.
A putz who works in my building showed up in motion court here in Phila wearing flip-flops...the echo of the judges expletives are still bouncing around City hall.

Sandra said...

What a great story. Yes, we are the new "Old Guard" and I quite enjoy it. Before retirement I was one of the last bastions of decorum. Those lessons are good for young people. xoxo

tintin said...

More of these iffin ya don't mind.