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Wednesday, May 4, 2011


Judge Judy to the Rescue

            I used to watch Judge Judy regularly, not for the crazy people exposing their stupidity, greed and lack of morality to the world, but for what I could learn from the wise judge herself.
Her phrase, “If it doesn’t make sense, it isn’t true,” became my mantra as I studied how she spotted liars and exposed them. I found it fascinating.

            I had no idea her wisdom would change our lives.

My husband’s church was looking for a new pastor. Yes, he is Baptist and I am Jewish. He was on the search committee and from time to time I would ask him how it was going and did they have any good candidates. When my husband came to me with some conflicting information, I put on my Judge Judy robes and advised him.
One day he told me about a candidate, I will call him John Smith, who wrote the worst letter he had ever seen. The letter was full of misspellings, bad grammar and run-on sentences. Since my husband, a lawyer, is a stickler for perfect writing this bothered him greatly, like a poke in the eye when he was reading.

            After coming back from a weekend away, he informed me John Smith was the guest speaker at his church that weekend and he was sorry to miss him. The following Sunday, several of the congregants told him how wonderful Mr. Smith’s sermon was and he passed their accolades along to me. I did a double take, hearing Judge Judy in my head, “if it doesn’t make sense, it isn’t true.”
            “How can that be? How can someone who can't write a letter write a brilliant sermon?” I asked him.

            He shrugged. At the time, I was teaching direct marketing at a fashion college in New York City. One of the professors there taught me how to check for plagiarism by taking the questionable sentence, putting it in quotes and Googling it. This works beautifully, exposing plagiarizers with minimal fuss. I suggested to my husband he might want to do that and we moved on.
            The next morning at six a.m., I rolled over to find my husband propped up on one elbow, wide awake…unusual for him at that hour…staring at me.
            “You’re up, right? You’re up?” He asked, all excited (no…not THAT kind of excited!)
            I nodded and he almost dragged me out of bed and to the computer in the living room. He handed me a couple of printed pages, pulled up a chair for me and clicked on a DVD of John Smith’s sermon, recorded at his church.
            You guessed it. The sermon was word-for-word purchased for $4.95 from a “Sermons R US” type of website on the Internet. As I followed along, my mouth hung open. Even the anecdotes were the same. When the sermon said, “My childhood best friend, Sam…” John Smith didn’t even change the name of the friend!
            I burst out laughing and the two of us rolled on the floor at the audacity and stupidity of this man. My husband took this information to the committee and John Smith was dropped from consideration immediately.
            While my husband credits me with saving them from this lying faker, I credit Judge Judy. If it hadn’t been for you, Judge, we would never have been able to expose this guy. Thank you, Judge Judy!

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Anonymous said...

It's amazing the bits of wisdom we can pick up and where we can get them from. Great story.

Kim Bowman Author said...

Too funny, Jean!