who's on judge mathis today? #84

a books/snacks/softcore daily mini letter

i had to get a new computer because my old one ate shit, so when i took it out of the box and immediately sat down to recap this case i had to find that picture of greg smoking his gavelpipe to use but this one popped up like second or third in the image search and made me laugh so i’m gonna try it out. are we feeling it? email me.

plaintiff: let me tell you something, this computer is different (newer, nicer) than the seven year old one i just ran over with my car in a fit of sheer rage, and the screen is different (?????) so my progressives look weird and i feel like i am dying. am i doing something wrong? where do i tilt my eyeballs. also the keyboard is incredibly sensitive so every third word is being misspelled and i don’t feel like there’s enough room for both of my hands on the keyboard. is this normal? why does life continue to mock me?

defendant: okay, so: i followed along with all the setup shit until i got frustrated and bored and screamed LOOK BITCH I KNOW HOW TO WORK A FUCKING COMPUTER in the middle of an empty room and quit. so now i may have screwed myself because i have a computer that's only halfway set up, but it's enough of the way set up that i can use it to do the dumb little shit i use a computer for (this newsletter, googling memes), therefore going back to finish the virtual tour etc really feels like a huge waste of time because i can mostly do what i want to do on it except when it comes to figuring out how not to press down seven keys at once just by breathing near it. is there a way to change keyboard sensitivity? guess who will never fucking know!

the complaint: fine fine fine, i’ll get to it. kathy from willernie, minnesota, a white mom with a sassy menopause haircut and sensible navy cardigan, is suing her daughter jennifer and jennifer’s boyfriend william, both from stillwater, minnesota, who are decked out in jc penney discounted business casual (my favorite style of courtroom attire, tbh) and, i hate to speculate, but these people definitely use drugs.

what does she want: $3383 for three unpaid loans.

how it went down: kathy sighs heavily, like heaves up a sigh from the pit of her very soul, and groans “let’s start with jennifer.” and this is why i didn’t have any children, folks. because sure, ostensibly you could give birth to a good one who loves you and eats all their peas and learns how to code so they can afford to put you in a nice home when the time comes, but i have the kind of disastrous luck that makes me 100% certain that if i had inflicted myself with a human child it would absolutely be the kind of kid that has me looking like a reanimated corpse and humming an old negro spiritual under my breath while solemnly shaking my weary head at a daytime television court judge. nobody knows the trouble kathy has seen!

kathy says jennifer was never an easy child, and she first got in trouble at 12 when the police brought her home because she was “drunk off her butt.” okay obviously i’m a little suck up and am wholeheartedly on Team Mom, but listen, if your kid is out getting blasted down at the local watering hole at age 12 girl what in the fuck were you doing? kathy says jennifer had her first child at 21 and after the baby was born the kid’s dad didn’t like that she had gained so much baby weight so she started using meth to slim down.

okay this is absolutely NOT FUNNY plus we don’t believe in diet culture around here, BUT: did jennifer just, like, skip the “eat broccoli and closely monitor your carbs” stage of trying to shave a few pounds off??? where is the “lean cuisines and mineral water” phase of her weight loss journey? how come she didn’t evangelize about “that great new calorie-tracking app” or make a passionate case for how good “intermittent fasting and keto” makes her feel? who the fuck goes straight to METH??????? (listen babe, i know the answer is “people who’ve already done meth” but come on i wanted to get that broccoli joke in!)

jennifer, who is blonde and flyover country pretty, got her “barbie doll body” back and everyone was delighted except uh oh she was now addicted to meth! to support her habit she started dealing it with a friend, and when he got busted he set her up on a bust and she ended up doing some time in prison. “not jail,” kathy specifies, “PRISON.” man i gotta tell you it still gives me a thrill to see a volunteer third grade room parent-looking midwestern mom say shit like “he set her up on a bust” with a straight face. jennifer’s son and his father went to live with kathy while jennifer was serving her sentence, and when she got out of prison jennifer went to stay with kathy’s mother instead of the halfway house the state had recommended.

jennifer was out for two or three months before she was pregnant again by a man she met at AA. she kept the baby, against the family’s wishes, and eventually got a house for the two of them to live in? it’s unclear, but i think kathy still had the older child while jennifer was raising this new baby. after a couple years jennifer’s drug use, which apparently hadn’t stopped despite her having been to prison and regularly attending meetings once she got out, escalated. kathy clarifies that jennifer was a “weekend mom” and says she didn’t want the older son (whom kathy refers to as “the redhead”) because her boyfriend at the time said the child wasn’t attractive because of his red hair. is that...a real thing people believe? what does this have to do with anything, did she spend a thousand dollars on hair dye? let’s go!

jennifer admits that she was a tough kid but says she’s been sober from meth for fifteen years. um, kathy??? jennifer continues, saying that after she got out of prison she did go to live with her grandmother, but she also went to work and finished college. kathy, hello???????? what a shithead, did she think her daughter wasn’t going to get a chance to testify? “here judge, let me distract you with this wild tale of a drunken 12 year old getting dragged home by a cop after making snow angels but leave out the part about how she got a degree and has been sober for well over a decade.” terrible! jennifer also debunks the whole thing about the redheaded stepchild who wasn’t allowed to be in the christmas card and yo this is an actual kid with a name so let’s move on.

in 2017 kathy says, sighing, that she loaned jennifer some money ($1055, i think?) and that jennifer agreed to pay it back in installments that they never set up and, guess what’s coming next, jennifer never paid it back! kathy took her to court and won a judgment but she couldn’t collect, which is why she’s here. fast forward to present day, when jennifer and her boyfriend needed a car, and kathy decided to help them purchase one despite the debt they already owed her. i understand helping your kid out but there should be a rule that you can’t also litigate? kathy says she wanted to trust them even though jennifer had never given her a dime, and greg says you can’t trust a person who has already ripped you off. anyway, the car cost $3250 and jennifer and her man paid back $500 total on it.

the ruling: jennifer says that the judgment her mother is trying to collect on is money she spent on christmas presents, and that kathy is the type of person who will do something nice for you and then if you piss her off she’ll retaliate by, oh i don’t know, taking you to court and pretending she’d given you a loan. that tracks for me, because if you bought someone a car without so much as a text message stating when and how you expected the money for it to be paid back then come on lady you just gave them a fucking car.

jennifer hands the judge a wrinkled pink sheet of paper claiming that it proves she’s paid her mother some money, but it’s from the car place and it isn’t a receipt it’s just...well no one really says what it actually is? but it isn’t evidence, although i don’t actually know. i just know greg is pissed because it doesn’t prove anything and since jennifer’s only argument is that she paid some of what kathy is claiming she owes her, not that she doesn’t owe her money in general. greg says he now can’t trust her and rules in her mother’s favor, judgment for the plaintiff. jennifer shrugs and her man gathers all their loose sheets of paper. what was the boyfriend even there for? he stood silently in the courtroom the entire time like a mannequin but was feeling spicy during the hallway interview, during which he said “[kathy] is never gonna see the grandchild we have together, never in her life.” lucky kid, i guess. don’t want to risk spending his entire childhood being called “brownhead.”

did uncle greg say anything fucked up to anyone: “is that what caused the meth use, a crying baby? or did you just like to get high? you tried it, you liked it, and you kept doing it!”

*bangs gavel*