Passing Judgement

high school

In my second year of high school, because of circumstances beyond my control, I seemed to have a one hour void in my schedule. Since each day had to be completely filled with subjects to be learned, my home room teacher was in a quandary. She pondered my problem for about ten seconds and then asked me if I wanted to be a judge. I asked her what that entailed and she explained that when errant students are caught in the hall between periods without a hall pass, the hall monitors immediately detained them and brought them to a courtroom to be judged. I asked her who would be in the courtroom besides the defendant and myself and she said…”You’ll be by yourself.” I asked her what kind of power would I wield and she said I could give them three chances, probation or expel them from school. I agreed to do it.

The courtroom remained empty on my first day, not one case was brought before me. I sat there the entire hour studying the wall.

The following day I began doing homework just to keep busy when my reverie was abruptly interrupted by my first case. This studious nerd was caught red-handed lingering in the hall without a pass after the bell rang. Contritely, and almost at the point of tears, he explained the circumstances. The combination lock on his locker had been acting up and he wasn’t able to snap it shut (W.D.40 hadn’t been invented yet), so time got away from him. He pleaded for mercy while I pretended to write some important data down while I was really playing Tic Tac Toe with myself (I usually won).

I told him that I was dropping the charges because the incident was something beyond his control. “Oil your lock and never darken my doorstep again,” I said, with as much pomp and circumstance as I could muster. I thought the poor kid was going to hug me he was so elated. “What awesome power,” I thought, Hmm, maybe I might do this for the rest of my life. No one had ever called me, “Your honor” before, and it was quickly going to my head.

The next case quickly brought me back to earth. It took two large hall monitors to bring the next defendant before me. He was so big he had to stoop down to walk through the door. His arms hung down below his knees and he had the largest hands I had ever seen. The tee shirt he was wearing was having a hard time containing his muscles and the thought that passed through my mind was this could be my last few minutes on earth.

I recognized him immediately as being a first string guard on our school football team. If he ran interference for a running back, you either got out of the way or you went straight to the hospital.

I asked him why he had committed the dastardly deed (being caught without a hall pass) and he told me. It seemed he got carried away in conversation with a blonde and a redhead (not that hair color is pertinent to the facts of his case) and time had gotten away from him. I put my hand on his shoulder (nothing but rock) looked into his bloodshot eyes and declared him not guilty by reason of insanity. “Are you saying I’m a whacko?” he ranted with what looked like fire coming out of his nostrils.

“No,” I replied with complete calmness, “it’s the girls that are insane for letting a prize like you get away.” He smiled from ear to ear and thanked me profusely. It looked like I might live another day.

I resigned the next day and took woodshop instead. Up to that point I had never heard of anyone dying from a wood sliver so it was an easy decision.

(photo courtesy of Valeriy Evlakhov/Dreamstime.com)

Jerry Goldberg About Jerry Goldberg

Jerry Goldberg grew up on the west side of Chicago. After high school, he was drafted in the Army during the Korean conflict. Upon his honorable discharge, he joined Local 130 in Chicago as a plumber, working from 1952 to 2000. Jerry has been happily married for 60 years, residing with his wife, Gloria, in Huntley, Illinois. They were blessed with two wonderful children, and have three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
When his son encouraged him to get online, Jerry replied, "What do I need that for?" But all that changed a year into his retirement, when his daughter gave him a modem for his birthday, opening a whole new chapter. Finding stained glass insufficiently fulfilling, Jerry discovered the AARP message boards and began his one-finger magic. Eventually, he became quite proficient (two fingers), starting a board called, "Jerry's Corner."

This board was the second most popular board on AOL. Jerry bantered with any and all, and began writing humorous true stories of his past life. The stories you see here are a compilation of most he has written ... enjoy!

Jerry Goldberg About Jerry Goldberg

Jerry Goldberg grew up on the west side of Chicago. After high school, he was drafted in the Army during the Korean conflict. Upon his honorable discharge, he joined Local 130 in Chicago as a plumber, working from 1952 to 2000. Jerry has been happily married for 60 years, residing with his wife, Gloria, in Huntley, Illinois. They were blessed with two wonderful children, and have three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
When his son encouraged him to get online, Jerry replied, "What do I need that for?" But all that changed a year into his retirement, when his daughter gave him a modem for his birthday, opening a whole new chapter. Finding stained glass insufficiently fulfilling, Jerry discovered the AARP message boards and began his one-finger magic. Eventually, he became quite proficient (two fingers), starting a board called, "Jerry's Corner."

This board was the second most popular board on AOL. Jerry bantered with any and all, and began writing humorous true stories of his past life. The stories you see here are a compilation of most he has written ... enjoy!

Smiles For All