A Good Line

     I shouldn’t admit this, but I have a mean-spirited and quite possibly sexist thought every now and then.
     Please don’t think ill of me.
     Or, if you do, keep it to yourself. You don’t want to hurt my feelings.
     Here was my thought: “I sure hope the sex is worth it.”
     I had this thought last week while spending about an hour in line at a courthouse waiting to get just one document copied. In front of me was a quite nice-looking woman with a full head of slightly wavy brown hair, wearing jeans and a violet shirt that exposed her arms and shoulders. There was an interesting mass of freckles – sort of like an isolated land mass in an ocean of tanned skin – on her neck.
     Hey, I was behind her for an hour. I couldn’t help noticing these things. I wasn’t being creepy or anything. I looked away quite often.
     Next to her was a very annoyed man. He was a good head taller than the woman, looked studious because of a pair of wire-rimmed glasses and a serious expression and there was a touch of grey at his temples.
     I could tell he was annoyed because he spent the better part of the hour complaining about how unprepared the woman was how she should have filled out her forms online before coming there how if she didn’t care about getting sole custody, she shouldn’t be doing this how his time was valuable and he’d spent three hours trying to get her organized and she hadn’t helped at all.
     The woman’s response through most of this was silence and/or a look of utter incomprehension or maybe a little frustration. Occasionally it looked as if she were about to say something, but she didn’t.
     Then I got a surprise.
     Suddenly, after taking all the abuse, I watched the woman rise up on the balls of her feet, kiss the guy, and tell him she loved him.
     That’s when I had my evil thought.
     This was immediately followed by a flood of more practical thoughts. Our money-strapped courts are missing an opportunity here. If you’ve got a large captive audience just standing there, you ought to do something with it.
     An hour standing in a courthouse hallway needn’t be a waste. It should be fun for everyone, not just those of us lucky enough to stand behind a soap opera.
     And the court can profit too.
     I immediately jotted down some ideas. This is what my list looked like:
     Hors d’oeuvres.
     Group therapy.
     Improv actors.
     Flash dances.
     Most of those are self-explanatory. The court might as well sell refreshments and offer entertainment. It’s profitable and it will make a serious dent in crowd grumpiness.
     Line group therapy could even reduce the burden on the courts. If everyone in line – or possibly a line formed into a circle – shared their stories and offered suggestions to others, many of them might not feel like suing by the time they got to the counter.
     The catharsis alone would be worth the wait in line.
     I recommend hiring licensed therapists to do line duty. It’s cost-effective if you reduce caseload – and sell enough beer, lattes, and movie rentals.
     POINT, COUNTERPOINT. Last week, another columnist on the Courthouse News website noted that he’d just turned 60 and one of the things he’s learned was that every bad thing that’s happened in his life was his own fault.
     Oddly enough, I turned 60 this year too and one of the things I’ve learned is that every bad thing that’s happened to me is definitely someone else’s fault.
     I’ll take credit for the good stuff, though.

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