In The Case of “Stupid”

“All rise,” said the bailiff in a booming voice–there was a loud shuffle of feet as members of the courtoom stood. The bailiff continued: “Court is now in session. The honourable Judge Mary Sassafrass is presiding.”

The judge ascended the two steps to the raised platform and assumed her position behind the bench.

Mr. Travolta, the attorney for the defense, raised his hand.

“Something on your mind?” said Judge Sassafrass, with a frown.

“Yes,” your Honour, “may I approach the bench?”

“Only if you do a funny walk.”

Without batting an eye, Mr. Travolta stepped out from behind his desk, did a slide step right, a scoot to the left, and a two-step goose step. After a brief moonwalk, he was there–in front of the bench. Ms. Ciriello, the Crown Prosecutor, sedately stepped forward and joined him.

“Nice work, Travolta,” said Judge Sassafrass as she leaned forward. “You realize this is highly irregular. We haven’t even begun.”

“Yes, your Honour, I’m well aware; but I believe I can supply evidence that can end this trial before it even begins.”

“Hmph, we’ll see about that,” muttered Ms. Ciriello.

While the members of the court remained standing, the two attorneys conferred in whispers with the judge. Finally Judge Sassafrass gave a nod and motioned for the bailiff to approach the bench. After he listened to her instructions, he nodded assent and turned around to face the members of the court.

When the attorneys were standing behind their respective desks, the bailiff nervously said, “All of you may now be seated–ahem, except the stupid ones.”

A great kerfuffle erupted. The members of the court sat, stood up again, turned right and left, and yo-yoed between standing or seated positions.

“Do I look stupid?” one elderly woman beseechingly asked the person next to her. “Not particularly,” came the reply.

“I got a “C” once in Home Ed. Does that count?” asked another lady.

“Don’t be ridiculous!” exclaimed a man behind her. “Letters don’t count–numbers do!”

“I’ve never been good with directions,” said one woman nervously. “I got lost twice coming here!”

“I don’t know a great deal about cooking,” stated one man with a glum expression. “I’ve been eating bacon and eggs for years–don’t know how to cook anything else.”

“I flunked History and Geography in high school,” said a young woman.

“My ten-year-old son had to solve my Rubik’s Cube for me,” stated a mother, close to weeping.

“I once purchased polyester slacks,” blurted another lady. “Honestly, I thought they were cotton!”

“I’ve been married six times,” said one lady. “Does that make me stupid?”

“Of course not!” exclaimed the man to her right. “I’m on my seventh–practice, my dear, practice!”

The see-saw of the members of the court seemed unstoppable. With a stern expression, Judge Sassafrass finally reached for her gavel and slammed it down hard. “Order!” she exclaimed. “All of you–sit down, now!”

Mr. Travolta adjusted his tie. “May I, your Honor?,” he asked with a wave of his hand.

“I wish that you would,” replied Judge Sassafrass, “since you’re the cause of this mess.”

“Ladies and gentlemen of the jury,” he began.

Suddenly the doors at the back of the courtroom flung open as Jack Nicholson burst into the room and snapped off his trademark sunglasses. After positioning himself mid aisle, he shook a scowl onto his face and bellowed, “You can’t handle the truth!”

“C’mon, Jack, ” said Mr. Travolta, “is this really necessary?”

“Not at all,’ said Jack, grinning nonchalantly. “A guy named Art Russell asked me to do a walk-on.” He then saluted the court, snapped his heels together, and marched from the courtroom.

Mr. Travolta rolled his eyes at the court reporter and said, “Now, where was I?”

The reporter carefully scanned her computer and said, “yada, yada, yada.”

“Oh yes,” said Mr. Travolta, “thank you. I assert that my client, Mr. Dimwatt, has been unjustly accused of “Gross Stupidity” and that all charges against him should be dropped immediately! We’ve just had proof–right here, in this very courtroom–that even you fine folks cannot determine if you’re stupid unless you compare yourselves against someone else. Humans have this insane habit of judging themselves by appearance and performance. It’s nonsense! Is it not true that each and every one of us has strengths and weaknesses? Aren’t all of us gifted in our own ways? I’ll tell you what’s really stupid, folks–trying to be like everyone else! Be yourself, shine! We’re meant to share our gifts for the common good. I strongly urge you–in fact, I beg of you–to find Mr. Dimwatt NOT GUILTY, on all counts! Finally, Mr. Travolta spun around to face Judge Sassafrass and spiked his best Saturday Night Fever impression. He then bowed and said, “Your Honour, I rest my case.”

Given a few moments to reflect upon the case (and the secret knowledge that she had flunked the Bar Exam twice, and always been a Jack Nicholson fan), Judge Sassafrass snapped down the gavel and proclaimed, “Case dismissed! Mr. Dimwatt is free to go.”

***

Believe it or not, theres actually a point to the story: The competitive mindset of humankind is the cause of great suffering and misery. If we desire to express our highest potential, we must learn to accentuate what’s positive and embrace our innate creativity. We must cast aside our negative habit of judging ourselves against the appearance and performance of so-called others. Each of us is a miracle, with unique talents to share. The truth is that all of us have intrinsic value. Isn’t it time that we learned to love ourselves…just…as…we…are?

Dare to dream (and care for one another).

With heartfelt regards,

Art

Copyright © – 2021 – R. Arthur Russell

P.S. Please share this article if you enjoyed it. If you’d like to view my latest book (This Taste of Flesh and Bones–released September 8, 2020), press here. May it help you in your spiritual journey. 🙏🙏

Thank You” & “Note to Publishers

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