Monday, August 13, 2007

Mock trial with J. Reinhold

Never have I been a soap opera gal. I knew girls in high school and college who recorded the antics of Lucky and Stone and Alexa. Ridiculous plots aside, I could never get past the high school AV club production quality and the accompanying commercials for Depends and funeral insurance. Much like my theory of the Essence Sentence, soap operas were summed up for me on a forced viewing of one of those shows (Does it matter which one, really?) when some girl said, “This happens every time he gets kidnapped.” Every time? EVERY TIME? Your kidnappings are so routine that people see patterns in events? (My Essence Sentence for R. Kelly’s “Trapped in the Closet”? “The midget faints again.” You’re the master, Kels.)

This all poses a problem for someone who’s got a summer vacation and no cable. I realize that every time I leave the house, money seems to leak out of my hand, so I try to stay in and write until I’m close to losing my mind. Then I go get coffee.

My solution: courtroom dramas. There’s Judge Joe Brown, Judge, Greg Mathis, Judge Maria Lopez and Judge Alex. (He’s like the cool guidance councilor of the group, ‘cause we get to call him by his first name.)

Like the cast of The Real World, each judge gives an intro with their hook. Judge Maria Lopez came from Cuba, her intro tells us. (Of course she did.) She is the American Dream! Judge Alex is all about family, Judge Joe Brown got a second chance after a scallywag childhood. That imp!

Now they fight for justice. Who you gonna call when your neighbor cuts down your tree, your friend loses your begle or your sibling won't pay you rent?

A typical case:

On Maria Lopez, it’s sister v. sister. Sister A, Lakisha, is 32 and bad with money, so she gave her 19-year-old sister Quinesha, her $1,800 income-tax refund to hold. Quinesha doesn’t remember her getting the money (“I gotta be focused. You gotta get my attention, especially about money. Anyone in my family know that.”) Except that she later says she does remember getting the money when she finds $100 bills swirling around the dryer.

Pete, the bailiff, cracks wise that it gives money laundering a whole new meaning and Judge Maria Lopez has to put her head down on her judge desk because she’s laughing so hard. The plaintiff and defendant smile politely, because they have no clue what’s going on.

On with the show.

Quinesha says she thought the $100s were different than the wad o’ cash her sister had handed her a few days before, so she assumed this was money of her own she had misplaced. She went shopping with a third sister.

Being a legal eagle, Judge Maria Lopez sees through the story and rules for Lakisha.

Meanwhile, next door, Judge Christina has upped the ante by kicking someone out of her courtroom. Bad ass!

She deals with a case about a wrestler who left his drum set with a fellow wrestler for a year and got pissed that the friend got rid of it.

Judge Christina is different because at the end, instead of hearing from the plaintiff and defendant, we hear from Christina. It’s like Jerry Springer’s heartfelt message/trying to find meaning in the crazy universe he created. At the end of the wresting case, Christina tells us, “It’s ridiculous. They get all dressed up in the costumes, but they’re not real wrestlers. It’s theater.”

I think – I think – there might be a metaphor here, but I’ll be damned if I can find it.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Where's my endorsement deal, Nike?

I ran 3.1 miles today. To a “real runner” or someone “in shape” that doesn’t sound like much, especially at my woeful pace, but I hadn’t run in about two years, so I’m feeling pretty high on life.

While doing my little treadmill 5K, I realized that it’s exactly one year to the Olympics, which means I really should get training if I’m going to make the team (WHICH I AM!)

Since I forget to train for the marathon every year, I knew I'd have to plan ahead for something as big as the Olympics. So I’ve come up with a simple straegy: If I double my running every day for the next year, I should be in decent shape for Beijing.

I’ve got the following things standing in my way though:

1. I’m not really fond of people watching me run. Sidebar: A few years ago, when visiting my aunt and uncle, I headed out for my usual nighttime run under the cover of darkness. (I was also wearing all black. Should I not do that?) My uncle was a little worried about me going by myself and we went back and forth about me taking my cousin Will with me. I told him I don’t like people watching me run and he finally burst out laughing and said, “Kate, he’s an 11-year-old asthmatic. I think you’ll be ok.” But you know what? Will is 17 and training for the New York Marathon, so who’s laughing now?

2. Ditto my un-fondness for short shorts. They look revealing and, uh, chafe-y. I think I have a solution though. I’m just going to ask everyone in the stadium to turn their backs during my races and NBC to cut their feed. Then I’ll put on my baggy sweats, hop on my Segway and cruise to glory. Simple. Easy as pie. Which brings up problem #3…

3. I like sugar. And loafing.

4. It’s kind of hot outside.

5. I don’t want to have bionic titanium knees when I’m 38.

Other than that though, glory is mine. I've got my Wheaties box smile ready to go and I'm willing to sign my name to any and every product put in front of me. After that I'll decimate a former boy bander on “Dancing with the Stars.” It’s gonna be great.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

You can stand under my umbrella, dawg

Part one of last week was the funeral, but for part two I became a DANCE MACHINE at my cousin's wedding. (No, no, not the reception, I do mean the actual wedding. Ass.)

It started with a warmup a week before at my friend's boyfriend's birthday when I found the magic elixer drink combo that made my feet fly and my arms flail rhythymically. Part of the glory goes to the DJ who was like my own personal dream iPod: MC Hammer? T.I.? Journey? Bollywood tunes? All of the above!

That night and the wedding were just what I needed to get my self-esteem back on track after the hip hop class I took. It may or may not be related to my abilities that the co-worker who invited me never made eye contact with me again.

But this weekend, I was a superstar. Dancing with members of your immediate family will have that effect on you. After that it got a little blurry. But there was also some talk of starting a band called "I suck? You suck!" Get your T-shirts now before they sell out.

With my dance confidence at an all-time high, I returned to New York only to have my bubble burst.

The girl next to me at Starbucks just shoutbragged (and if you're going to brag, shoutbrag) that she got paid $20,000 to create a dance for some commercial. And again I'm regretting not selling my now legendary infamous "Umbrella" dance. (I don't give away the milk for free, but let's just say it involves waving your curved arm rapidly over your partner's head. It's pretty fly.)

When I say Isabel, you say Attracta!

Were you ever the kid who tried to do your book report without reading the book? Now imagine you’re a priest and you’re asked to speak at the funeral of a woman you’d only met a few times. Same result. Lots of stuttering, few relevant details.

Yes, my grandmother’s funeral was hilarious. Thank you for asking.

In addition to dying just a week before my cousin’s wedding, apparently she also died on or near the feast day for some St. Attracta, which the priest found somehow amazing. Any time you start a speech with “Isabel would have loved to have died this week” because you don’t know it’s week of her grandson’s wedding, you’re bound to have near riot conditions on your hands.

At no point did he tell us why Gram would have loved St. Attracta, but he was so certain he saw a parallel with them that I was sure I’d missed a family joke somewhere.

Before it just devolved into him just jibbering away, he certainly hammered out the semantics of their respective names.

Here’s the highlight:

“So you have Isabel. Let’s break that down: Isabel Is. A. Belle. If we look at the translation, then we see: Is. A. Beauty. Add that to St. Attracta’s feast day and we have a beauty who is attractive.” (At this point my brother leans over and whispers to me, “Is he hitting on her? That’s my grandmother, you sick son of a bitch.”)

It went on like this for some time, with the priest just going back and forth repeating “Isabel, Attracta, Isabel, Attracta” in front of dumbfounded mourners.

My uncle later said he was worried the next step was for him to command the right side to shout “Isabel!” and the right side shout “Attracta!”

Having gotten that out of his system, he retired to his seat on the altar to let us all contemplate the wisdom of God.