October 30, 2009

The Day I Told Judge Judy Off...Sort of

I'm using the Way Back Machine again, and returning to 2002...

After The Boy was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, he was too scared less than eager to go on scheduled visits to his dad.

Dad didn't believe The Boy had any problems; he was convinced that the only thing wrong with him was that I "didn't let him be a real boy" (whatever that means). Dad would NOT give The Boy his medication.

At a visit to the psychiatrist, The Boy said that he would kill himself if he had to visit Dad. The doctor sent a letter containing his recommendation that The Boy remain with me during his Christmas vacation, and that visitation should be suspended if Dad continued to refuse to give The Boy his medication.

Needless to say, Dad was not pleased about these turn of events. In an effort to appease him, I purchased a plane ticket so Dad could come to our neck of the woods to visit The Boy that Christmas.

Dad did NOT use the ticket (but he did try to get a refund of the purchase price). What a prince. The ticket was nonrefundable, so it was my loss.

The Boy quit visiting Dad at this point.

Moving ahead to 2004...

I was sitting in my office at work, doing my usual magic. The phone rings; on the other end of the phone is a female producer from the Judge Judy show. My ex (The Boy's dad) planned on suing me. Oh joy.

Apparently, he had purchased plane tickets for The Boy - even though he knew that a visit would not be taking place.

Dad wanted his money back, so he contacted Judge Judy to right that wrong.

When I got home that day, FedEx dropped off a package from the show, detailing the standard compensation offered to all litigants who show up for a taping. If I agreed to attend, I would receive the following:

  • compensation for my appearance
  • hotel accommodations for myself and any witnesses
  • compensation to pay any judgment, should I be found liable
  • They may have even be willing to pay for my flight - I don't remember that part
The show's producer called the next day to talk over their offer. I turned them down. I told them I didn't want to talk about my son's mental illness on national TV. I thought it was exploitative. I didn't care that they would pay everything. I wasn't interested. I asked her to not call again.

My reasons were valid, and true. I had the sense that Judge Judy would have ripped Dad a new one onscreen - and that was certainly appealing, on some level.

But one more compelling reason why I said no?

Millions of viewers would know that I had married (and reproduced with) that jerk...that was one embarrassment I couldn't handle.


  1. haha that's classic, although I must admit it would have been tempting to see the ex get ripped a new one!!

    so glad you didn't do it!

  2. He has some nerve, huh? Good for you for taking the high road.

  3. I probably would have done the same thing too but I do love how she beats people down!

  4. You made the right choice to not do Judge Judy ... as tempting as it would have been to embarrass the crap out of the Dad. He sounds like a bad person.

  5. Point of reference: I am a high school counselor at an alternative high school. I had a former student who went on JJ. JJ is extremely entertaining on TV but it really is just that. TV. Acting. "Play it up to the cameras," they were told. I don't even remember who won but it didn't matter. Here's the compensation package as I remember it:

    Airfare to L.A.
    Hotel in L.A. for ONE NIGHT!
    Airfare home from L.A. after "court" and one night.
    Monetary compensation for humiliation - something like $160.

    You: Good call.

  6. Hey you found your fame in the writing world. I am glad my ex remarried his secretary, 13 yrs his junior. Let's just call it retribution. I am happily remarried.


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