By Curtis Shelburne: CNJ columnist
I don’t want to be indelicate (a word that guarantees an audience as surely as “viewer discretion advised”), but I’m increasingly miffed by the proliferation of lawyer droppings.
You can’t drink a cup of coffee, buy a garden hose, wheel barrow, or power tool, install a computer program, take a pill or breathe without encountering what might more delicately be called “lawyer litter.”
Maybe it could just as easily be called “jury junk.” Lawyer litter would be far less prevalent if juries used some common sense.
Don’t you find it desirable that your McDonald’s coffee be hot? Good. Me, too. But jurors awarded a bunch of money to a woman who should have taken her’s cold. Now every cup of McDonald’s java has lawyer droppings on its side. (I like caffeine, too, and until New York City authorities and copycat food nazis ban hot, caffeinated coffee, I’ll go on enjoying the dangerous stuff.)
It didn’t occur to me when I bought a garden hose a while back that it might be invigorating to jam it down my throat and turn the water on full blast, but the lawyer litter printed on the tag seemed to indicate that somebody must done just that — and then won a law suit. I hadn’t known my garden hose was so dangerous.
Journalist and attorney Catherine Crier wrote an entire book about the idiocy: “The law must be fair,” she writes. “It is not. A cigarette smoker gets cancer then collects billions of dollars because he can’t kick the habit, while some pathetic drug addict goes to prison.”
She goes on: “The law must be reasonable. It is not.” And she mentions the label on a 13-inch wheel barrow wheel: “Not intended for highway use.” Duh. Or even crazier, the label on an electric router: “This product not intended for use as a dental drill.” Hmm. Black & Decker toothpaste?
To install a computer program, you’ve got to click, “I accept,” referring to lawyer litter nobody reads.
I wish you could watch TV and not spend half your time enduring commercials about drugs designed to fight, well, some alphabet malady like PBL (Persistent Belly-button Lint). I guess I’m supposed to rush to my doctor to beg for anti-PBL drugs. I liked it better when he just prescribed what he thought best. I was happier not hearing the often laughable lawyer litter at the end of each commercial.
I’ve got some great friends and family members who are lawyers. Good ones are great. I like them. But not the litter.
Ah, well. It’s better not to waste time focusing on the idiotic legal litter that seems to be everywhere. Let’s bless ourselves instead by focusing on the beauty of God’s grace. It really is everywhere, if we keep our eyes — and our spirits —open to look.
Curtis Shelburne is pastor of 16th & Ave. D. Church of Christ in Muleshoe. Contact him at