We were reading through Matt "The Butcher" Hardigree's guide to speed limit enforcement and it got us thinking about all the times we've been pulled over. Like the time we admitted doing 100 mph and just prayed that he hadn't seen us going 135 mph (he hadn't). Though, my personal favorite has to be one lazy Saturday long ago in God-knows-where Mississippi in an Acura with CA plates for going 37 mph in a 35 mph. The deputy told us we had to talk to the sheriff. So, we follow him back to the station which is a gnarly mix of To Kill A Mockingbird and Big Lebowski. The Lebowski part is the purse-lipped sherif, who I was certain was going to order our goldbricking asses out of Malibu. My buddy and I — two Jew-boys from San Francisco — stood there trembling as he explained that we could pay the $200 fine or see the judge the following Monday and plead our case.
I have a very finely honed problem with authority, any authority. Think Woody Allen at the end of Annie Hall/ And though I was all of 21-years-old, I was sharp enough to recognize a shakedown. I started thinking to myself, "Yeah, I'll see that judge. And I'll tell him a thing or two. I was going 37 mph. I got pulled over for my plates! And is this anyway to treat out-of-state visitors? Who contribute much needed dollars to the economy of one of the poorest states in the Union? Yeah, OK — we seeing the judge." I looked at my friend who just shrugged, seeming to indicate that he didn't care whether we stuck around or pressed on to Louisiana. I addressed the sheriff, "If we do stick around and see the judge, what are our chances of this being dismissed?" The sheriff, who up until this point had been sitting behind his desk, stood up. He was 6'5" if he was an inch. He leaned over at us, spreading his arms wide and putting his palms down on his dark desk. "Boy, I been sheriff of this town 27 years. Ain't no one ever seen the judge!" Losing that $200 — which we promptly paid on the spot — made us cup our trip short by a week. I still have doubts as to ewhether or not there ever was a judge. Anyhow, you? And if you don't have a good one, make something up.