Judge, Judy and executioner

I’m not sure what day it is. But it’s day. Judge Judy is on the telly and that always happens during the day. Some little tearaway is being grilled by Judy for (allegedly) mistreating his best friend’s cat.

He is trying to explain that the cat bit him, and how, when he pulled his hand away, he accidentally brushed into moggy and knocked it down the stairs. “And did you not think to tell your friend the cat wasn’t moving?” asks Judy.

“I ... I ...”

“You what?”

That’s enough. Hang him. Get the electric chair out. Sellotape a syringe with a lethal dose of poison to the poor cat’s head and let it chase the screaming boy around the studio.

The rulings made by Judge Judy are final, after all. It said so at the start of the show. Our seven-week-old son is on my legs and has been there for several hours. Mum’s out getting her hair done and I’m glued to the cushions of our new sofa during a spell of belated paternity leave.

Every time I try to lift el chico he pulls a face like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man from Ghostbusters at the point he bursts into flames. He thrashes about and boots me in the belly before getting his own way and lying down on my legs again. For some reason he seems to be shouting Enya a lot, which speaks volumes for his lack of taste.

Hang him. The rulings of Daddy are final, it said so at the start of the show. Despite the poor quality of daytime TV, it would not be unpleasant to be home all the time as il bambino’s primary carer, I think. In many ways it sucks being the hunter-gatherer.

Just the other day I was out hunting in Glasgow and returned home defeated and empty-handed. It’s funny the way people look at you when you’re hiding behind the bins with a spear and face paint, trying to do your bit for the family.

I may have read somewhere that the terms for paternity leave are changing in Britain, though not until 2020. The current system – two weeks’ leave with a packet of Haribo, or your normal wage, whichever is less – must be reformed immediately.

Hang the British government. It said so at the start of the show. Imagine sleeping through your dad’s paternity leave. I expect to have calf muscles like a Himalayan sherpa by the time all this bouncing is done with. I’ll be cracking walnuts with my legs come Christmas.

The TV controls are a few feet away on the table, which was a terrible oversight looking back. They might as well be in the neighbour’s house. Who are all those people in the gallery of Judge Judy’s courtroom? Is the torture of one boy’s cat really of such interest?

The bloodlust of the American public is an incredible thing, it really is.


First published in The Sunday Herald, 2009.