There is a reason Judge Judy, the courtroom reality show handing people their asses on a plate since 1996, is still going strong. It endures because people seem to appreciate Judge Judith Sheindlin's straightforward approach, inbuilt lie detector, and apparent complete inability to tolerate stupidity for longer than a nanosecond. All qualities that surely even the best of us could do with a little more of from time to time.
This is a lady who gets things done. Sometimes she quotes Mark Twain, sometimes a simple death glare will do, but however she does it, her skill in settling arguments has reportedly netted her a rather tidy sum and a private jet for just five days' work a month. Sounds like a lady we could learn from.
There are plenty of small scale upsets in our everyday lives that others (those fools!) may not deem worthy of a courtroom, but in which an independent observer with a razor-sharp attitude and a no-BS policy wouldn't go amiss.
1. Cutting short passive aggressive office kitchen rows
Someone's stunk out the fridge with gone-off fish pie. Suzy never makes the tea. The collective quiet resentment of the colleague who grinds coffee beans and thus also the kitchen queue to a screeching halt is threatening to upset the uneasy balance of the workplace. No-nonsense Judge Judy would be a welcome mediator in low-level office politics such as these. She could provide an end to snarky Post-Its with smiley faces, an end to company-wide emails about the mouldy mug in the sink. More importantly, she could provide an answer to the age-old question: “Who is the bigger berk? The person who steals the yoghurt or the person who prints the Comic Sans notice about it?”
2. Sticking up for grammar fusspots everywhere
One girl on the show who giggled nervously when our esteemed star corrected “I first seen her” to “I first saw her” was soon silenced when Judge Judy snapped, “That's not funny. That's sad actually.” Then went on to explain she was only allowing the claimant's “shattered English” to be heard on national TV as she needed details fast. Is it such a leap to imagine she could be the grammar Nazi we've always dreamt of, swooping in from on high to enforce the correct usage of ‘your' and ‘you're' and saving us from having to point it out like the joyless pedants we are? No it is not. Swoop away, JJ.
3. Rebooting customer service
A lot of retail outlets do a lot of good work, a lot. But sometimes, you go to buy a skirt and the sales assistant trills, “Oh I love this! I so would have bought it if it was like three sizes smaller. Enjoy!” Or the guy at the lunch counter refuses your request for extra salt, telling you it's “unhealthy” and giving out some patronising eyebrow action. I admit these very specific things happened to me and I also admit all I did was murmur, flush and later write indignant tweets. However, at times like these, our good friend Judy could bang her judgey hammer (GAVEL, I know it's a gavel) and negotiate big discounts when rude shop assistants make their customers feel like crap when parting with hard-earned non-rent.
4. Forcibly cheering up the cheer-uppers
Anybody who shouts “Cheer up, love!” or words to that effect should be subject to Judy's full wrath, ideally having to slink away to whence they came, after being humiliated in front of 10 million people (as she likes to point out most shows) and now wearing an overwhelming sense of shame. As well as Joker-style braces pulling their ridiculous mouths into a permanent grin. Go swiftly my pretties, and may the withering, ego-shrinking Judy catchphrase “Oh, please!” be ringing in your ears. Don't let the courtroom door hit you on the way out.
5. Bringing errant picture taggers into line
Why do they do it? Why? The person you had previously – incorrectly – thought was a friend puts the most god-awful photograph known to man on the internet, then has the audacity to tag you in it. Nevermind detagging, the setting where you approve it appearing on your wall, the notion of rising above it like a real adult less obsessed with online appearances (pffft). This person put up this unflattering picture of you for a shady, terrible reason and Judy should be the one to find out what. As JJ says “I am a truth machine.” And these horrendous Facebook sins will not go unpunished.
6. Saving you when you fall over in the street
FINE, we've foregone the curse of loud eaters and queue jumpers to bring you something that is technically no-one else's fault. But hopefully your friend and mine will drag that uneven pavement into the courtroom and give it a good kicking. At the very least, she'd make the whole situation slightly less ridiculous by merely being there with you. Tripping over alone and snorting a bit trying to laugh it off with random bystanders while your bottom lip wobbles like a child - ne'er a fate sadder.