Not feeling well? Cue up Internet TV

It’s been a long, slow slog into spring, but I’ve barely been troubled by the cool, rainy weather. I’ve been stuck indoors anyway, with a nagging cough that turned out to be pertussis, aka whooping cough.

Whooping cough seems like an illness from the history books—something children contracted in bygone times. But in fact, pertussis is still around. I know two people who had it in the winter of 2015 and another who, like me, is just getting over a bout this spring.

I was never terribly sick with it—no fever or body aches, not even a head cold. Just an eyeball-popping cough that wouldn’t quit for weeks and weeks. At times I coughed so hard I couldn’t breathe and feared I would pass out. It’s not unheard of for sufferers to crack a rib from coughing.

Other than that, my main complaint was exhaustion. Whooping cough makes you want to lie around like the consumptive heroine of a 19th-century opera, if it weren’t for the fact that lying prone can trigger a coughing attack.

So, what is there to do if you’re spending a lot of time in bed or on the couch, propped up by pillows? After reading a 587-page novel (“Americanah,” by the Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie) along with Patti Smith’s memoir “M Train,” I turned to TV, in the form of Amazon Prime.

I knew about Prime from the prompts I got at Amazon.com every time I ordered something. The program offers fast, free delivery and access to proprietary video, music and books. I took the bait and signed up for the free 30-day trial.

We’re a Netflix household, but I knew that Amazon too had its own homegrown TV content, as well as some HBO series that we don’t get with basic cable.

The first series I binge-watched was “Transparent,” a comedy about a dysfunctional family whose patriarch is a transgender woman. The actor who plays Maura (born Mort), Jeffrey Tambor, is far from Caitlyn Jenner cute. This is a quirky and interesting show, though I’m not sure I’d go out of my way to see Season 2.

Then I moved on to “The Newsroom,” starring Jeff Daniels, since I love anything involving the news business. Next came “Girls,” Lena Dunham’s series about an aspiring writer and her hipster friends; “Bosch,” a police procedural set in L.A.; and “Catastrophe,” a hilarious sitcom about an American man and Irish woman living in London. I dabbled with other titles too, but didn’t like them enough to watch more than a snippet.

I don’t think I’ll buy a Prime membership once my free trial is over. How much entertainment do I really need? But I enjoyed it while I had it.

Now that I’m feeling better and life is circling back to normal, I’ve returned to Netflix, and “Midsomer Murders.” This English detective show is recommended by none other than Patti Smith, who confesses to a taste for murder mysteries in “M Train.” That’s reason enough to watch.

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Caregiving: the hardest job you’ll ever have

One day while scanning the thrift store bookshelves, I spotted a memoir titled “Designated Daughter.” Author D.G. Fulford tells of moving home to Ohio to be near her aging mother, serving first as best friend and then, in time, as caregiver.

Fulford rejoices in these “bonus years” with Mom, claiming she’s the one who gained the most from the experience. “A mother needs a daughter’s help and the daughter gets more help in return than she could ever give,” she gushes.

Oh, my. This is a story I imagined I would share—the happy ending I longed for when we moved my mother from her home in Rhode Island to the house next door to ours, where she resided for the next 10 years. But it didn’t work out that way.

The strain of being on call 24/7 and attending to Mom’s needs whether I felt like it or not was tough, to say the least. Over time, as my mother’s health began to unravel, my life became a state of emergency. I was always waiting for the other shoe to drop as first one malady, then another, assaulted her. As Gilda Radner used to say, “It’s always something.”

Moreover, Mom was difficult. She did not go gentle into that good night. She lamented moving and hated Pennsylvania—until she left to go into assisted living near my brother in Ohio. Then she spoke of her decade here with affectionate nostalgia. Go figure.

It wasn’t all terrible, of course. Mom could be good company—she was smart, well informed and opinionated—and we had plenty of good times too. But she could also be cutting and sarcastic. And she seemed oblivious to our contributions to her care and comfort. Only rarely did she say thanks.

Lately I’ve been bookmarking articles with titles like “The Seven Deadly Emotions of Caregiving” (for the record, they are guilt, resentment, anger, worry, loneliness, grief and defensiveness) and “Are You Going Broke Being a Caregiver?” They supply affirmation of my own experience of caregiving, so different from the uplifting “Designated Daughter” variety.

Last week a friend who is shepherding her cranky, 88-year-old father through shoulder-replacement surgery described everything she’s doing for him, including sleeping in his room the first night in case he wakes and needs help. “What a good daughter you are,” I exclaimed, to which she insisted “No—I’m not.”

She finds the caregiver role oppressive and can’t muster the sunny outlook she feels is expected of her. She’s weary of the constant demands, tired of putting her own life on the back burner in service to her dad’s many needs. Despite doing all the right things, she feels like a failure. And she hates herself for it.

Certainly, there are rewards to caregiving, if only the comfort of knowing you’ve done what’s needed. But the stresses can be extreme. Perhaps it’s better to voice them. Otherwise, you wind up comparing yourself with some elusive—maybe mythical—ideal of the happily self-sacrificing son or daughter. That’s a game you can’t possibly win.

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Competitive aging

The huge baby boomer cohort of which I am a part—people born between 1946 and 1964—has always been a competitive bunch. We’ve competed for jobs and spouses, for material possessions (remember the old bumper sticker “He who dies with the most toys wins”?) and, of course, for concert tickets.

Now, suddenly, we’re competing on a new front: longevity.

Admit it. Who doesn’t scan the obits every day, noting the ages of the deceased and thanking the Lord our own names are not among them? We hear of illnesses among friends and colleagues with rueful relief that for now, at least, we’ve been spared. We scan the faces of contemporaries for signs of aging, marveling at how some look so youthful (did she have work done?) while others seem old—and we plot our own place along the continuum.

The writer Michael Kinsley is here to tell us it’s a losing battle. At some point, says Kinsley in his new book, “Old Age: A Beginner’s Guide,” we are all going to suffer the misfortunes and humiliations of aging; ultimately, we are all going to die.

The author, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in his 40s, considers himself something of an advance man—“a scout from my generation,” as he puts it, “sent out ahead to experience in my fifties what even the healthiest boomers are going to experience in their sixties, seventies, or eighties.”

This short book, essentially a collection of linked essays, explains just what that that experience involves.

For starters, Kinsley—a well-known political commentator and the founder of Slate magazine—describes what it’s like to lose a plum job opportunity, presumably because of the employer’s fears about his health; what it’s like to take a boatload of meds every day; what it’s like to endure major surgery (in his case, “deep brain stimulation,” a procedure that has mitigated some of his Parkinson’s symptoms); what it’s like to contemplate no longer driving, with the loss of independence that entails.

Even scarier, Kinsley explores every boomer’s dark fear that if we live long enough, we are statistically ever-more likely to develop dementia. Who wants longevity if losing one’s marbles is the price?

Parkinson’s has long been classed as a movement disorder, Kinsley explains, but the disease affects cognition too. His own case is mild and slow moving, and seemingly has not hampered him too much. Kinsley has written books and articles, edited magazines and gotten married since his diagnosis.

Nevertheless, a recent cognitive assessment—a four- to five-hour round of tests, quizzes and games—showed slippage in certain areas from his baseline some years earlier. It was a sobering experience for a man who makes his living by his wits.

Kinsley admits that he spent the first eight years after his Parkinson’s diagnosis in denial. We baby boomers might be doing something similar as we attempt our generational end run around aging. Kinsley’s book—saturated in humor despite the weighty subject matter—helps us contemplate what’s coming with good grace.

 

 

 

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Am I unemployed…or retired?

I got back from vacation in Hawaii to learn I was losing my job. The company whose corporate technical magazine I had edited for the past eight years abruptly decided to stop publishing. The issue we had just put to bed would be the last.

The job—which was part time and freelance—came to me shortly after I was downsized out of my last staff position. It was a perfect fit. I worked out of a home office, on my own schedule, editing articles and managing the page flow. I loved canoodling with the writers—engineers and other smart people from many countries—and I loved our small but mighty art-and-editorial staff.

The magazine was a quarterly, so there was downtime between issues. And because this was a corporate gig, it paid better than standard editorial work. Deflation has collapsed pay scales in the publishing industry to the point where friends with decades of experience are offered a pittance for freelance editing.

Because my magazine had been in existence for 30 years, I assumed it would stay afloat pretty much forever. I imagined I would have the luxury of staying or leaving as I saw fit, and figured I might quit—officially retire—some day.

Now that day has come, and in the aftermath I’m unsure whether I’m unemployed or emeritus. I’m guessing I’m not the first Boomer to be ushered into retirement by a pink slip instead of a gold watch.

Should I chase new opportunities, wait for something to drop in my lap or hang up my hat and declare myself done? If the latter, can I afford it?

I suppose I’m of retirement age, though it’s hard to say just what that is anymore. People older than I am still work, and plenty who are younger have left the work force. Then there are all those friends in their 50s who wish they could retire early. I guess it depends.

My magazine’s publishing schedule gave me plenty of time off between issues, and I always looked forward to those interludes. It was great to have free time before the next cycle started.

But time feels different now. With no future issue to gear up for, time seems formless, shapeless and vast.

One thing I liked about my job was the way it kept me engaged with the world, exposed to new ideas and interesting people. It got me out of my bubble. Perhaps the key to a successful retirement will be finding a fresh way to engage, a new sense of purpose and a new source of intellectual stimulation.

Last week I met someone whose main retirement activity is trekking—or tramping, as it’s called in some places. He’s just back from Spain, where he walked more than 600 miles from Malaga on the Mediterranean coast to Santiago de Compostela on the Atlantic. The year before, he hiked New Zealand.

I’m probably not ready for roughing it. But the conversation made me realize that if I can think big, not small, retirement might hold some interesting surprises for me, too.

 

 

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For the kittens, grass is always greener outdoors

Every so often you’ll see an old movie on TV—usually a comedy from the 1930s-’50s—that shows the family cat being shooed outdoors at night. Bring in the dog and put out the cat, as The Coasters say in “Yakety Yak.”

Oh, how times have changed. Nowadays, most people keep their cats inside. Not only do cats not go out at night. They don’t go out at all.

The issue of indoor vs. outdoor cats is a subject of intense debate in our household. We had decided when we adopted the kittens last fall that Moe and Sassy would be indoor-only cats. But it’s hard to enforce that rule when the big cats they live with get to go outside.

Now nine months old, the kittens are desperate to go out too. It’s a big, exciting world out there. One or the other of them—sometimes both—will rush the door every time it opens, often slipping out before we can see, much less stop, them.

Moe, the tuxedo, is big and bold. He wails at the door to go out. Moe has a modicum of common sense and I trust him—to a point. He usually stays close to the house and comes when I call.

But the other day he scaled the fence to drop into the neighbor’s yard, and made a game out of running away from me on the other side of it. Then he leaped onto a big oak between the two properties and began climbing. I managed to grab his ankle and then the rest of him, or he might be up there still.

Sassy, meanwhile, is something of a fraidy cat. She darted out the door on Sunday morning and dove under the back porch, and there she stayed. I could lure her out but she wouldn’t let me get hold of her. It took an hour, a supply of cat treats and her favorite blue feather toy, but I finally got her. Once inside she slept for hours, exhausted from the adventure.

Except when I lived in city apartments, I’ve always let my cats outdoors. I figured they appreciated the fresh air and exercise as much as I did. It seems sad to think of a cat who has never felt grass under his feet.

But it’s a dangerous world out there, full of cars, rabies and other diseases, fleas and ticks, other cats to fight with and dogs to give chase. I know people who have lost cats to coyotes, while a friend in Dingmans Ferry once saw a hawk swoop down and lift her cat off the ground. In the end kitty proved too big, and the raptor had to drop him. But the encounter resulted in a visit to the vet for the poor cat, injured by the hawk’s claws.

Is there a middle ground—a way to let the kittens outdoors but keep them safe? I’m considering the idea of a “catio”—a patio for cats. Screen houses and mesh tunnels are available online, but my handy husband might be able to custom-build something.

But is another enclosed space, even one that’s outside, really the answer? Isn’t the lure of the outdoors all about freedom? Isn’t the ability to roam free, like Kipling’s Cat Who Walked by Himself, part of the definition of what it means to be a cat?

Like Moe, I’m still on the fence about this issue.

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Betwixt and between: redefining ‘old’

In 1980, when Ronald Reagan was campaigning for president, I remember telling my mother that I thought he was too old to run. Reagan was 69 at the time—Donald Trump’s age, as it happens.

Mom, who was then in her early 50s, disagreed and so, apparently, did the electorate. Reagan went on to inhabit the White House for the next eight years.

A candidate’s age might have been an issue 36 years ago, but Reagan would be in good company today. This election cycle, only one candidate—Ted Cruz—is under the age of 60. Hillary Clinton is 68, John Kasich is 63 and Bernie Sanders manages to nail the youth vote at 74. Compared with the rest of the front-runners Cruz, at 45, is a mere pup.

The graying of the candidates underscores a new reality among an aging populace. With U.S. life expectancy hovering around 80, the definition of one’s productive years has changed. People in my grandmother’s cohort—born around the turn of the last century—considered themselves old at 50. That’s barely middle aged for us Boomers.

Here in our 60s, we’re at an awkward, intermediate stage of life: no longer young, not yet old. As a result, many of us are experiencing a delicate tension between expansion and contraction, a kind of generational push-me, pull-you.

We might be fulfilling lifelong dreams of travel and adventure—hiking the Appalachian Trail, obtaining an advanced degree or, I don’t know, sky-diving. It’s now or never, right?

At the same time, we are looking ahead to the point when we won’t be able to do such things. Indeed, suddenly it seems as if everyone I talk to is contemplating plans for extreme old age.

A friend in California has downsized and moved to a 55-plus community, while a couple I know in Dingmans Ferry are moving from their two-story home to a ranch house in the same community. They are in their 60s, fit and active—but they foresee a time when it will make sense to be on one level.

Another friend talks about one day moving back to the city fulltime. She’ll know it’s time when she can no longer easily manage the commute back and forth to her country place.

Under the surface resides a low-level anxiety about outliving one’s money. It doesn’t help to hear news reports about old people getting bilked out of their savings by opportunistic caregivers. You need to think about who to put in charge of your finances if you’re no longer able to manage them yourself.

This is a particular problem if you don’t have kids. But of course, even children can be unscrupulous when money is at stake. It’s not unheard of for offspring to insinuate themselves onto an elderly parent’s bank account and start using the money for themselves while the parent is still alive.

It’s a strange life task, making these kinds of plans. But better to tackle them now than to leave things undone and take your chances later.

 

 

 

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So you want to live in Hawaii?

You know you’ve had a successful vacation when all you can think about when you get home is how cool it would be to live there. We recently returned from Kauai, the northernmost island in the Hawaiian chain, with killer head colds and daydreams of moving.

It was our first trip to Hawaii and we didn’t want to leave. We loved the wonderfully weird vibe of the place, even the ubiquitous chickens, and we could imagine ourselves as residents—assuming we could afford it. That’s a big if in a place where a small ranch house might cost $2 million and the median condo price is half a million dollars.

They call Kauai the Garden Isle, and despite the wall-to-wall tourists and luxury resorts, it’s still essentially rural. Feral chickens are everywhere, the result of their ancestors’ escape into the wild 24 years ago during Hurricane Iniki, a Cat-4 that devastated the island.

The main thoroughfare is a two-lane ring road that tracks the coastline but stops abruptly at both ends, above and below the rugged western Napali coast, which is inaccessible by car.

The island’s interior—all canyons, waterfalls and tropical rainforest—is likewise impassable except by experienced hikers. Remember the scene in “Jurassic Park” when Laura Dern, Sam Neill and company helicopter onto the rich guy’s island? It’s supposed to be near Costa Rica but is actually Kauai. You can picture dinosaurs here.

We met a couple of people—an antiques dealer from Maine, the docent at a botanical garden we visited—who live on Kauai for part of the year. That’s great if you can afford it. A woman who moved to Kauai from Reading, Pa., and works at a touristy boutique painted a more-realistic picture.

Everyone works two or three jobs, she told us, to afford their rent or mortgage. The beach and hiking are the main leisure activities, since they’re free. There’s one movie theater, in Lihue, and you might treat yourself to a film after your monthly trip to Costco to stock up on staples, which are crazy expensive at local supermarkets.

On the plus side, farmer’s markets and roadside fruit stands abound, selling amazing homegrown produce. The local beef is grass-fed. Fresh-fish markets flourish too, though they’re not cheap.

So, how do Hawaiians afford it? One day we took a tour with a Hawaiian named Domi who gave us a peek at the Kauai tourists don’t usually see, beginning with his own house. Domi brought us there after lunch at a barbecue place so that we could give our leftovers to his pet wild boar (isn’t that an oxymoron?), the 600-pound Omar.

He also drove us past his daughter’s home in a neighborhood set aside for ethnic Hawaiians. Qualified people lease the properties for very little for 99 years. The house once belonged to Domi’s mother, so I guess the leases are transferable.

Since we are neither Hawaiian nor rich, retiring to Kauai is not a likely prospect. But with luck, we will visit again one day. Aloha.

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Of ravioli and rice pies

In the kids’ calendar of holidays, subtitled “What’s in it for Me?”, Easter and Christmas ran neck-and-neck. Christmas brought piles of presents, while Easter delivered mounds of candy in a colorful, handled basket, courtesy of the Easter Bunny.

Somehow this rabbit was also associated with eggs, even though we knew this was an anatomical impossibility in real life. Stevie Gendron up the block had bunnies and all they produced were little pellets that looked enough like raisins to dupe the occasional kid into eating one.

But when it came to the family’s holiday meal, there was no contest. Easter won hands-down. Christmas was all about turkey, whereas Easter meant Grandma’s homemade ravioli.

My grandmother and aunt would begin laboring the day before at their floury assembly line. The big kitchen table was cleared for rolling dough, while twine was strung all around for draping the resulting bands of pasta. It looked like a noodle laundry.

After the pasta had dried enough to be handled, Grandma and Auntie would cut it into little squares and spoon on a filling— ricotta and parmesan cheeses, with egg, parsley, salt and pepper. Then they added a topping square and crimped all the edges so that the diminutive doughy pillow would hold together when boiled.

Add Grandma’s sauce and some meatballs on the side—delicious! This was a far, far tastier meal than the ham or (gasp) lamb that my non-Italian friends got for Easter dinner.

For dessert we had my grandmother’s rice pies, an Italian Easter tradition. Essentially, she poured a thick, custardy rice pudding studded with raisins and citron into a pie crust, added a latticework top and baked it. Grandma always made her rice pies in oblong Pyrex baking dishes, not pie pans. But she called them pies nonetheless.

Unlike my aunt, my mother had little interest in Grandma’s traditional cuisine. Mom didn’t much like to cook. Moreover, she had mysterious digestive issues that turned out to be food allergies. Ironically, she was allergic to the nightshade family, which includes the staples of the Italian-American table: tomatoes, potatoes, peppers.

One Easter when I was about 10, a friend of my mother’s who did a show on the local radio station recruited her to talk about Italian Easter food. Given her culinary background, or lack thereof, Mom might not have been the wisest choice for this gig.

I was in school and didn’t hear the broadcast, but it became family lore afterward. Mom mentioned the rice pies and her friend the commentator asked for the recipe. Mom began describing the general way her mother assembled the pies… upon which, the switchboard lit up. Women all over town, it seems, were asking her to slow down. They wanted to write down the ingredients list so they could make rice pies for Easter too.

Mom winged it as best she could, but the proportions of sugar, eggs and milk she gave were guesstimates at best. Mom was mortified, and we all hoped no one’s Easter meal was ruined on her account.

Surely they would have other sweets around in case the pies failed? Anyway, who really needs dessert? As Peg Bracken said in the desserts chapter of her “I Hate to Cook Book,” which was published right around this time, people are too fat anyway.

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Comparative Dylanology

Somewhere around 20 years ago, maybe more, a friend described an article he had read in an intellectual magazine about a Bob Dylan theme party—a sort of masquerade ball where everyone dressed up as a character in a Dylan song.

Think of the possibilities. You could go as “Mr. Tambourine Man” or Rubin (Hurricane) Carter. Be a gunslinger or gambler (“Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts”) or one of the pop culture figures (Cinderella, Einstein, T.S. Eliot) who crowd “Desolation Row” to the point where, if you put them all together in a collage, you’d have a nifty spin-off of the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper cover.

You could be Quinn the Eskimo or put on a “Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat.” John Wesley Harding or Girl from the North Country. Indeed, Dylan has given us so many songs—so many characters—over so many years that the possibilities abound.

For my money, I’d don a red wig and homemade dress to go as the unnamed heroine at the center of my favorite (if I had to pick just one) Dylan song: “Tangled Up in Blue.”

The fact that this great American road song is lyrically ambiguous in no way detracts from its appeal. Instead, the chameleon lyrics invite us in, to inhabit the song for ourselves.

Dylan switches from first person to third person and back again until you’re not completely sure who’s doing what to whom. Just who is it that’s in love with the redhead in the homemade dress? The narrator (“I”) or the guy (“he”) with whom the narrator used to live on Montague Street—not far, as it happens, from my own former apartment in Brooklyn Heights?

Different recordings supply different answers. The official version (“Blood on the Tracks” album, 1975) starts, “Early one morning the sun was shining, I was laying in bed, wondering if she’d changed at all and if her hair was still red.”

But in an earlier recording, released in “The Bootleg Series,” we hear that “he [not I] was lyin’ in bed,” as if Dylan were singing about a third party. The “doctors’ wives” in this rendition become “carpenters’ wives” on the album.

Likewise, does the hero find a job in “an airplane plant” in L.A. or “on a fishing boat right outside of Delacroix”? Is there “music in the cafes at night” on Montague Street, or “snow all winter and no heat”? Rather than solving the puzzle, a concert album (“Real Live,” 1984) introduces further anomalies.

I’ve seen Dylan perform several times, most recently in 2003 at the former Mountain Laurel venue in Bushkill. He sang “Tangled Up in Blue” that night but I can’t for the life of me remember which way the narration tracked.

It doesn’t matter—not really. “I” and “he” come together at the end, since “we always did feel the same, we just saw it from a different point of view. Tangled up in blue.”

If I’m ever called to do a master’s thesis, this may be my topic.

 

 

 

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Lessons from Judge Judy

One day last week I was backing out of an angled parking space at the health food store in Port Jervis. I’m cautious in reverse because, even with the rear camera my small van is equipped with, I don’t see behind me as well as I did in the little Mazda I used to drive. There’s just a lot more car to wrangle.

Suddenly someone’s head appeared in the rear-view mirror and I slammed on the brakes. The woman wasn’t actually close and there was no occasion to panic. This was not a near-accident.

Nevertheless, I was startled—and a little peeved. Why, I thought, did she walk right behind me when she could plainly see I was backing up?

Had anything happened, God forbid, maybe “Judge Judy” could have assigned the blame. It was sobering to admit that my initial reaction (it’s their fault!) resembled the self-justifications I see on the show, where perpetrators rarely own up.

Take the woman whose dogs mauled a smaller dog that was being walked on a leash. It was July 4, a nervous time for canines, said the attackers’ owner. The couple that owned the victim, she said, had no business walking their dog on a day when firecrackers would send neighboring dogs (like her own) into freak-out mode.

In other words, they brought it on themselves.

These are the kinds of rationalizations Judge Judith Sheindlin punctures handily. She informs people when they are wrong, won’t let them weasel out of dilemmas of their own making. She hammers home responsibility, often with a pithy remark. Did you, for example, stop paying rent because of problems in the dwelling but kept living there nonetheless? Judy will remind you that, as in a restaurant, “If you eat the steak, you pay for it.”

Judy’s courtroom is a microcosm of the larger society. There are schemers aplenty; people who feel entitled; fighting families. It’s the Divine Comedy, in modern garb.

Roommate and landlord situations are prominent problems. So are loans (or are they gifts?) between relatives or ex-lovers; accidents involving borrowed vehicles and uninsured drivers; and, yes, a surprising number of dog attacks. Canine victims sometimes appear in court with their owners, eliciting the sympathy vote.

OK, so the first thing to admit is that yes (cue the red face), I watch “Judge Judy.” Not every day, but maybe a couple of times a week. I wouldn’t have thought I was the type, but I caught a few shows and got hooked.

Once in a while I disagree with a ruling. But for the most part, Judy gets it right. She insists on good deportment, too, and is not above correcting someone’s grammar. (“Um is not an answer,” is a favorite line.)

The poll purportedly showing that 10 percent of college students thought Judge Judy sat on the Supreme Court turned out to be badly flawed. Nevertheless, with a high court seat now vacant, Judy might be a choice that both Republicans and Democrats could get behind. We’ve seen worse.

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    Jacqueline Damian

    Jacqueline Damian is a writer and editor living in Milford, PA. The author of "Sasha’s Tail: Lessons from a Life with Cats" (W.W. Norton), she has worked in newspapers, magazines, book publishing and technology journalism. Read Full
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