Classin’ up the joint

Joan and I went to the Article III Judges dinner last night to kick off the Eighth Circuit Judicial Conference in Omaha. We privately laughed at ourselves and remembered 1992 when we attended our first such dinner after I had become an Article III judge. At that dinner we giggled about the old age of the judges and their spouses. I was 45, and that was then.

But this is now. I had a chemo infusion yesterday morning. Lucky me, that induced a bloody nose last evening sitting next to the genteel, funny and brilliant Judge Susan Weber Wright from Little Rock. She pretended not to notice as I skulked away from the table and returned with Kleenex up my nose.

The following photo depicts what I found when I got home, and looked in the mirror. I added Joan’s comments for context. You want legal realism, you got legal realism.

No, that tissue sticking out of your nose, that you thought was crammed high enough to miss, is nothing to be embarrassed about. It makes you look distinguished.

Joan to Rich: “No, that tissue sticking out of your nose is nothing to be embarrassed about. It made you look distinguished. Old coot!


10 responses

  1. I think you look great, judge. I would like to humbly offer you my admiration for having the guts to talk about and expose your illness, Kleenex and all. This is life, plain and simple.

  2. John,

    Thanks for your nice note. While I will disagree about the “guts” part, I could not agree more that “this is life.” And, that is true for those of us who ascend the bench literally and figuratively too!

    All the best.


  3. Your present illness aside, this reminds me a bit of when I had just started working for you. You were a grieving single dad. You came to work one day with the back of your collar sticking straight up, exposing the back of your tie. We were discussing something in your office. I thought it best to tell you your collar was sticking up. You disappeared into the bathroom, and when you emerged it was even worse. I was still a fledgling clerk, still very intimidated, and I decided it was best not to tell you you made it worse. Once I had kids, even though I only had to be a “single” parent when Mike was off to Middlebury for four summers, I understood completely.

  4. Barely noticeable. Leave a bit more protruding, and you can say you just came from boxing at the gym. Hang in there, Judge.

  5. Mary,

    I remember that time too. It is a wonder I came to work with the same shoes on each foot. You think I’m kidding. Not at all. When I clerked for Judge Ross, I once showed up with two different shoes. As I walked around the terrazzo on the ninth floor of the old fedeal building I thought I had come down with a horrible disability. Of course, the other clerk soon let me know the truth. If I had a disability, it was terminal stupidity.

    All the best.


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