Monday, December 11, 2017

May It Please The Court

Your honor, may I be heard? The moving parties have had more than ample time to make their cases against me, and I have been listening patiently to their litany of grievances for what seems like forever by now. If it please the court, may I offer a brief defense?

Thank you, your honor.

We are dealt our cards early in life, and those are the cards that we must play. We cannot all receive four of a kind in the deal, and there is only so much that a person can do with a pair, however talented that person may be at the finer points of the game. You may use all of the finesse at your disposal, but even aces and eights beat a pair, and that’s the Dead Man’s Hand. Even if my pair had been eights or nines, a pair is still a pair. A pair is often not the lowest hand in the game, but neither does a middling pair often win the game. My hand was a middling pair. May the court judge me through the filter of my received gifts.

It would be manifestly unfair to judge me in comparison to the results obtained by individuals who received full houses in the deal. I suggest that a subjective test is called for in this matter. What could a reasonable man have accomplished with my gifts? I believe that choice to be within the discretion of this court, your honor.

One more point, your honor, and I’ll try to be brief. I ask you not to judge this matter until all of the small things in my favor may be properly added to the ledger. My offenses, of both commission and omission, may seem glaring, but they do not stand alone. The record includes many small acts of kindness, an amazing total in fact, since there have been any number of them on every day of my seventy years on earth. They speak quietly, but they are legion. Perhaps, in their weight as a whole, they may be enough to push the scale towards a balance.

Regarding the allegations against me, I am in general agreement, but I direct the court’s attention to the fact that the list of allegations is heavily weighted with instances where I either disappointed someone, or embarrassed someone. The court can decide whether the moving parties have sufficiently shown that those negative emotions were caused by me, or if they in fact arose from the nature of the moving parties themselves.

I will not waste the court’s time by pointing out that I was generally doing the best that I could manage under the circumstances. That’s all that anyone can do, or ever does, so it correctly carries no weight as an excuse. By way of explanation, however, let me say that I was trying the entire time to do better than what appears on the record at this point. I am certainly guilty of having much too little to show for all of the work that I put into this life of mine, but it was not for want of trying. I tried, but I was . . . impeded.

The defense rests, your honor, hopefully in peace. It will be the first peace that I have ever experienced, and I’m rather looking forward to it. If there is any afterlife at all, I will be the disappointed party, and you may expect me to file a grievance immediately upon the appearance of any such thing. Any afterlife at all would be torture for me, because, after all, I’d be there, and that has always been enough to ruin my happiness. So peace, to be clear about it, I’m praying only for peace. 

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