Judge John Hodgman Episode 173: Gross Misconduct


Is it ever OK to clip your fingernails in public? Molly brings the case against her mom Susan. Molly says that Susan has a habit of clipping her fingernails at inappropriate times. Susan says she follows proper etiquette and tries to be discreet. Who's right? Who's wrong?

A huge THANK YOU goes out to Joel Mann and community radio station WERU-FM in Blue Hill, Maine for their help this summer. And you can do as the Judge does and Donate to WERU's Summer Fun-a-Thon pledge drive, happening now!

Thanks to Brian Koppe for suggesting this week's title! To suggest a title for a future episode, like Judge John Hodgman on Facebook. We regularly put a call for submissions.



Submitted by Molly

"Ok. This video is even more ridiculous than I recalled. Nonetheless it may shed some light on the degree to which my mom does things that are clearly ridiculous and wrong, such as prostrate synchronized scissor kicking and arm waving to "She's Having My Baby." In case you can't tell, she is having a conversation with herself on the floor in the beginning of the video.

I am submitting this as evidence to prove the following:

A. My mom was indeed in New York on the night of the alleged event.
B. She was at dinner with us at Sidecar. You can tell because her behavior is a direct result of having too many "Lime Lime Rickies" at said establishment.
C. My mom has poor judgment, and may have had especially poor judgment on the night in question."

Click through to watch on YouTube.

You can also check out current photos of Judge Hodgman's former workplace, the Jeroboams on Bute Street (as discussed in the docket), sent in by listener Gabriella. Thanks, Gabriella!


weird moms

I just felt the need to chime in and say that when I was a child and we'd go out to restaurants and this would ONLY happen in restaurants, my mother would inevitably look at me, announce that my glasses were dirty, and then force me to take them off so she could clean them.
Why is this story worth telling the internet world?

The story is worth telling because she would clean them by spitting on the lenses and wiping them with a napkin. Like any sane person, I would protest very strongly against this event as soon as it would start to unfold but she would win every time and then I'd get to sit there eating diner with my glasses having been recently covered in my mother's spit and act like this was fine because apparently in mom world it is. I think she stopped when I was around 18, perhaps because trying to impose her gross and public sanitation ritual on an adult sized woman was finally weird enough to stop her. I was 10 when I started wearing glasses, if that helps paint the picture. OK cool, is there a statute of limitations on internet law? Because I would love to hear my mom admit that that's gross. Meh, she still has trouble embracing the concept of email, I'll leave her be. OK thanks for reading!

About this case: I kind of want to be footloose and fancy free and living in Lima half the year drinking Lime Lime somethings right now.

Weighing in on my family

I just finished listening to this episode for the second time. I am the son of Susan, brother of Molly, and am truly thankful for this gem of a recording. I have tried to describe my mom too many times to count--thank you Judge John Hodgman for capturing my mom's adorable weirdness! - Zach

Nail clippings culteral reference

Your Honor Judge Hodgman,

How about this for a reference to nail clipping? Catcher in the Rye (mentioned in the show!), chapter 3:

'"...I sat down in my chair again, and he started cutting his big horny-looking nails. "How 'bout using the table or something?" I said. "Cut 'em over the table, will ya? I don't feel like walking on your crumby nails in my bare feet tonight." He kept right on cutting them over the floor, though. What lousy manners. I mean it...'

'"...He's got this superior attitude all the time," Ackley said. "I just can't stand the sonuvabitch. You'd think he-" "Do you mind cutting your nails over the table, hey?" I said. "I've asked you about fifty-" "He's got this goddamn superior attitude all the time," Ackley said. "I don't even think the sonuvabitch is intelligent. He thinks he is. He thinks he's about the most-" "Ackley! For Chrissake. Will ya please cut your crumby nails over the table? I've asked you fifty times."

He started cutting his nails over the table, for a change. The only way he ever did anything was if you yelled at him...'

A big fan,
Ann Perry


I am a long time listener, but first time commenter on Judge Hodgman's podcast. I simply had to exclaim how much I enjoyed this particular episode! I often laugh aloud to this podcast, but I laughed so hard and so frequently to this episode that I am certain I caused more than one person to move to a different car on the train. Perhaps it is because I too have a weird Mom. And weird Moms can be just as frustrating and marvelous as weird Dads. I must note, however, I am slightly disappointed that 'gradue' is not listed among the tags on the episode. I feel that is a missed opportunity.

Rock on weird Moms!