TRANSCRIPT Judge John Hodgman Ep. 487: Brush with the Law

Sheila files suit against her sister, Elyse. Sheila would like to paint their parents’ shed. But Elyse doesn’t like the color scheme that Sheila picked out!

Podcast: Judge John Hodgman

Episode number: 487

Transcript

jesse thorn

Welcome to the Judge John Hodgman podcast. I'm Bailiff Jesse Thorn. This week, "Brush with the Law." Sheila files suit against her sister Elyse. Sheila would like to paint the shed at their parents' house, but Elyse doesn't like the color scheme that Sheila picked out. Sheila says that since it was her idea to paint in the first place, she should get to pick the colors! Who's right? Who's wrong? Only one can decide.

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[As Jesse speaks below: Door opens, chairs scrape on the floor, footsteps.]

jesse

Please rise as Judge John Hodgman enters the courtroom and presents an obscure cultural reference.

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[Door shuts.]

john hodgman

[Sulking] Sure. Go ahead. Start the podcast. I can't do anything, anyways. I'm sick. You know sometimes when you're sick, you don't feel like putting rubber bands on your rubber band ball! You don't feel like doing anything at all!!! [Sighs.] I'm awfully sorry, Bailiff Jesse. You see, sometimes when we're sick, we snap at people when we don't mean to. Our emotions are awfully close to the surface. You understand, don't you?

jesse

[Stifling laughter] Sheila and Elyse, please rise and raise your right hands.

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[Chairs scrape.]

jesse

Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God or whatever?

sheila

I do.

elyse

I do.

jesse

Do you swear to abide by Judge John Hodgman's ruling, despite the fact that his coastal elitist lifestyle permits only enough room for a medium-size barbecue smoker, and certainly not a shed?

sheila

[Laughs.] I do.

elyse

Most certainly.

jesse

Judge Hodgman, you may proceed.

john

You understand, don't you? How when we're sick at home, and we're close together, and we're stuck together, emotions are close to the surface, right, Jesse?! You didn't even answer me.

jesse

I—I couldn't tell whether it was rhetorical. [One or both litigants laugh.]

john

Well, it was part of the quote.

jesse

[Stifling laughter] Also, sometimes I space out while you're talking.

john

Mm-hm. I understand. [One of the litigants laughs.] You know what? It's hard when we're stuck together, even when we're a continent apart.

jesse

Yeah.

john

There's a lot—[laughs]—there's a lot of togetherness in the world right now. [Jesse laughs quietly.] It's nice to see you over there in Los Angeles.

jesse

And you, friend.

john

Sheila and Elyse, you may be seated. Wherever you are.

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[Chairs scrape.]

john

It's nice to see you as well. Oh, and hello, Jennifer Marmor, nice to see you. It's just seeing—it's just—this is a podcast about seeing people and being seen now! [One of the litigants laughs.] Sheila and Elyse, for an immediate summary judgment in one of yours' favors, can either of you name the piece of culture I referenced when I entered the courtroom? Sheila! Let's start with you.

sheila

I was so hoping it would be Arthur "Two Sheds" Jackson that I looked up what episode of Flying Circus it's in. But that's clearly not it. [John and Sheila laugh.] Um, I'm going to go with A Doll's House, by Henrik Ibsen.

john

Interesting guess! Interesting guess. [Sheila laughs quietly.] I'll, uh—I'll enter that into the guess book.

jesse

John, what happened to Monty Python nerds, anyway? [One or both litigants laugh.] Where are they?

john

I know! Sheila—Sheila's—

jesse

How come nobody ever talks about Monty Python nerd stuff anymore?

john

Like, I'm sitting here going, "What's Sheila talking about? M—" What is it, Marty Two Sheds? [The litigants laugh.] What was the name of the—?

crosstalk

Sheila: Arthur "Two Sheds" Jackson. John: Arthur "Two Sheds" Johnson?

john

Jackson? Like, you know, I'm a fan of the Python, but that's a deep cut. I was lost. [Sheila laughs.] I don't know if it's—I don't know if the kids are picking it up these days, Jesse Thorn. I just don't think you're getting it on your PBS, uh, app. Alright.

jesse

It's a boring show. [One of the litigants laughs.] If you try and watch the show, it is boring.

john

Whoa. Whoa.

jesse

The good parts are the best things that have ever been created, but like all sketch comedy, it's—age has been hard on it.

john

How do you rank the—what is it again, Sheila? Arthur "Two Sheds" Jackson? [The litigants laugh.]

sheila

Yes. It's from the first episode of Flying Circus, "Whither Canada?"

john

Season one, episode one?!

sheila

Season one, episode one!

john

Alright. Put a—put a pin in that. [The litigants laugh.]

jesse

I'm more of a "Doug and Dinsdale Piranha" guy, myself. [The litigants laugh.]

john

Alright. We've been doing a lot of dockets lately, Jesse, so we're used to talking to each other. We have to remember what it's like to have guests in the courtroom. [One of the litigants laughs.]

jesse

Yeah.

john

Elyse? What's your guess?

elyse

Um, I'm gonna go with the animated movie Monster House.

john

Monster House? Written by Dan Harmon and Rob Schrab. One summer when my son was little, and he was in a summer camp situation, and he was—he was being lightly bullied. Not bad bullying. You know what I mean? Like, ignored, picked on a little bit, made to feel small. He found a copy—a DVD copy of Monster House, which I had never seen, at the Big Chicken Barn there in Elsworth, Maine, and just—and burned through it 19 times. [One or both litigants laugh quietly.] And it made him feel better. So look. I don't wanna brag, Sheila and Elyse. I used to have a career. [The litigants laugh.] Do I have Dan Harmon's email address? I do. I wrote him and I said, "Thanks for making this movie that made my son feel better." What did Dan Harmon write back to me? Something really moving. Let me see if I can find it. [Typing.] We're never gonna hear your case, by the way. Just forget it. This dumb thing about a shed. [The litigants laugh.]

john

"Tell your son that kids practice being adults the way puppies practice being dogs. The unexceptional have to practice what they'll employ as adults: traveling in packs, policing each other for weakness, biting, and barking. When your son's having a hard time, he's just practicing being exceptional. He should feel sorry for kids that have perfected the arts of singling out individuals and chanting things in unison. Their function is designated. His gets to be discovered." [Stifles laughter.] And then he goes on to say, "Or maybe don't tell him that. You might turn him into Ray Fiennes in Red Dragon." [John and the litigants laugh.] Dan Harmon. That guy knows a thing or two.

jesse

After that it just says, uh, "We will all be going home from work at four AM." [John and the litigants laugh.]

john

Anyway, Elyse, you're wrong. Sheila, you're wrong. Uh, I will give—Sheila, I will give you one more chance to walk away with this thing. You will get special consideration in this court, that can be pandered to. [The litigants laugh.] If you do as much of the Arthur "Two Sheds" Jackson sketch as you can recall. 'Cause this is—

sheila

Oh my— [One or both litigants laugh.]

john

This is something that I haven't had to endure since college. People doing whole Monty Python sketches in the dining hall, or the cafeteria in high school. The kids in high school who used to play weird card games every day at that other table, and speak in fake brogues, and just recite Monty Python to each other. Glad you're here, bringing back the old arts. [One or both litigants laugh.] So Sheila, let's hear it.

sheila

That was unabashedly me in high school. Alright.

john

Wait a minute, wait a minute. You know what, Sheila? You know what? [One of the litigants laughs.] You know what, Sheila? Let's hear your case. We'll hear your Monty Python at the end of the show. [More laughter.] That'll keep people listening.

sheila

Oh, that's a hook!

john

That's right. I'm learning about how to podcast. [The litigants laugh.] Okay! But Sheila, you do bring this—oh, but you—oh, the—all guesses are wrong. [The litigants laugh.] Because this is a dispute about a shed. Right? But it is also a dispute—this shed is designated what?

crosstalk

Sheila & Elyse: The play house.

john

Play house! So where's the quote from? Think of it. Big rubber band ball. Jesse Thorn, you know this.

sheila

[Sighs.] Pee-wee's Playhouse.

john

Pee-wee's Playhouse!

elyse

Ohhh.

john

Who said that? I didn't see who said it. Sheila or Elyse?

elyse

It was—

sheila

It was Sheila.

elyse

That was Sheila.

john

That was Sheila? Sheila's running away with this, Elyse. [The litigants laugh.] I'm afraid justice is not gonna be on your side today. Pee-wee's Playhouse, episode four, season two. "Pee-wee Catches a Cold." I thought that it—it both tied into the theme, play houses, but also the fact that we are all a little sick and tired of being sick and tired. And living together in extreme circumstances. Now, you two, Sheila and Elyse, are sisters? Is that correct?

sheila

That is correct.

john

And you are living together, correct?

sheila

Yes.

john

So where are you two, and this play house, located?

elyse

Um, we are all in Carlsbad, California. It's a suburb of San Diego.

jesse

It's known best for the German delicatessen and restaurant Tip Top Meats.

john

[Stifles laughter.] Oh.

elyse

Correct. They have very good bread.

jesse

Yeah.

sheila

I think most people would go to Legoland, but okay. [Elyse laughs.]

jesse

Yeah. Tip Top Meats is the Legoland of German delicatessen restaurants. [John and the litigants laugh.]

john

This reminds me, since we're talking about Pee-wee's Playhouse, uh, we gotta do a secret word. And I—now I can't use "Tip Top Meats." [The litigants laugh.] I was trying to think of a secret word that I could tell you, Elyse and Sheila, but not tell Jesse. [The litigants laugh.] That he would inevitably say during the course of this thing, and so we could all scream real loud. [More laughter.] And I was like, "'Coco,' 'Sissy,' 'Marinate the stump,' 'San Francisco,' 'Giants,' 'Baseball,' 'Pocket square...'" [More laughter.] I went through all of them, but then I came up with the perfect one. So Jesse, take off your headphones for a second. And I can see. Promise not to listen.

john

[Hushed] Alright. Hey, everybody. The secret word today is "courtroom." [Back up to usual volume] "Courtroom" is the secret word. If Jesse says—or anybody says that word from now on, what do we do? Elyse and Sheila? [The litigants scream quietly, and then laugh.] That's right! Scream—scream real loud! Okay. Put 'em back on, Jesse.

jesse

Okay. My headphones are back on.

john

Did you hear the secret word?

jesse

No, but I did see Sheila and Elyse scream real loud. [Everyone laughs.]

john

Okay. So you're living together in Carlsbad, California, in this house that has a play house in it. Is this your home?

elyse

This is our parents' home.

john

It is your parents' home. You are adults living at home with your parents. May I presume this is due to, uh, society collapsing and the economy being bad, and... [One of the litigants laughs.] ...health being a concern?

sheila

That's about right. It's—it's a good time to have a back yard, and neither of us could afford that on our own.

john

Right. Sheila, what do you do all day?

sheila

I work online, from home.

john

Mm-hm.

sheila

So that's—that's good right now. [Laughs.]

john

Okay!

sheila

I was already doing that before.

john

Good. And where do you—where would you normally live, Sheila?

sheila

I was actually in LA for a while, and I had just come back home for "a few months." [Laughs.]

john

Mm-hm.

sheila

Uh, because I was planning to get my own place in Madison, Wisconsin.

john

Oh!

sheila

And then everything... happened, and I'm still here. [Laughs.]

john

Oh! So you're not a resident of Wisconsin.

sheila

No. But I'm a fan. [Laughs.]

john

You were going—you were going to be. Yeah, love that badger state! It's good. [Sheila chuckles.] You could be a poll worker in Wisconsin. You can be a poll worker there in Carlsbad. They need poll workers. And Elyse? What do you do in normal life?

elyse

I actually started law school a couple of months ago.

john

Oh, okay!

elyse

So I was supposed to move to Michigan, um, in August, so we both got cheated out of voting in a swing state by this pandemic.

john

You could've been battleground state sisters!

elyse

I know! I'm—honestly, I picked University of Michigan partly because I was like, "Yes, I'll get to vote in a swing state, my dream!" [Sheila laughs.] And then—

john

Yeah, you never had it before!

elyse

No, I've always been in California! And it's so—well, there's some important props, and people should still vote in California because voting is the cornerstone of our democracy, but it's much more boring to vote in presidential elections in California.

john

Right.

elyse

Than it is in other states.

john

Right. IWillVote.com is a good website to go to, no matter what state you live in, to figure out how and when and where and why to vote. Not why to vote. It doesn't care about how you're vote—you know, how you're voting. [The litigants laugh.] It's telling you where to go. Alright. So you both got cheated out of being battleground state voters, and now you're living back at home. How does that feel? [Pause.] This is genuinely. I'm—I—not judgey. This is not judgey John Hodgman. This is genuiney John Hodgman asking.

elyse

Got it. Um, yeah. For me, it's—so I was—since I graduated college, I've been living at home. Just because student debt.

john

Yeah.

elyse

Was already destroying the world.

john

Right.

elyse

So it was nice to be able to like, pay some of that off before getting different student debt. Um, but it's definitely disappointing, like, to—since some of my classmates did move to Ann Arbor.

john

Mm-hm.

elyse

And are, like, doing... in some responsible ways socializing, and maybe in some less than responsible ways socializing, so I'm definitely glad I have the opportunity to be in a place with, like, other responsible people. But it's also, like, a little disappointing to have to stay in the same place so long.

john

Also, you're young people! You're—you're in your twenties. This is—lots of people in their twenties live with their moms and dads now.

elyse

True. [Laughs.]

john

Because of the student debt thing, long before this. Although, now, Elyse, it says here that you're 23. Sheila, you're 26.

sheila

Yes.

john

Yeah, you gotta get your act together. Get—move outta the house. Come on. [The litigants laugh.] Twenty-six. [Stifles laughter.] Just kidding. You're doing the right and smart and responsible thing. But you got this shed, this play house, that is in the back yard there in Carlsbad. Correct?

crosstalk

Elyse & Sheila: Yes.

john

Alright. And Sheila, you want to paint the shed a certain way.

sheila

I do.

john

And let's not talk about that for a second. [One of the litigants laughs.] What are your respective relationships to this play house? This play shed? Did you play in it as youths?

sheila

Yes, we—it started out with a very tiny table and chairs, and some fake food in there.

john

Classic.

sheila

And various decorations.

john

Yeah.

sheila

And then it—we had rabbits for almost a decade, as pets, who—it then became the rabbitat for a period of time. [Elyse laughs, Sheila stifles laughter.]

john

Did you say "rabbitat"?

sheila

[Laughing] Yes. [Elyse laughs.]

john

You best get a patent. Right now. [The litigants laugh.] That's not a term I've ever heard before.

sheila

TM, TM, TM. And, uh—and then the rabbits passed away a few years ago.

john

I'm sorry to hear that.

sheila

And we stuck some bikes and garden equipment in there, and now it... mostly gets ignored.

john

So it's had many lives. Is that—would that be fair to say, uh, Sheila?

sheila

That would be fair to say.

john

And neither one of you has a particular emotional—more of an emotional connection to it than the other. Because, you know, there was playing that was happening, but then it was a rabbitat, and then it was a bike shed. Is that—would that be fair to say, Elyse?

elyse

Yeah. I would say we have about the same relationship to it.

john

Right. And how would you describe that relationship to it?

elyse

I would say we definitely have—like, we're both fairly sentimental people. So I would say we're both—like, there's still drawings inside of it that like, we just did on the walls when we were little. [Sheila laughs quietly.]

john

Right.

elyse

So there's definitely, like, signs of our childhood in there, but I also don't think either of us are hugely like, "Oh, if this shed were to look different, I would die!"

john

Right. And Sheila, you wanna paint over all those drawings.

sheila

[Laughs.] Uh—

john

You want the past to be the past, you wanna paint it!

sheila

To be fair, I probably don't have the ambition to do the inside as well, but—[laughs]—the outside.

john

Oh this is just a pure exterior job?

sheila

Yeah.

john

You're gonna do a slapdash job and then flip it? I got you. [One or both litigants laugh.] I got your number. Increase curb appeal. Who cares about the inside? [More laughter.] I got some questions about the shed before we figure out how we're gonna destroy it. [More laughter.] Question one, Elyse, you brought up the pictures drawn on the walls. What are the pictures of?

elyse

The ones I can most distinctly remember are us attempting to draw people that are extremely misshapen and in weird-colored outfits.

john

Aughhhhh. [One of the litigants laughs.] Eughhhhhh, creepy!

elyse

As seen in the evidence, um, I probably drew some of them, and I never really developed as an artist. [One or both litigants laugh.]

john

I understand. The world needs lawyers, too.

elyse

That's what I like to think.

john

Yeah. Most lawyers do like to think that way. [The litigants laugh.] Alright, you got creepy deformed human paintings on there. Sheila, how many rabbits did you have?

sheila

Two.

john

Two rabbits. And they lived in there for ten years?!

sheila

There was a hutch outside, and then we moved them to the inside at night so that the coyotes couldn't get 'em.

john

I don't wanna know the specific—I just mean that's a long life for rabbits, I think.

sheila

[Laughs.] Oh, yes.

john

And what were their names, these rabbits?

sheila

Zoomzy and Hopsy. [John snorts.]

elyse

I would like to state for the record that Hopsy's full name was Mrs. Hoppy Pants. [Laughs.] And that Sheila tries to deny that she named a rabbit Mrs. Hoppy Pants. [Someone laughs.]

john

I can see why she would. [One or both litigants laugh.] Hopsy is a much cooler name.

jesse

Yeah.

john

Zoomzy and Hopsy?

sheila

Mm-hm.

john

Uh-huh.

jesse

Hopsy sounds like a British rapper. [John and the litigants laugh.] Grime, Beats, and so forth.

jesse

Let's take a quick break, and hear about another wonderful show provided to your ears by MaximumFun.org. We'll be back in just a second on Judge John Hodgman.

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[Three gavel bangs.]

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[Three gavel bangs.]

jesse

Welcome back. Court is back in session.

john

Okay. So we got this shed now, that's full of weird, Blair Witch-y drawings. [Someone stifles laughter.] And the ghosts of two rabbits. [One of the litigants laughs.] And so Sheila, if I understand correctly, you wanna paint it spooky.

sheila

That is absolutely correct.

john

Let's go to the evidence. This is submitted by Elyse. [Jesse laughs.] We'll call this exhibit A. [Laughs.] Two different visions for how the play house should look.

jesse

And you say you have—you never developed as an artist! [The litigants and John laugh.]

john

I'm gonna say drawn by a charming, naive hand. [A litigant laughs.] This is a wonderful example of what we call "outsider art." [John and one or both litigants laugh quietly.] Who drew these? Elyse, or Sheila?

elyse

We each drew one. The—

john

You each drew your own.

elyse

Yes.

john

Well, it's—I mean, look. You—neither one of you is a better artist than the other, so you have that. [A litigant laughs.] Elyse, you wish to paint the play shed red. Correct?

elyse

Correct.

john

Tell me your vision. Describe your vision here to me.

elyse

There are two main reasons I have this vision. First off, I think that if we painted it red, it would look like a cute little, like, mini farmyard barn.

john

Yeah.

elyse

Which would be like, a fun aesthetic for the back yard, and something that if Sheila wanted to make it spooky around Halloween—like, there's definitely ways to get the haunted barn aesthetic, like, going.

john

How do you—yeah, [sarcastically] how do you make an old barn spooky? [The litigants and John laugh.]

elyse

Precisely. She's got a lot to work with, but it doesn't have to be, like, specifically spooky year-round? Also, when we initially painted the play house, most of it was done yellow, and only the door was red, because yellow was Sheila's favorite color, and red was my favorite color. So her choice of color got to dominate last time. So I also see this as a tribute to my past self, of finally getting to win what color it is, in red.

john

Speaking of spooky, have either of you ever seen the horror movie The Grudge?

sheila

No.

elyse

No.

john

It's this movie about one sister having a life-long grudge over the other. [One of the litigants laughs.] For splashing yellow all over the play house and only getting to paint the door red. [The litigants laugh.] There is a photo—

sheila

Your Honor, red is not her favorite color anymore.

john

Look, that doesn't matter to The Grudge. [More laughter.] The debt must be paid. Doesn't matter what her favorite color is anymore, right, Elyse?

elyse

Correct.

john

Lawyer in training. [The litigants laugh.] Right? The—taste is immaterial. It is punishment for past crimes.

elyse

Exactly. Justice has to be served somehow.

john

All of these photos are available, of course, at the show page at MaximumFun.org, as well as on our Instagram, @judgejohnhodgman, where you will see—and I will describe for the listeners, so they do not immediately go to their phones and drive off the road— [One or both litigants chuckle.] —this shed in the back yard, that is, in its current incarnation, a wide, squat, yellow shed with white sort of beam accents and a red door. And it looks—based on these two ridiculous-looking dogs that you've put in for scale... [The litigants laugh quietly.] Who are those dogs?

elyse

The dog in the front is named Willow.

john

Uh-huh.

elyse

And the dog in the back is Maverick.

john

Willow and Maverick? What, are they—are those their names, or their secret security codenames? [The litigants laugh.]

elyse

Uh, it works either way!

john

Alright.

jesse

They're named after legendary sort of nerd icons. So Willow is named after Willow from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Maverick is named after the character Maverick from the movie Maverick. [John and the litigants laugh.]

elyse

Well, Willow is actually named after the character from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

john

Ohhh! Jesse, you got it!

elyse

And Maverick we just adopted earlier this week, and he came with that name. And we didn't want to confuse him.

john

Yeah, sure, of course! How are Willow and Maverick getting along?

sheila

They were a little icy toward each other at first, but now they are playing very well, and laying down near each other on purpose. So we're pretty sure they're best friends at this point.

john

And this human in this photo is Sheila? Is that you, Sheila?

sheila

Yes. We could not get Maverick to stand still for the camera otherwise. [The litigants laugh.]

john

I'm not blaming you, I'm just trying to get a sense of the—the height of this shed is not terrific. It is—it is a short shed.

sheila

Yes.

john

Right? So you would have to crouch down to go through that little door.

sheila

Yes.

john

So it really was a thing for children at some point.

sheila

Yes.

john

It's an abandoned child's play house with weird drawings on the wall— [One of the litigants laughs.] —haunted by rabbit ghosts. Correct?

sheila

Absolutely, yes.

elyse

Pretty much sums it up.

john

Probably still a lot of rabbit poop in there, right?

sheila

There's only so much sweeping you can do. [The litigants laugh quietly.]

john

Yeah. That's right. Some old newspapers. Some old newspapers, uh, and a, uh, Devendra Banhart, uh, cassette tape on the floor? That's probably what's in there. [One or both litigants laugh.] Alright. So what Elyse has proposed is to paint the yellow part red, and keeping the accents white, and it would have a real barnyard look to it. And in, uh, Sheila's... rustic, scary drawing, it is a very different look indeed. Will you describe it to me, Sheila?

sheila

Uh, I would like—

john

Oh, no, you know what? You know what? I would like Elyse to describe it. [The litigants laugh.] And feel free to editorialize.

elyse

Okay. So Sheila, in the middle of our bright, happy back yard, wants to paint a major—the part that's currently a bright yellow color into a darker gray.

john

Mm-hm.

elyse

She wants to do a dark purple on the door.

john

Mm-hm.

elyse

Make all of the accents black. So just, like, suck all the color out of it. And then even paint spiderwebs on the top, in between some of the top beams, to make it look, um, even dirtier than it already is. [John snorts, one or both litigants laugh.]

john

And on the roof? On the peaked roof? What's this?

elyse

I believe it's a small bat that she wants to put on the top, even though we have neighborhood birds who love to perch there and stare at us.

john

And may I presume, Sheila, that to get this bat to stay there, you're going to nail it to the roof through its little hands? [One or both litigants laugh quietly.]

sheila

Um, I was more thinking of making some kind of bat gargoyle and having kind of weighted feet on the right angle that it could just... sit there.

john

Right. [Deadpan] And then there's a g-g-g-ghost in the window? [The litigants laugh quietly.] That's just figurative, right?

sheila

That's more for flavor.

john

Yeah, okay, I got you. You have some Halloween decorations behind you. We are recording this in early October; it is—it is the Halloweening season. But Sheila, you want Halloweening all year long, in the form of a spooky shed. Now, listen. We were talking before. Uh, I was trying to remember which one of you was the spookier one. And Sheila said, "It's me, Sheila." And I'm like, "Right. Spooky Sheila. Now I got it. Elyse is, like, barnyard normal. Everyday Elyse." [The litigants laugh.] That's my nickname for Elyse. Everyday Norm. Normie Elyse. [More laughter.] But I also know that you're sporting a Hatbox Ghost T-shirt from the Haunted Mansion in Disneyland. Uh, which—and I'm all about the Hatbox Ghost. Look it up online. You were saying that that's what makes the Haunted Mansion better at Disneyland than Walt Disney World, right?

sheila

Absolutely.

john

Yeah. Tell me more about your aesthetic. Why you wanna paint this shed this way. Why you love the Haunted Mansion. What this is doing for you, that you would want to inflict this permanently upon, uh, your sister for the time that you're living there, and then your parents after you move away. I—which I hope happens someday. [One or both litigants laugh.] So you can resume your normal lives.

sheila

I hope so too, so I can spook up a whole real-sized house. Uh—

john

Ohhh! [The litigants laugh.]

sheila

Well, the purple and gray color scheme is definitely inspired by the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland.

john

Mm-hm.

sheila

Kind of the—the wallpaper aesthetic.

john

Mm-hm.

sheila

But I think that the gray with a touch of purple is... a nice look, that—

john

No it's not.

sheila

—while it certainly says "Haunted Mansion" to me, doesn't—

john

It only says "Haunted Mansion." That's all it says. [The litigants laugh.] You—how could you—

sheila

Alright, I'll—

john

You have—you put—you're putting a bat on top of this thing. This is a specific look. [The litigants laugh.]

sheila

Well, listen. I'm saying the—

jesse

I don't know, John. I feel like painting spiderwebs onto your building could mean anything! [The litigants and John laugh.]

john

Yeah, don't, uh—don't come into this fake meeting of justice... chamber. [Clears throat pointedly.] Uh, and try to tell me that this is a normal look! This is a very specific look! And one that you love.

sheila

That's fair.

john

Elyse, how long has Sheila been into this kind of stuff? Is this a long-term thing, or like a recent affectation?

elyse

Oh, it's definitely been a while. I feel like it really started to pick up in high school, when during her freshman year they did Sweeney Todd for the school musical.

john

Well, there you go. So how long have there been that pumpkin, and other Halloween decorations up on that wall behind you?

sheila

On the wall behind me, since only September...

john

Uh-huh.

sheila

...um, 1st. [John snorts, the litigants laugh.]

john

Really dropped the "1st" in there, sotto voce. [The litigants laugh.] If you had it your way, you would have perpetual Halloween in your house? That's what you're looking for?

sheila

No. Um, I do like making things special by bringing them out once a year. But there would maybe be certain Haunted Mansion aspects.

jesse

Cozy goth elements.

sheila

Exactly.

john

Yeah. Cozy goth. Shout-out to cozy goth. [One of the litigants chuckles.] So whose idea was it to paint? Sheila's?

sheila

Yes, it was my idea.

john

Got it. And now, Elyse, aside from it being not to your taste, are there any other reasons that you are opposed to Sheila's idea?

elyse

Um, despite—

john

Not that your taste shouldn't matter! Even though that's what Sheila says. [One or both litigants laugh quietly.] Your taste does matter to me. But I'm wondering if there are other arguments that I need to be hearing.

elyse

The main thing for me is just... it's not to my taste.

john

Mm-hm.

elyse

And though they do perpetually claim neutrality, I am convinced that the spooky aesthetic isn't as much my parents' aesthetic. And since this is their house that they plan to live in after we leave, I think we should be trying to account for like, their normal tastes when deciding how to paint it.

john

Now, Sheila, you sent in a piece of evidence as well. 'Cause this is an important point. Which is that this is not a permanent arrangement for either of you. You wish to go forth into your lives, and leave your parents behind. Maybe even leave them locked up in that shed, I don't know what your plans are. [The litigants laugh.] So their taste must be taken into consideration. But Sheila, you submitted exhibit B, an affidavit from Sheila and Elyse's parents. It's short, and I'll read it here: "To the honorable Judge John Hodgman, As is evidenced by this case being in your hands, we have been unable to pick a side. We are aware of your reputation for having harsh but fair judgment in your... law chamber. Therefore we give you explicit parental permission to crush the spirit or soul of either or both of our daughters as you see fit!" [John cackles, the litigants laugh.] "Sincerely, the parents of Sheila and Elyse." I guess they have no other identity than that. [The litigants laugh.] And they just—not even their names. Sheila, who wrote this note? Did you draft it and have them sign it?

sheila

No. [Stifles laughter.] Our—we told them that that could submit an affidavit. They talked it over amongst themselves. All I did was say, "There's no E in Hodgman." [The litigants chuckle.]

john

Hm...

jesse

Then they took a quick break from watching Monty Python on PBS in the seventies. [The litigants laugh.] Dashed out that note. [John laughs.] Got back to their sets.

john

Elyse, this feels like, um, a note written under duress. [The litigants laugh.] Do you believe for a second that your parents, who are—shall remain nameless— [The litigants and John laugh.] —uh, don't have an opinion about this?

elyse

I can definitely attest that this was not written under duress. It is something that they specifically wanted to do, especially our very own weird dad, decided he needed to be a part of the thing we were doing. And he insisted on the "crushing the souls line." [Sheila laughs quietly.]

john

Mm-hm. Alright.

elyse

I have tried to push my parents to have a strong opinion on this multiple times, and they do keep claiming to be neutral. So I think...

john

Mm-hm.

elyse

I will admit I don't think they have a strong opinion one way or the other. I think they're like, "It's a thing in the back yard. If you two wanna paint it, go for it." But I still think we should be thinking about their taste, and the aesthetic of the whole back yard, when making a decision how to paint it.

john

Do you think that your taste reflects, more accurately, their taste?

elyse

I do.

john

Mm-hm.

elyse

Since they are the ones who ultimately decided the original color scheme of the shed—of the play house and how it was painted, I think mine... reflects that, and the way that they normally design things, better than Sheila's vision does.

john

Well, no, it's not exactly a reflection of that, because when they made the decision early on, they were like, "Let's paint most of this Sheila yellow, and just a little bit Elyse red. That way they can never play in there without knowing exactly how our love is apportioned." [The litigants laugh.]

elyse

You make a fair point.

john

Mm-hm. Do you feel... the fact that your parents— [One of the litigants laughs, John stifles laughter.] —are not immediately putting their foot down and say, "No! Save your kooky Haunted Mansion stuff for when you get to Madison! This is our house, and Elyse doesn't like it!" [More laughter.] Do you take that as—as hurtful? That they are perhaps not taking your feelings into consideration?

elyse

Honestly, not really. Um—

john

Well, you should.

elyse

I—okay. That's good to know. [Sheila and John laugh.] I'll definitely be sure to write this down in things to talk to a therapist about.

john

Tell them they can call me, and I'll tell them. [One or both litigants laugh.] Alright. Some practical questions before I get to my verdict. Whatever the design decision is, will you be working on it together? Will you be painting it together?

sheila

I—I think, likely, I would be the one doing most of the work, either way.

john

Why is that? Do you have experience in painting sheds?

sheila

[Laughs.] Well, I went to every set-building day for my high school theatre shows, so... [Laughs.]

john

Be honest with me, Sheila. How would you rate Elyse's shed-painting game? Ten for best shed painting, zero for "Keep her away from sheds." [Elyse stifles laughter.]

sheila

Um, she's perhaps a... [stifles laughter] four, in, uh, crafts involving fine motor skills, and shed-painting is not as much that as... drawing or cutting or other things. I don't think she would be unable or unwilling to help. But I think generally between the two of us, I'm the one who does this type of thing.

john

Elyse? Do you feel slighted by Sheila's assessment of your, um, fine motor skills? Or is that about—is she about right?

elyse

No, that's pretty accurate.

john

Harsh but fair?

elyse

Harsh but fair.

john

Elyse, do you have any interest in painting this thing at all?

elyse

Yeah! I think it would be a fun project, especially given the times, and how few entertainment sources there are.

john

Mm-hm.

elyse

I think it could be a fun thing for us to do together. But I will admit, especially since law school started up, Sheila has a lot more hours in the day to do a project like this than I do.

john

Is this really about painting the shed, or just having a project, would you say?

sheila

I would say it's a little of each. It's nice to have a project, and have something that when you look at it afterwards, I really—you really feel proud of. And I think I could really make this look good. And kind of be eating outside, and looking at it, and going, "Yeah! That looks great!" [Sheila, John, and Jesse laugh quietly.]

jesse

I immediately pictured, like, maybe an Instagram selfie with the shed, that says, "I make this look good." [The litigants laugh.]

john

And obviously, Sheila, if I were to rule in your favor, you would want me to rule... in your favor. Paint this thing scary. Scare it up. Jokey scary.

sheila

Yes.

john

Munsters-style. [One of the litigants laughs quietly.] If I refer to it as Munsters modern, would that turn you off the scheme? [Laughs.] Mid-century Munsters modern?

sheila

I'm more of an Addams, personally, but, uh—but I accept Munsters modern. The—

john

Yeah.

sheila

The alliteration really sells it.

jesse

It's not modern, though. I mean, it's more of a spooky cottage core. [John snorts, the litigants laugh.]

john

Yeah. Can you get into this thing? Can you fit in this thing? Can you sit in there?

sheila

We can fit in, like, to get items out of it.

jesse

Haunted dolls.

sheila

It's not too hard. So there's some gardening tools in there.

john

Yeah.

sheila

You can duck in and grab a shovel easy enough.

john

Alright. Okay. Is it being used for any other legit purpose?

jesse

Scarecrow storage. [John snorts, one or both litigants laugh quietly.]

elyse

Yeah, it's primarily being used for storage right now. Just of like... bunch of random stuff. Especially since we got the puppy, really everything that could—he could eat in the back yard that's not a dog toy has been stuffed inside the shed.

john

Alright. Speaking of the puppy, we'll just take a look at this—at these dogs for a second. Jesse, can you take a look at these dogs for me?

jesse

Yeah. [Someone laughs quietly.] So there's a picture here of, uh, Willow enjoying Halloween. Willow has a sweet gray face, and she's eating some zombies' brains. [John and one of the litigants laughs.] And then—[laughs]—and there's another—this other one is a dog wearing eyeglasses! Looks like those might be your eyeglasses, Elyse.

elyse

Correct.

jesse

Well, the dog can't see out of the eyeglasses, Elyse! [Jesse and Sheila laugh.]

elyse

Well, they're computer glasses, so they're non-prescription. So...

jesse

Ohhh.

john

Ohhh!

elyse

They cancel out blue light the same way.

jesse

So you're helping the dog go to sleep on time.

john

Yeah.

elyse

Exactly.

jesse

And avoid eye strain.

john

Dogs don't see the color blue, so they don't need those glasses. [One or both litigants laugh quietly.]

elyse

Should have thought that through.

jesse

Awww, look at these sweet paws. Speaking of things to eat, I'd eat these paw pads. Num num num. [John and one or both litigants laugh.]

john

Uh, Elyse, if I were to rule in your favor, you want it to be red and white? Or are you willing to go back to the drawing board for a compromise?

elyse

I'd be willing to go back to the drawing board for a compromise. I think—

john

Well—mm-hm?

elyse

I think that there is a middle ground that could exist. Like, I know that, again, being spooky is, like, a big part of who Sheila is. She's working on, like, a Halloween music podcast. This is just something she's really passionate about. So I would be willing to, like, look into it a little more. Like, maybe we could find a nice shade of orange, or do it like, some sort of purple, but not do the black and gray. So I think that there is a middle ground that exists.

john

Mm-hm. Mm-hm. Alright. I think I've heard everything I need to in order to make my decision, so now it's time for me to go into my own spooky shed. [Someone laughs quietly.] And, uh—and, uh, I will consider my verdict, and I will be back in a moment.

sound effect

[As Jesse speaks below: Door opens, chairs scrape, footsteps.]

jesse

Please rise as Judge John Hodgman exits the courtroom.

crosstalk

John: AHHHHHH!!! Sheila: AHHHHHH!!! Elyse: AHHHHHH!!! Sound Effect: [A bell rings four times.] [The bell stops abruptly, and the screaming turns to giggling.]

jesse

[Deadpan] Cool.

john

[Laughing in delight] That was so dumb! [The litigants laugh.]

jesse

Hm.

john

Jesse, you said the secret word. [The litigants laugh.]

jesse

I [inaudible].

john

Do you know what the secret—?

jesse

The secret word is... one of the greatest things ever. [The litigants laugh.]

john

No, it's actually "courtroom."

crosstalk

[Ding!] Sheila, Elyse, & John: AHHHHHHH!!! [Ding! Ding! Ding!] [More laughter.]

jesse

Uh, Sheila, I have to ask you... Do you believe in your heart that you could execute the design that you've laid out here, with the—I'm just asking because... the picture looks a little bit like something my six-year-old would bring home from summer camp. If there was a spooky summer camp.

sheila

[Laughs.] I know it's a poor craftsman who blames their tools, but these markers have seen better days.

jesse

Uh-huh. [One or both litigants laugh, John snorts.]

sheila

This was sort of slapdash concept art.

jesse

I mean, you have a very ambitious plan to create a bat sculpture gargoyle that has feet at the correct angle, and weight-balanced such that it would attach itself to the roof pitch.

sheila

Well, I've—I've made some sculpture things before. I made a Sans the skeleton head for a cosplay once. And I think, uh, I could—I could make this out of plaster and get the measurements right, and... measure twice, cut once, and do this thing.

elyse

I can attest that Sheila tends—is very crafty, and has made some, like, really cool stuff. With her little hands. [Someone snorts.]

jesse

Elyse, what's the appeal for you of just having a barn in your back yard? Like a tiny barn.

elyse

I just think it'd be really cute. If it's like, "Oh, it's a little mini barn, but it's in our back yard!"

jesse

Yeah.

elyse

"And it's filled with all of our tools!"

jesse

You should probably get a donk, though, right? It's a miniature donkey?

elyse

Mm, that'd be good! Donkey Hotey. (Don Quixote.)

jesse

Yeah.

elyse

We could have—yeah, we really could.

jesse

He could be called Donkey Hotey. I mean, I think we pretty much solved it right there. [Jesse and the litigants laugh.] I don't really care what the judge has to say, now!

john

Which Buffy the Vampire Slayer character is that? [Jesse and the litigants laugh.]

jesse

Well, we'll see what Judge Hodgman has to say about all this when we come back in just a second.

sound effect

[Three gavel bangs.]

promo

Music: Guitar strums as singer counts out “One, two, one two three four.” Up-tempo guitar and harmonica  music plays in the background. Justin McElroy: Hi, everybody! My name is Justin McElroy. Dr. Sydnee McElroy: I’m Sydnee McElroy! Justin: We’re both doctors, and— Sydnee: Nope. Just me. Justin: Okay, well Sydnee’s a doctor and I’m a medical enthusiast. Sydnee: Okay. Justin: And we created Sawbones, a marital tour of misguided medicine! Sydnee: Every week I dig through the annals of medical history to bring you the wildest, grossest—sometimes dumbest—tales of ways we’ve tried to treat people throughout history! Justin: And lately we do a lot of modern fake medicine. Because everything’s a disaster. But it’s slightly less of a disaster every Friday, right here on MaximumFun.org, as we bring you Sawbones: A Marital Tour of Misguided Medicine. And remember: Sydnee: Don’t drill a hole in your head. [Music ends.]

sound effect

[Three gavel bangs.]

jesse

Judge Hodgman, we're taking a break from the case. We're in chambers, talking about what's going on. Your wonderful television program, the name of which we're not permitted to say on this show, is available in its entirety, without any—uh, all killer, no filler. On Hulu.

john

Yeah.

jesse

If folks have Hulu. I really strongly recommend this delightful show in which you and your friend David Rees are, uh, teen detectives who have gone to seed.

john

And grown up.

jesse

Yeah. And, um—[laughing] uh, but still solve teen detective problems. [John laughs.] Teenagers' issues.

john

Yeah. We're hired—we're employed by teenagers to solve mysteries for children.

jesse

My daughter has gotten really into Nancy Drew lately—

john

Oh!

jesse

—and it's really given me a new appreciation for the show, which I will call D-town.

john

Well, if you wanna see all ten episodes—and I warn parents and children alike that, um, there are swear words in this show. It's a PG-13 show, let's say. Just go to Bit.ly/dicktown. That's D-I-C-K-T-O-W-N, all one word, all small letters. I don't know why Bitly assigned me that particular URL-shortening device. But that's what it's called.

jesse

Mm-hm.

john

Bit.ly/dicktown. Also, Medallion Status is coming out in paperback on October 13th. I'll be doing virtual events at the Mark Twain House in West Hartford, Connecticut, home of the Whalers. [Stifling laughter] That's where they played.

jesse

Mm-hm.

john

They played hockey at the Mark Twain historical home.

jesse

Yeah.

john

It was a weird time.

jesse

I mean, it makes sense why the team folded eventually.

john

[Laughing] Yeah, exactly.

jesse

You just can't get a lot of paying customers in there.

john

Yeah, and al—

jesse

Once you put the ice down.

john

Yeah, and also it was only a—a quarter of a court. [Laughs.]

jesse

Yeah.

john

A quarter of an ice rink. Um—but I will be doing a virtual event there, as well as at Brookline Booksmith in my hometown of Brookline. I will not be there, but I'll be there in virtual conversation with someone you will like! JohnHodgman.com/tour will have all the details and more as they develop. Meanwhile, coming up, if you would like to see me in a different virtual setting, why don't you join a phone bank Zoom that I've been taking part in? Listener Zach turned me onto it. Somerville voters calling into battleground states to have conversations with voters. It's every Sunday afternoon. I'll be joining them this Sunday afternoon, October the 11th at 3 PM, and you can sign up and join as well, at Bit.ly/gogetemzach. That's "Go get em Z-A-C-H." And then on Monday, October 12th, I'll be joining listener Kelsey on the phone bank Zoom that she captains every Monday, where a whole bunch of people get together, Zooming together, and then use a very handy little dialer to call and recruit poll workers and poll observers in Wisconsin. It's not even a partisan thing. You're just getting people out there to work the polls, which is so necessary. That's on Monday, October 12th, at 5:30 PM Central Time. Bit.ly/gogetemkelsey. Maybe I'll put that on the JohnHodgman.com/tour page as well. So sign in if you want. Hit me up in the chat. Watch my little Zoom box as I make calls, and probably pick my nose. Both Zach and Kelsey and all of their friends will walk you through what to do and how to do it. It's painless. It's fun. Doing phone banking with other people in a Zoom is terrific, 'cause, you know, there's a get-to-know-you session at the top, and then at the end there's a debrief session, where people go, "Ohhh, this is the person—cool person I talked to!" or "This was fun!" and everyone feels good.

john

If you are captaining a phone bank team and want me to drop in for a sesh, let me know at hodgman@maximumfun.org. I am through talk trained and ready to hop on. And if you don't like what I have to say about politics, uh, write me! At hodgman@maximumfun.org, too. I've enjoyed hearing from and engaging with listeners both to my left and right politically about the issues at stake on election day this year. And even—there was one person who came in who was really kinda angry and mean to me. And I say, "Heyyy! You know what Tony Faulkner says, at Columbia University, in 1990. Take it down a thousand." And he apologized, and he's been really cool since, and we've shared and aired some issues and ideas. So it's been terrific. Thank you, everyone, for listening. And Jesse Thorn, what have you got going on?

jesse

All this month, we are debuting every Monday, new stock in the Put This On Shop, my vintage store. And I wanna make it clear, it's not a vintage clothing store, though there is a bit of vintage clothing in there. It's a vintage giftwares, accessories, clothing, and so forth... store.

john

It's mostly a store, uh, of Popeye gumball banks, I think. [Jesse laughs.] Mostly—

jesse

[Laughing] We do have one Popeye gumball bank in there. [John laughs.] Uh, so, you know, if you're a Popeye fan, it's a pretty sweet Popeye gumball bank, I—I gotta say. If you use the code "Justice," you get free shipping on almost everything in the store. And it's everything but the largest and most ungainly items, or things going overseas. And you can find everything online at PutThisOnShop.com. We have had a lot of Judge John Hodgman listeners choosing things! The tiny hats were a big it.

john

Oh!

jesse

I purchased a collection of tiny plastic hats, which originally were for, like, if you bought a hat for someone for Christmas, but the hat was not made yet, you would give them this tiny plastic hat under the Christmas tree. Sold almost all of those. Though I think there are still a few left. And a lot of other stuff to Judge John Hodgman listeners. There's a lot of neat stuff left in the store, and new stuff every Monday.

john

I can't believe no one's picked up this "sterling silver exasperated little girl money clip."

jesse

The little girl really is exasperated on the money clip. [John laughs.] Like, there is no—

john

It's so amazing!

jesse

There's no other way to describe how she's feeling about the situation. One of my favorite new items is, uh, if anybody likes to use a liquor decanter, or a decanter for any other liquid, we have a sterling silver stopper in the shape of a top hat. It's part of our most recent collection, which is "The Finer Things," is the theme.

john

Oh!

jesse

Also, if anyone is named Jimmy, we have an ID bracelet for someone named Jimmy. [John laughs quietly.] I'm looking for a Jimmy to purchase this from me.

john

[Tinny] Jimmy, please report to PutThisOnShop.com. We have your ID bracelet.

jesse

[Laughs quietly.] PutThisOnShop.com, and you can use the code "Justice" for free shipping on most everything.

john

Let's get back to the case.

sound effect

[Three gavel bangs.]

sound effect

[As Jesse speaks below: Door opens, chairs scrape on the floor, footsteps.]

jesse

Please rise as Judge John Hodgman re-enters the courtroom—

crosstalk

[Ding!] John, Elyse, & Sheila: AHHHHHHHH!!! [Ding! Ding! Ding!]

jesse

—and presents his verdict.

sound effect

[Door shuts.]

john

[Laughs/sighs.] I just wanna do this every time. [The litigants laugh.]

jesse

It's fun. It's fun.

john

Alright. So look. I am half empty nested, as a parent. Until very recently, we had two human children who lived with us. Now one of them has moved away. And I... enjoy very much the company of our younger human child. And am really, really glad that he gets to spend some time in the fullness of our company without the competition, and frankly dominance, that an older sibling sometimes brings to the table. [Clears throat pointedly.] Sheila. That our younger human child can feel wholly and completely loved, and not feel like he only occupies one small red door in our hearts. [One of the litigants laughs.] But has the whole shed to himself, as it were. But he will move on in his life, too, eventually, and leave, and move to a swing state. If he follows my instructions. "Establish residence in a swing state." [One or both litigants laugh.] And that will be very sad for me! And while this has been a very, very... hard and challenging time for many, many reasons, and only reiterates how hard we have to work together to build a new and better normal, rather than bounce back to what was normal before, I will say this.

john

If I were a parent, and my kids wanted to come and live back home with me in their twenties, I would be so happy. I would be so happy to have you adorable siblings living in my Carlsbad ranch house, or whatever it is. [One or both litigants laugh.] I would be so happy to have my human children fighting over what to paint the shed in the back yard. I'd be so delighted. I'd be sad for you, because your lives are on pause in a way that is not consistent with your dreams. Elyse, to move to Ann Arbor, and become a lawyer. And Sheila, to move to Wisconsin and buy Neil Gaiman's old house. And turn it into a new headquarters for the Church of Satan. [One of the litigants laughs.] But I would be so happy to have you guys hanging around! And yet, I have to think how it would feel if after the period of time of we all getting to live together and re-enact our early parental/childhood living arrangements, should you leave, and there was a Haunted Mansion in my back yard, I'm not sure how I'd feel about that! [One or both litigants laugh quietly.] I feel very... suspicious. [Stifles laughter.] That either one or both of your parents is not being honest with you, or they are not being honest with themselves. About what it's gonna be like to have this Munsters house in their back yard for the foreseeable future.

john

And it is a Munsters house, Sheila. I'm an Addams Family person as well. [Disdainful] This is Munsters. It's not Addams spooky. Forgive me. It's Munsters garish. There, I said it. [One of the litigants laughs quietly.] And it is not properly a difference in style. Right? Because these two things—the barn is—definitely leans towards barnyard, right? But it's very, very neutral, and kinda run-of-the-mill. Not that you are, Elyse. This spooky shed aesthetic is not neutral at all. This is a very big, strong statement that says one word. Two, actually. "Spooky. Sheila." Boom. "No. Elyse." Boom. [One of the litigants laughs quietly.] Now, Sheila. If it were the case that Elyse were to, you know, move out before you, and you were there alone, I'd say go for it. Turn that shed into perpetual Halloween. Turn your whole house into an ode to Halloween. And who cares about your parents? Let 'em suffer. [John and the litigants laugh.] I don't care about them! It's your time now! You're young! But you're there with your sister. Proposing a project that she has an investment in, and to leave behind this monument to Sheila-ness is only to compound the earlier tragedy of Sheila's diminishment in the original paint scheme. Red door. Yellow house. Red door! Door. [One or both litigants laugh quietly.] Not even that. Miniature door. [More laughter.]

john

One you can't even walk through as a full human being. Red door. That's the bone we're gonna throw Elyse. Sheila, you get it all. [The litigants laugh.] Elyse, you get a door. But then I thought to myself, "Wait a minute! What's spookier than a red door? Amityville Horror house had a red door, and it led to a secret red room! Scariest thing of all! That's scary."

jesse

Yeah, the classic catchphrase. "Red room, red room."

john

"Red room, red room!" [Laughs.] I think a blood-red door is pretty spooky! And then I started to think, "Wait a minute. These illustrations look bad. But my favorite color is gray." And I've spoken in the past on the podcast that our front door in our home is painted a deep, glossy black, à la many of the house doors in Holland. A very specific deep, Dutch, glossy black color that graces the front doors of many city homes in Holland. And I'm gonna go ahead and buzz-market this company. It all comes from Fine Paints of Europe. It's almost mesmerizing, how deep and glossy and black this is. I think that there is a compromise here. I think that, frankly, as much as the only child in me wants to see you, Sheila, embrace your inner selfish only child, and just Haunted Mansion this thing up with abandon—I think it's a great project. I love it. But that's a project for your future, when you are alone. When you are in Madison. There are some spooky places in Madison that you can make very, very scary. But you're not an only child. Sorry! Not all of us can enjoy it! [One or both litigants laugh quietly.]

john

You've got Elyse hanging around. And I think, because of my fondness for this project, but also my fondness for Elyse—I think you could find a common ground here. And this is what I would propose. I think a gray shed with black accents—particularly with high-quality paints, of the kind you might find in the catalogue of Fine Paints of Europe—would actually look pretty stately and good. It would not look bad. I do not think that there should be any painted spider webs on it. That is too Sheila a signifier. And as for a gargoyle or a bat, that is not something that needs to be permanent. Indeed, as Elyse has already pointed out, she would be comfortable with you dressing the shed spookier than it is. But not a permanent spookiness. Something that is neutral. What is more neutral than gray? Gray with deep, glossy black accents. And you get rid of that purple door, 'cause that's gross. Sorry. [Someone stifles laughter.] Sorry, Sheila. We gotta honor Elyse's traditional role, as supporter and enabler. [One or both litigants laugh quietly.] "I see a purple door, I wanna paint it red!" Paint that door a deep—and Elyse, you can pick out the red. In honor of her barn. In honor of the small fraction of her parents' love that was given to her. [The litigants and Jesse laugh.] In honor of Elyse! [Laughs.]

john

So that's my order! Is I'm finding in favor of Elyse. I am making this recommendation of a color palette. But it does not necessarily have to be these colors. Elyse gets a red door no matter what. That is her legacy. That is the scraps that her parents left her. [The litigants laugh.] This is the sound of a gavel.

sound effect

Two finger snaps.

john

Now. Sheila, please do some Monty Python for us.

sheila

[Sheila maintains a British accent throughout "Now, we have here in studio with us today, Mr. Arthur 'Two Sheds' Jackson. Now, that—that is an interesting nickname. How did you come across it." "Oh. Yes, well, you see, I—I have one shed in my yard, and... and I said one day, 'Well, I was thinking of—of getting a second shed,' and... well, it sort of just took off from there." "So—so you never did get the second shed?" "No. No, it's just—just the one... shed." [Multiple people stifle laughter.] [One or more people applaud.]

jesse

Bravo.

john

Standing ovation from Brooklyn. [The litigants laugh.]

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[As Jesse speaks below: Door opens, chairs scrape, footsteps.]

jesse

Please rise as Judge John Hodgman exits the courtroom.

crosstalk

[Ding!] John, Sheila, & Elyse: AHHHHHHH!!! [Ding! Ding! Ding!]

sound effect

[Door shuts.]

jesse

Sheila, how do you feel about the verdict?

sheila

I—I think I'm okay with the... with the color scheme the judge proposed, I think. Deep gray with a glossy black. I like the idea of like a very glossy black as the accents. I think that would look good. I think I could spook that up, and— [Jesse and/or Elyse laughs quietly.] Temporarily. Just during October, and September. And be very happy!

jesse

How are you feeling, Elyse?

elyse

Yeah. I feel pretty good. I like that I won. [Sheila laughs.] That—that doesn't always happen, so that's good. And I'm glad that I'll keep my red door legacy. [Jesse and one or both litigants laugh.]

sheila

Even though your favorite color is now purple.

elyse

True. [The litigants and Jesse laugh.]

jesse

Well, Sheila, Elyse, thanks for joining us in the Judge John Hodgman courtroom.

crosstalk

[Ding!] Elyse, Sheila, & John: AHHHHHHH!!! [Someone does a gargling Wookiee-ish yell.] [Ding! Ding! Ding!]

sound effect

[Three gavel bangs.]

jesse

Another Judge John Hodgman case is in the books. Before we dispense some Swift Justice, our thanks to Luke Seemann for naming this week's episode, "Brush with the Law." And our thanks to whatever immigration official or... like, middle centuries priest named the Seemann family after the best Sega Dreamcast game. [John snorts.] John, it's a game where this fish with a human face lives inside your TV, and you have to talk to it through a microphone. [Stifles laughter.]

john

Uh-huh?

jesse

And every so often, Leonard Nimoy tells you how it's developing.

john

[Laughing] Oh, wow!

jesse

It's really great! [Laughs.] Uh, if you'd like to name a future episode, like Judge John Hodgman on Facebook. We regularly put out our calls for submissions there. Follow us on Twitter at @JesseThorn and @hodgman. Hashtag your Judge John Hodgman Tweets #JJHo. And visit us on the Maximum Fun subreddit, MaximumFun.Reddit.com, to chat about this week's episode. We're on Instagram at @judgejohnhodgman. Make sure to follow us there for evidence and other fun stuff. Judge John Hodgman is produced by Jennifer Marmor, with help this week from her dog, George. [John and Jesse laugh quietly.]

john

Thanks, George! Rrruff!

jesse

And his cone. [Laughs.] Now, Swift Justice, where we answer your small disputes with a quick judgment. James says: "My wife says we should chide our child for saying the word 'crap,' because eventually teachers won't tolerate it. I think it's no big deal as long as he uses such words correctly. What do you say, Judge Hodgman?"

john

Ah—um, there's an important piece of information left out here, which is the age of the child.

jesse

I presume it's a pre-teacher age, right? So...

john

Right. So this is before kindergarten, even?

jesse

Yeah, maybe nursery school age.

john

Well... crap! [Both laugh.] I—I think that if my nursery school age child was walking around the house saying, "Crap this" and "Crap that," I would feel like I was in The Exorcist. [Unnerved] I don't like that. At all. [Laughing] That feels too Halloweeny to me.

jesse

[Laughing] To me, it's almost worse than an actual swear word!

john

Yeah! Um... I don't know that chiding is what's required here. I think, you know, there is a necessity to encourage children to understand the power that words have, and to use words that make other people comfortable, and to avoid using words that make other people uncomfortable. And frankly, a little kid even using as innocuous a curse word as "crap," I think would make me think your—your child was possessed by an evil demon. But that's me! I won't even say "Dicktown" on my own podcast. So I don't know. But I would say there's no reason for a little kid to be a potty mouth. [Laughs.] That's something you should take up innn... I don't know. Sixth—fifth grade. Sixth grade. Seven—middle school. That's when you start dropping some C-bombs, as far as I'm concerned.

jesse

That's it for this week's episode. Submit your cases at MaximumFun.org/jjho, or email hodgman@maximumfun.org. No case is too small. We'll talk to you next time on the Judge John Hodgman podcast.

sound effect

[Three gavel bangs.]

john

If people don't know, the common word for "Hades" is "courtroom."

crosstalk

[Ding!] Jesse: AHHHH!!! John: AHHHHH!!! [Ding! Ding! Ding!] [Quiet, stifled laughter.]

music

A cheerful guitar chord.

speaker 1

MaximumFun.org.

speaker 2

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speaker 3

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About the show

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