TRANSCRIPT Judge John Hodgman Ep. 489: Mr. Commode’s Wild Ride

Lauren files suit against her mother, Cheri. Cheri says she would like her ashes flushed down a toilet at Disney World. Lauren is opposed!

Podcast: Judge John Hodgman

Episode number: 489

Transcript

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[Three gavel bangs.]

jesse thorn

Welcome to the Judge John Hodgman podcast. I'm Bailiff Jesse Thorn. This week: "Mr. Commode's Wild Ride." Lauren files suit against her mother Cheri. When Cheri dies, she says she'd like her ashes flushed down a toilet at Disney World, so her remains are recycled with the water used for the flowers in the parks. Lauren is opposed. 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

"Excuse me! Excuse me! Uh, could you give us some change, please? The doctor says we have asthma, and we have to eat ice cream right away!"

jesse thorn

Lauren, Cheri, 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?

lauren

I do.

cheri

I do.

jesse

Do you swear to abide by Judge John Hodgman's ruling, despite the fact that he's been pre-cremated so he can be flushed down one of the terrifying water slides at New Jersey's Action Park? [One or both litigants laugh quietly.]

crosstalk

Lauren: I do! Cheri: I do—I do.

jesse

Judge Hodgman, you may proceed.

john

Thank you very much. Lauren and Cheri, you may be seated.

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[Chairs scrape.]

john

Yeah, that's right. I, uh—[laughs]—I cremated just a little bit of myself. So that I—so that I could send— [One or both litigants laugh.]

jesse

Just enough.

john

I actually taped my ashes to the Tarzan swing at Action Park. Hey, everybody! Watch Class Action Park on HBO Max, a documentary about a very dangerous theme park that I, uh, narrated! And I get no money for saying that! This is the Judge John Hodgman podcast. And let's get down to it. Cheri or Lauren, can either of you name the piece of popular culture that I quoted, in this case—I changed no words; I quoted—uh, as I entered this fake courtroom? Lauren, you're on top of my Zoom stack right now, and I can see you there puzzling it out. Why don't you guess first?

lauren

I would guess that it's from an—uh, that episode of The Brady Bunch where they go to Hawai'i.

john

Episode of The Brady Bunch when they go to Hawai'i.

lauren

Mm-hm.

john

And, uh—

lauren

Pretty confident.

john

And Peter gets that little haunted Tiki doll.

lauren

Mm-hm.

john

And there's a lot of cultural appropriation.

lauren

[Emphatically] Mm-hm.

john

And you're making that guess because, uh, the—uh, Walt Disney World is in Hawai'i?

lauren

There—there's a lot of ties to Hawai'i in Disney World, and I—I just—I—

john

Mm. Mm-hm.

lauren

I remember the quote exactly. I'm not even guessing. I just remember that exact quote from the show.

john

Mm-hm. Mm-hm. Yeah. That's right. There—okay, it's—

jesse

Maybe she's making that quote because... that's the only cultural reference Gen Xers are capable of making.

john

[Laughs.] Maybe so!

jesse

The episode of The Brady Bunch where they go to Hawai'i. Which I've never seen, but feel as though I know. [Laughs.]

john

Uh, yes—

jesse

Because of all of my friends who are five to ten years older than I.

john

[Laughs.] Yes, that's right. Well, there—also there was that afternoon at MaxFunCon, Jesse, where I locked you in a cabin and told you the plot line of every Brady Bunch episode. [Jesse laughs.] And I remember when Cousin Oliver was introduced, you were openly weeping at that point. Which—which I think was mostly to do with the fact that you were—you wanted to be free, and you didn't wanna do this anymore. But it mirrored my feelings of sadness when Cousin Oliver was introduced. [One or both litigants laughs.] 'Cause I was like, "This show is on its last legs." Alright. The Brady Bunch. We'll put it in there. Cheri, by virtue of the randomness of Zoom, you are—you are below me in my Zoom stack, my gallery view. Therefore you guess second. You can also guess an episode of The Brady Bunch! But why would you? I don't know if you've listened to this podcast before, but usually the cultural reference has something to do with the case at hand. And the case at hand involves... you, uh—and I trust and hope that you are in relatively good health now?

cheri

Oh, yes!

john

Great. So at some unspecified point in what I hope will be the very far future, when you inevitably pass away, you would like to be, uh, cremated?

cheri

Yes.

john

And have your ashes flushed down a toilet at Walt Disney World, is that correct?

cheri

Walt Disney World, not Land. Yeah.

john

I—no, I understand your particular prejudice. [Cheri laughs.] Don't—yeah. That's—that's gonna be a problem. And the Magic Kingdom, or some other part?

cheri

Uh, some other part.

john

Okay. So normally the cultural—obscure cultural reference is a reference to some aspect of the case. So you can guess something to do with Hawai'i, or The Brady Bunch, or you might guess something to do with, uh, Walt Disney World or Disneyland! Who knows? [The litigants laugh.]

jesse

Or you can just guess the classic guess, which is, "That's probably lyrics from a Mountain Goats song."

john

That's right.

cheri

Uh, I really believe that it's from Leave It to Beaver. [Beat.] I'm so—I—[laughs].

john

[Quietly] The two of them—the two of you! [Jesse and one or both litigants laugh.]

jesse

[Laughing] Great news!

cheri

I'm kind of a Leave It to Beaver expert, and I think it's from the one where Beaver buys his mom that blouse with the Eiffel Tower on it. And it says "Ooh la la."

lauren

"Ooh la la." Yeah.

cheri

And afterwards, he and Wally went to the ice cream parlor or something, didn't they? I think that's—I really think I'm pretty—like I'm nailing it here.

jesse

Jennifer, you're a Millennial. Would you like to bring up Saved by the Bell now? [John and someone else laugh.]

john

All guesses are wrong. Including Saved by the Bell. It's not Leave It to Beaver, and it is not the Brady Bunch double header where they go to Hawai'i and meet Vincent Price. Come on. Look. These are unusual times. And so I'm gonna give you a—another chance. Since you are talking about Hawai'i and cultural appropriation and Tiki culture, you're surely familiar with the Enchanted Tiki Room at Disneyland, later replicated at Walt Disney World.

lauren

Yeah.

cheri

Yeah. Yes.

john

So you know what a Dole Whip is, right?

lauren

Oh, yeah!

cheri

Yeah!

john

Alright. Now this is a quote from a movie. The word that is changed in this quote is "Dole." Okay? In other words, I'm inserting "Dole" into this quote where another word would have gone. Okay?

cheri

Mm-hm.

john

If you can name the movie—other chance. Now, the connection to Disney theme parks is the Dole Whip in this case, okay?

cheri

Mm-hm.

john

You ready for it? "Dole Whip? Dole Whip? We'll have three Dole Whips." [Quiet laughter from multiple people.] Jesse Thorn gets it. I can see. He's got his—he's got three fingers up.

jesse

I did the international hand signal for three Dole Whips.

john

"Dole Whip? Dole Whip? Three Dole Whips."

cheri

[Laughing] I don't know!

john

Mm-hm. Yeah.

lauren

I'll go first, 'cause I'm pretty confident again.

john

Okay. Top of the Zoom stack.

lauren

I think it was that mo—the movie—I can't remember the name of—uh... is it where, um, Patrick Swayze is—is the surfer?

john

Alright. No. Moving on. Moving on.

lauren

Okay. Okay. [The litigants and John laugh.]

john

Moving on both because you're wrong, and also, I'm—I—my brain is damaged—

lauren

I'm sorry. I'm sorry.

john

—from the year that we're living in, and I can't remember the name of that. [One or both litigants laugh.] It's a very famous—[laughs]—very famous movie.

lauren

Point Break.

john

Point Breaak! Thank you. Thank you. [Cheri sighs.]

lauren

Sorry. Sorry, I apologize.

john

You all—everyone can stop yelling at their listening devices now, out there in Podcast Land. Ugh. [Lauren sighs. One or both litigants laugh quietly.] You can also stop yelling out the answer to this, uh, second quiz point, 'cause I know a lot of people got it, but I'm betting, Cheri, you did not.

cheri

Oh, no. Not—not even close. No.

john

Really?

cheri

No.

john

That's 'cause it's from season 3, episode 19 of Leave It to Beaver—no. [One litigant gasps, one or both laugh.] It's from The Blues Brothers! John Candy! Is waiting to arrest the Blues Brothers.

cheri

Ohhh.

john

As they play their final concert. And he's there with the two state troopers, and he goes, "Who wants an orange whip? Orange whip? Orange whip? Three orange whips." One of my favorite lines in movies. And then, going back to where we started: "Excuse me. Excuse me. Can you spare some change, please? The doctor says we have asthma and we have to eat ice cream right away." [One or both litigants laugh.] It's a line from a movie released in 2017, directed by Sean Baker, called The Florida Project. Have you seen it?

cheri

Yes!

lauren

Yes!

john

Have you—you have seen it!

cheri

Yes. Yes!

john

It's an amazing movie about children and barely homed families living in a sub-budget motel in Kissimmee, Florida, right on the outskirts of the Magic Kingdom, called the Magic Castle. With Willem Dafoe. It's a great, great movie, and I'm sure you can now guess why I picked it. Because not only is the whole story set in the sort of grim, sweaty shadow of the Magic Kingdom—the real, difficult reality that exists in the shadow of the Magic Kingdom—but also because Sean Baker took the two young actors who played the two main characters, the two children, into the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World and filmed the final scenes there! Surreptitiously, with an iPhone. 'Cause you're not supposed to shoot movies— [One or both litigants laugh, John stifles laughter.] —uh, in Walt Disney World or Disneyland. Unless—unless you just do it anyway. And there've been a number of different movies that have surreptitiously been shot in Disneyland, including a horror movie called Escape from Tomorrow, and a comedy called The Further Adventures of Walt's Frozen Head. Neither of which I have seen, but I have seen The Florida Project. It's a hard movie to watch, and it's a beautiful movie to watch. And I encourage you watching it, A, because it's good, and B, because... it involves doing surreptitious things in a Disney theme park! Which is what you propose to do, Cheri, is that correct?

cheri

Correct, and that was a very good obscure reference. Excellent. That was great.

john

Well... your pandering is noted. [John and Cheri laugh.] But we are forever enemies, because you besmirched Disneyland. And I am a Disneyland person and not a Disney World person, but we'll set our differences aside in these difficult times. So, Cheri.

cheri

Yes.

john

First of all, we know that you're doing okay. I'm glad to hear it. Where are you located currently?

cheri

Hudson, Ohio, which is between Akron and Cleveland.

john

So, should and when you pass away, why do you want your ashes flushed down a Disney World toilet, and do you have one in mind?

cheri

I do! [Laughs.] Actually. It's not—I'm—

john

I would hope so!

cheri

I don't want—I don't want a public toilet outside the Haunted Mansion or anything. I just want a nice—like, probably the nicest hotel room in all—at a resort hotel room.

john

Oh!

cheri

In privacy. You know, we could have music and candles, and... you know. I—I don't want a public toilet.

john

You don't want it—you don't want your ashes spread in the park itself.

cheri

Well, the—you know, the toilets in the hotel rooms go to the same place. It's—they re-cycle the water.

john

So what does that have to do with it?

cheri

Well, if I'm flushed down the toilet, and they re-cycle the water, then they re-cycle it to irrigate everything. To water the plants and the topiaries and—

john

Have you looked at the blueprints? [John and Cheri laugh.] Do you have—do you have schematics of the Disney World and surrounding resorts', uh, sewer system?

jesse

Filed a FOIA request with the city of Orlando?

cheri

Well, actually, I—I checked on this before, you know, just to make sure I wasn't wrong about this. No, but it's true! They re-cycle the water they use. And they use it to water everything.

john

Let the Lauren show—top of the Zoom stack up there, shaking her head with dismay. [Cheri laughs.] What specific daughterly dismay are you trying to express with your—with your grim head-shaking? [Lauren sighs.] That your mom is wrong? Or... that this idea is wrong, or that you have a better place to spread these ashes?

lauren

All of the above. I—first of all, I don't care what toilet. [The litigants laugh.] I don't wanna flush my mother's ashes down the toilet. Any toilet! Anywhere—any toilet. And I'm also not—I know she did some light research— [Cheri laughs, John snorts.] —but like, I'm not convinced that it's really gonna go on the flowers. And I also think that there are some, like, alternatives that don't involve me flushing your ashes down the toilet. And that's kind of why I wanted your help, because I feel like there's a compromise that doesn't involve me—who would be mourning! Mom, I love you more than anybody, anything! And I would be—we have to think about, I'm not gonna be in good shape, and I don't wanna have to flush your ashes down a toilet. Any toilet.

john

So for you, it's the toilet aspect, not the spreading of the ashes somewhere in Walt Disney World.

lauren

Correct. I might get arrested in Disney World if I were to, perhaps, spread her ashes in the Jungle Cruise, or I guess... uh, you know, Pirates of the Caribbean might be easier, because there's not a tour guide on those boats.

john

Mm-hm.

lauren

But I—I might get in trouble.

john

You only have robots looking at you. Pirate robuts.

lauren

Yeah! So—I would probably get in trouble, though. I'd probably get caught. And you know, if I did her idea of flushing the ashes down the toilet in a hotel room, I probably wouldn't get arrested. No one would know. But I'd rather get—

john

You don't wanna do it unless you might get arrested.

lauren

I would prefer to get arrested than to have to—than not get arrested and have to flush her ashes down a toilet.

john

Alright. Cheri? [Grimly] Or shall I call you Cookie?

cheri

If you wanna call me Cookie, that would be wonderful.

john

It says here that most people call you Cookie.

cheri

Yeah, my friends call me Cookie. Please call me Cookie.

john

Uh, thank you very much, Cookie. Cookie, I like you. Alright? I like you because your nickname is Cookie. You've got some funny ideas about getting rid of your ashes in a toilet. [Laughs quietly.] I like you because—[laughs]—it says here, uh, that you write a—that, uh, you do a lot of volunteer work focusing on literacy. And whatever you might have done during the earlier years of your life, professional or otherwise, now you write about Italian movies and collect vintage Barbie clothes.

cheri

I do! That's true!

john

And before this gets harsh, Cookie, I'm gonna plug your Instagram right up top. With great enthusiasm.

cheri

Great!

john

Instagram.com/barbie_snack. [John stifles laughter, one of the litigants laughs quietly.] You make scenes with vintage Barbies and post them on Instagram. And this an incredible thing. I'm gonna just channel David Rees right now, and say, "Ugh! This is like the greatest thing I've ever even seen right now!" [Cheri laughs.] Cookie, you're killin' it!

cheri

Thank you! [Laughs.]

john

Got a bunch of Barbies—! And first of all, I oughta follow you. Follow. Good.

cheri

Thank you!

john

Now I can heart this one. This one of—one, two, three, four, five, six vintage Barbies around a little miniature Ouija board? Come on! [Cheri laughs.] That's the greatest. All these vintage Barbies hanging around. One of—[laughing] having an arm wrestling contest!

cheri

[Laughs.] They're always up to something! [Lauren laughs.] They're always off doing something! [Laughs.]

john

Cookie, I think you're amazing. But... if I had known that you wanted to flush your ashes down a toilet in adjacent hotel, I never would have taken this case. Come on.

cheri

Hm. Hmm.

john

I thought you had panache! [Cheri laughs.] I thought—I thought— [John and Lauren laugh.] Because Lauren is right! People are sprinkling ashes all over these parks. All the time. I thought, like you did, Lauren, that it—it—'cause I had heard tale of people, like, trying to spread the ashes of loved ones from a dune buggy in the Haunted Mansion. I had heard stories of this. And I had presumed like you, Lauren, that this was like, A, rare, and B, grounds for instant getting into Disney jail. And the latter is... true. That according to a Wall Street Journal article a couple of years ago, Disneyland and Disney World would like you to not do this. And if you were caught spreading cremains anywhere in the park, you would be escorted out of the park. You would not go to jail. But according to the same Wall Street Journal article, this happens all the time. [Laughs.] People don't get caught! It's very common. At Disney—among Disneyland and Disney World custodians, you got your "Code U." That's urine. Someone urinating. Gotta clean that up. "Code V," vomit. And then "Code HEPA," H-E-P-A, 'cause that's when they need to bring in a very fine-filtered vacuum cleaner to vacuum up human remains! Now, whether this is... ethical, whether this is... gross, whether this is kind to the poor Disney employees who have to clean up literally the junk of your body, these are topics for debate. But no one was coming into this talking about whether Lauren was gonna check into a Disneyland Resort—excuse me, a Disney World Resort hotel, like the Magic Castle in The Florida Project, and dump her—[laughs]—dump her mom into a motel bathroom. [One of the litigants stifles laughter.]

john

That—that's not what I thought we were talking about here. So right off the bat, I have a lot more questions about this scheme than I did before, Cookie. I'm sorry to say.

cheri

[Laughing] Okay.

jesse

Judge Hodgman, can I tell you about the time that my friend Jordan got ar—uh, Disneyland arrested?

john

Yeah, please.

jesse

He was in high school and was a very theatrical high schooler, you'll be shocked to learn. [John snorts.] This is my friend Jordan, co-host of my comedy podcast Jordan, Jesse, Go!

john

Yes, sir.

jesse

And he and his friends got into, you know, the normal theatrical high schooler things, stealing bowling shoes from the bowling alley and wearing them when you're not bowling. Um, and of course, carrying around bubble pipes. They were on I believe Pirates of the Caribbean, and they were carrying their bubble pipes together, and making extravagant gestures to each other.

john

Mm-hm.

jesse

As one does when one is with one's friends, carrying bubble pipes. When they got off the ride, the Disneyland security took them into Disneyland jail.

john

Yeah.

jesse

Because they said, "We saw you on the cameras doing drugs on Pirates of the Caribbean." [One of the litigants gasps.]

john

[Stifling laughter] Ohhh no! [Cheri laughs.]

lauren

Ohhh, that sounds like so much fun!

jesse

And while they were trying to explain—ultimately unsuccessfully—that they just had bubble pipes, the security guard asked, "How did you even get into the park today?"

john

Yeah.

jesse

And Jordan said, "Oh, well, we live in Mission Viejo, so we have an annual pass." And the security guard said, "That's an excellent way to enjoy the park." [John cracks up, the litigants laugh.]

john

Okay. So Cookie, now that we know—[sighs]. Alright. I—I—it's a—

jesse

Now that we have an idea of the stakes, Cookie— [Cheri laughs.]

john

Yeah. Now that we have the—well, there is no stakes in Cookie's—I mean, Cookie is just gonna ask Lauren to check into some seedy hotel room— [One of the litigants stifles laughter.] —and dump her mortal remains down a commode! And Lauren is now shaking her head again.

jesse

Can you even dump cremains down a commode? Are they fine enough?

john

Cookie, have you looked into this?

cheri

Um, no. I'm—I'm sure they are. I'm sure you can. [John snorts.] And you know, that's why I want it done—I don't want Lauren to get banned from Disney for life!

jesse

You just want her to get banned from the hotel for life.

cheri

[Laughs.] Oh!

jesse

She'll never get to ride the Monorail again!

cheri

[Laughs.] I hadn't really thought that through.

lauren

You just want me to be traumatized for the rest of my life. My motherless years!

jesse

Cookie, picture your daughter in tears, remembering her love for you. As she repeatedly works the lever on that toilet, trying to get— [Cheri and others laugh, Jesse stifles laughter.] —chunks of her mom to stay in the pipes!

cheri

[Laughs.] Oh, man. Wow. Hm.

john

Yeah. You better make sure that you will her a plunger, as well. Add a plunger in the will.

jesse

And a good one! The one that Wirecutter recommends.

john

That's right. So Lauren, I wanna talk to you about the trauma that you would feel. Obviously the loss of a parent is the—one of the hardest things one goes through. And you—when you envision yourself in a—even a nice hotel room—is there a particular room, Cookie, that you have in mind?

cheri

Yeah, something at the Yacht Club.

john

Yeah, but do you have a suite that you—oh, Lauren—Lauren, please—though I can see you in the Zoom stack, this is still a auditory medium. Can you explain the look of utter disgust on your face?

lauren

The Yacht Club is fine. We enjoy the Yacht Club. But if you're gonna do it—like, yeah, exactly, I thought you had panache, Cookie! Like, if—if it has to be hotel, what about the Polynesian? You know, there's—they actually have, like, Tiki-themed toilets! Like, at least— [John snorts, Cheri laughs.] I mean, I'm not gonna do it either way. [Jesse laughs.] But like, at least if—if I was going to do that, you would let me have some fun? You know, the Yacht Club? Come on.

john

Yeah, she wants to re-enact The Brady Bunch visiting Hawai'i in front of a Tiki-themed toilet, Cookie! How about that as an idea?

cheri

This is all part of the negotiations, and the compromise!

lauren

Okay.

cheri

Okay?

lauren

Okay.

crosstalk

John & Cheri: Alright. Lauren: I'm gonna calm down now.

lauren

Deep breath. [Cheri chuckles.]

john

I've been roped into your negotiations, I gather. Okay.

lauren

I just feel like if you don't care—you say you don't care, because it all goes to the same place. So I—why would it have to be the Yacht Club?

cheri

Doesn't!

lauren

That's all I'll say.

cheri

Doesn't. Doesn't.

lauren

Okay. Okay. We—

john

It's—what's interesting to me is that it doesn't feel like there's a particular special place. You could probably dump these ashes into some irrigation ditch outside of Disneyland, and eventually that would evaporate up, seed the clouds, and rain on the flowers that you love so very much. Right on Mickey's face, right there in front of the—in front of the train station! [Cheri and John laugh.]

lauren

Yeah, how about that, Mom?

cheri

All something to consider.

lauren

If I got arrested for dumping your ashes in the Jungle Cruise, it would be an honor. But I'm not—I don't want a toilet to be involved. Do you understand that that's what's bothering me? The toilet part? [Beat.]

cheri

Mm-hm. Mm-hm.

john

[Laughs.] So that is a vague "Mm-hm" of "I understand and acknowledge you're speaking." [Cheri laughs.] But is there anything in that "Mm-hm"s that suggest, like, "I get your point, and maybe I could consider something else," Cookie, or no? Do you still want that toilet?

cheri

Uh, I get her—I get—I guess I get her point, but it—I guess the point is, I don't get her point. 'Cause I don't get why it's such a big deal. I don't understand—[laughs]—I—[laughs]—I just don't!

lauren

Mom—

cheri

I'm—I'm sorry. I—I'm shocked, frankly, that this is an issue.

lauren

Mom, I have a question.

john

Well—

lauren

Oh.

john

Yes, go ahead. I'll allow it.

lauren

Thank you. Would you be able to flush my ashes down the toilet?

cheri

Sure!

john

Alright. Asked and answered. Now... [One or both litigants laugh quietly.] Lauren, people are—different people are different.

jesse

"Heck, I'll flush you down the toilet right now!" [Cheri and John laugh.]

crosstalk

Lauren: Okay. John: Different people are different people, Lauren.

john

They have different feelings. Right? So—

lauren

[Sighing] I—

john

—try to describe to your mom how you would feel, standing over a non–Tiki-themed toilet, dumping your mom's ashes, and flushing it down.

lauren

I mean, it sound—this sounds all very silly. But it's not! I—my mom is—Mom, I love you more than any—any—you're my best friend! You know this. We go to Disney World four times a year! Like, we do—Disney is our place!

john

Please—please address the bench, and not the witness, counselor.

lauren

Oh. [Clears throat.]

john

Because also, I thought we were best friends. But now I know.

lauren

Oh, I'm sorry. [Cheri chuckles.] You know, my mom is... everything to me. I—I will be a shell of a person if my mom passes before I do, and I can't imagine anything more disrespectful. Like, that's, like, to me, a heinous thing to do! Flushing—like, you flush bad things down the toilet! Can we please agree, Mom? We usually flush—usually—flush bad things down the toilet. And you are my favorite thing! And I would love for you to deliver your ashes to flowers in Disney World. I totally get it. But I can't do it! I—but I also want to honor your wishes. I want you to be—uh, have a good plan. But I'm not gonna do it.

john

You wanna honor her wishes, you just want different wishes.

lauren

Exactly.

john

How does it make you feel when you hear Lauren put it that way, Cookie? Any different?

cheri

Well, of course. Of course it does. You know... I just did not understand—I think all these years, she thought it was a joke, I was joking, and I wasn't. [Laughs.] And so now we just come to this point where it's, "Oh." We didn't—we really didn't understand how the other... was feeling. [Laughing] I wasn't joking!

lauren

Well—she's—she's been saying this since I was like fifteen. [Cheri laughs.]

john

Right.

lauren

And when I was fifteen, you know, I was fifteen! Like, I'm not thinking about that. And I always thought she was joking—

john

No. When you're 15, everyone's immortal.

lauren

Exactly!

john

Moms and dads live forever, and then you will outlive them somehow, paradoxically, at the same time.

lauren

Right!

john

Right.

lauren

And when you're 15, your mom takes care of everything. So she's probably gonna take care of her own ashes situation. And... then it was not that long ago—it was like a year ago—I overheard her in a group of people saying, "Oh, no, no. Lauren's got it covered. Lauren's put—flushing my ashes down the toilet." [John laughs.] And that's when I realized, "Ohhh, wait. This is not a joke."

john

I'm sorry to laugh.

lauren

"She's—really thinks that I'm doing this." And that's when I said, "Whoa, whoa, whoa. We need—I thought we were joking all these years. I—do you really think that?"

john

Right.

lauren

And that's when this whole thing came up again.

jesse

Let's take a quick recess. We'll be back in just a moment on the Judge John Hodgman podcast.

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[Three gavel bangs.]

promo

Music: Cheerful music plays. Dave Holmes: Are you feeling elevated levels of anxiety? [Ding!] Dave: Do you quake uncontrollably even thinking about watching cable news? [Ding!] Dave: Do you have disturbing nightmares, only to realize it's two in the afternoon and you're up? [Ding! Ding! Ding!] Dave: If you've experienced one or more of these symptoms, you may have FNO: [Censor bleep] News Overload! Fortunately, there's treatment. [Music changes, becomes more intense.] Dave: Hi. I'm Dave Holmes, host of Troubled Waters. Troubled Waters helps fight FNO. That's because Troubled Waters stimulates your joy zone. On Troubled Waters, two comedians will battle one another for pop culture supremacy. So join me, Dave Holmes, for two—two—two doses of Troubled Waters a month. The cure for your [Censor bleep] News Overload. Available on MaximumFun.org, or wherever you get your podcasts. [Music fades out.]

sound effect

[Three gavel bangs.]

jesse

Court is back in session! Let's return to the courtroom to hear more of the case.

john

So Lauren, you sent in some photographic evidence. All these photos will be available on the Judge John Hodgman show page at MaximumFun.org, where you can—which you can navigate to and enjoy these photos, and also perhaps discover some other Maximum Fun podcasts you haven't been listening to. Or check out some old favorites. The photos will also be available, of course, on our Instagram at @judgejohnhodgman on Instagram. And I'm just gonna say, Lauren—you sent in a few photos, I'm gonna—I'm gonna describe them briefly. But, you know, lots of times people send in a lot of photos. And they're boring, and they illustrate nothing. And... what you have done with these captions is tell a story. I'm just gonna say right now, if this were Who Writes the Best Photo Captions?, uh, the sound of a gavel would go to you, Lauren. Incredible. [One of the litigants gasps.]

sound effect

[Three gavel bangs.]

john

Lauren's exhibit A is a picture of her mom and her self at the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival, [laughs] caption—and I don't know what this is, but you got some, like, weird green Chip and Dale monsters behind you. [One or both litigants laugh.] "Look how easily," she says, "I could just secretly put some ashes right on the flowers!" That's right! Exhibit B—

jesse

It really is—like, for the— [John laughs.] Wait. Hold on. John? I need to address this first picture.

john

Yeah.

jesse

It really is a picture of them standing in front of a field of flowers, with giant green Chip and Dales, who look to be about to eat an enormous sandwich?

lauren

[Laughing] Yeah, isn't it great? [Cheri laughs.]

jesse

Disney World is something else, man. [Cheri laughs.]

lauren

I know!

jesse

That's what I have to say about Disney World. It's something else.

john

So exhibit B, this is incredible also. [Jesse laughs.] Uh, this is a picture—[laughs].

jesse

[Stifling laughter] Yeah, it is...

john

This is a picture that I presume Lauren took of her mother, Cookie. Cookie is wearing fairy wings, I think accessorizing a Tinker Bell outfit. [Stifles laughter.] She's pouring a nip bottle of—[laughs]—I don't know whether that's vodka, or what it is, Cookie.

cheri

Vodka.

john

In—vodka—into her—[laughs]

cheri

Dole Whip!

john

Into her Dole Whip!

cheri

[Laughing] Yes!

john

Ohhh my word!

cheri

Yep!

john

How did I never think of that? Anyway—[stifles laughter]—this is—this—the caption is, "My mom sneaking alcohol into her nonalcoholic drink in the Magic Kingdom, evidence that she is—that this—this is illegal, and therefore this is evidence that she is irresponsible and a risk-taker!" Exhibit C. "My mom and I in front of the Partners statue." So both Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom and Disneyland feature a statue right in front of their respective castles, of Walt Disney holding Mickey Mouse's hand, and it's called Partners. And this is an exhibit—[laughs]—this is a picture—

jesse

This is an—this is Disney's tribute to copyright law. [John and the litigants laugh.]

john

But here we have you, Cookie and Lauren, replicating this pose, with you as Walt Disney, pointing to the future. [One of the litigants laughs, John stifles laughter.] And Lauren on her knees, in order to capture the mouselike—well, not true mouselike stature, like mutant mouselike stature—of Mickey Mouse. And the caption is, "My mom and I in front of the Partners statue." And then in capital letters, "BECAUSE WE ARE PARTNERS! TWO OF US TOGETHER AGAINST THE WORLD ALWAYS! We are teammates, we think about each other always! We consider the thoughts of the other person. We are a team!" Which is quite an emotional caption. There's part of me that wants to say to you, Lauren, "Um, this is a Wendy's." [Jesse laughs.] What is the—[laughs]—what are you trying to convey in this particular exhibit C, you and mom as eternal partners? That is germane to this point. To this case.

lauren

Well—I mean, I didn't know that you'd be reading my captions. [Cheri laughs.] So I would've—I feel like they're a little off the rails, perhaps, but, um... you know... we're—we are part—we do everything together! We—my entire life, my mom has been my everything! And I just feel like we can't, in her final moments, like, be at a bad place where we're not agreeing. You know, like, we tackle everything together. Mom, you've been there for me, and I've been there for you. And in this final moment, I think it should be on something that we are both okay with! [Stifles laughter.] Like, and I'm not okay with flushing your ashes down the toilet.

john

The point has been made. And as far as—as far as these captions are concerned, you wrote them. Now—

lauren

I did write them.

john

Producer Jennifer Marmor, [stifles laughter] was Lauren Mirandized before she entered this courtroom? Did she not know? That anything she might say or caption could be used against her in this court of fake law?

jennifer

Yeah, I guess not. [Cheri laughs.]

john

Hm, well... Then I guess I move for dismissal. Immediate dismissal.

sound effect

[Three gavel bangs.]

john

Figure this out yourself. No way I'm not gonna read these captions! They're—you know, what you're saying in here is important to this case! That you consider your mom a team. And you obviously spend a lot of time—the next exhibit, exhibit D, "Mom and I in our happy place." It's you and your mom in Walt Disney World. [Stifles laughter.] The caption is a message to your mom! It says, "Mom and I in our happy place. Mom, please don't ruin this for me." [The litigants laugh.] You seem to have forgotten that you were writing to my courtroom, as opposed to your mom. [The litigants laugh.]

lauren

Yeah, you're right.

john

Exhibit E: "Me winning the Disney Princess Half Marathon, in a Tinker Bell costume"?! What?! "To show you..." Which could mean to show me, or "you, Mom." I'm not sure who she's talking to at this point. "To show how magical Disney is to me." This is Lauren speaking. "And how flushing my mom down the toilet would send me into intense therapy for decades." You ran a half marathon in Disney World?! What?!

cheri

And she won! [Pause.]

john

Lauren. Tell me about this. Tell me about this half marathon. Does it happen on the grounds of Disney World?

lauren

Yeah! It goes through, like, all the parks. And you can stop and take pictures with the characters if you want, but I wanted to win, so I didn't. [John laughs.] But I won! And it's—it was the—I mean, I've had some okay moments in my life, but that was the best moment of my life.

john

This is an incredible photo. Of you in a Tinker Bell costume, smashing through this tape.

cheri

[Laughs.] She beat 35,000 other people. It's the Disney Princess Half Marathon.

john

Yeah! 'Cause all those losers were stopping to get their picture taken with WALL-E and junk.

lauren

Exactly. _[_Cheri and Jesse laughs.]

john

They weren't in it to win it. And now, just very quickly, exhibit F. Submitted by Lauren. A stock image of a toilet, is exactly as described. [John and the litigants laugh.] It's just—it looks like a MAD Magazine picture of a gross toilet, as though we don't know what a toilet is.

lauren

Right.

john

And exhibit G; this is— [Jesse laughs, John stifles laughter.] —this is your pandering, obviously. There's a cat in the picture, right, Jesse? [Jesse growls and barks.] [Jesse, John, and one or both litigants laugh.] This is Lauren and her cat Monty. How would you describe Monty in this photo?

jesse

Well, he's making—he's upside-down. [Laughs quietly.] And he's making the classic, "Rrruff! Ruff! Ruff!" face. [Jesse, John, and one or both litigants laugh.]

john

Lauren writes—[stifles laughter]. I'm—for some reason, I just love this—

jesse

Can cats be Draculas? [A litigant stifles laughter.]

john

Ohhh. That's a good question!

jesse

Sorry to turn this serious, but... [Lauren laughs.]

john

Well, I mean, Draculas surely can turn into cats just as they can turn into bats. They are all creatures of the night.

jesse

'Cause look at the fangs on this son of a gun.

john

But are you—like, can you say—are you saying, "Can a Dracula cat bite another cat and turn it to a Dracula cat?"

jesse

What if a Dracula cat can bite a man, and turn it into a Dracula cat? That's what I'm concerned about. I'm a man, not a cat. And I choose to remain that way. [Everyone else laughs.]

john

A human man, a non-Drac?

jesse

Yeah.

john

That's your preference?

jesse

Standard issue.

john

Stay away from Monty the cat, then, 'cause Monty's got some fangs. [Inaudible]

jesse

[Sighs.] Sorry I laughed earlier.

john

[Laughs.] Well, I'm sorry you're terrorized once again of Draculas, your immortal enemies.

jesse

You know, I just don't want people to think that I don't take Draculas seriously.

john

Yeah, no, it's no laughing matter, everybody. Draculas... are bad. Right, Jesse?

jesse

This time of year and every time of year.

john

That's right, especially October. This is Drac season.

jesse

Yeah. But you know, it doesn't have to be Drac season for Draculas to have any job. [John snorts, Lauren laughs.]

john

They can just take any job they want! They can apply for it, and if they've got the resume, they get the job! You know what I mean?

jesse

Yeah, they could even fake the resume. A lot of Draculas are on LinkedIn. [Lauren laughs.] I would recommend if you're on LinkedIn—the popular, uh, professional social media website—watch out for anyone. No matter—they could have gone to the University of Pennsylvania.

john

Sure.

jesse

They could have gone to Dartmouth.

john

[Snorts.] Aw. That's close.

jesse

Watch out if they have endorsement for transmogrification. [John and Cheri laugh.]

john

If that's on their, uh—on their CV?

jesse

On their LinkedIn.

john

On their LinkedIn? Yeah. That's how—that's a telltale sign. Look, I just gotta read this one line that Lauren wrote about this cat Monty. [Laughs.] 'Cause for some reason I found it really funny. Uh—[laughs]— "Pic of me and my cat Monty, just so John and Jesse know I have a cute cat. (Monty is in food coma, I just gave him a lot of crab.)" [Jesse and the litigants laugh.] Meanwhile, Cookie just sends in two photos. Uh, one of her as a young mother, carrying Lauren around on her back, looking cute. The other of her as a young mother, uh, on a picnic or something with Lauren as a toddler or something. Looking cute, both of them. Caption—[laughs]. "I've been a spectacular mother, and she owes me." [Everyone laughs.] Which is essentially your—that is your argument, right, Cookie?

cheri

Pretty much, yeah! [Laughs.] I guess!

john

That these are your dying wishes, to be flushed down a toilet at a Disney World–adjacent resort, and Lauren should just suck it up and do it, even though... it would cause her emotional harm. And you know this. It'll cause her emotional harm.

cheri

For 20 years, I assumed she was cool with it, so... I'm just now coming to the realization—

lauren

I didn't sign anything! I—I— [Cheri laughs, Lauren sighs.] I can't believe—she's usually such a, like, loving, caring person. It's like a new side of you! I've— [The litigants laugh.] Who are you?!

john

But she's unsentimental about her own death!

cheri

True. Yes.

john

Look, a lot of these photos are from Disney World. It's obviously an important part of your life. [Sighs.] Cookie, can you think... Lauren has expressed that she would be more amenable to helping your cremains reach their final destination—flowers, pretty flowers—if the job was less toilet-intensive, A. And maybe a little bit more... symbolic, to the point of quasi-legal.

cheri

Yes. Of course. Yes.

john

So do you think that there is a place that—I mean, at this point you're not gonna be around. Right?

cheri

Right.

john

So really, Lauren can do whatever she wants. [Laughs.] Sorry.

cheri

[Laughing] No, of course! No! [Lauren laughs.] I—[laughs]—I'm surprised she hasn't thought of that! I'm—[laughs]. Like, "Okay, Mom. Whatever you say!"

john

Unless you got some kind of kooky horror movie will, where if she doesn't do exactly what you want, she's—you're gonna withhold the Barbie_Snack fortune back from her.

cheri

[Laughing] Right!

lauren

If hauntings are a real thing, my mom would haunt me. And I love you, Mom! I want your wishes to come true. But we need to talk about those wishes. [John starts wordlessly singing "A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes", as Lauren keeps talking.] [Stifling laughter] I want—I want you to be happy with your death plan. [Cheri laughs.]

john

[Stops singing.] I'm sorry, you said "wishes"! I had to risk the wrath of Disney. I mean, Lauren, what are some alternatives that you would feel more comfortable with? Either in or not in the grounds of Disney World.

lauren

Well, I think the Jungle Cruise would be a great option. Um, because that's a ride that we love! Um, and it's—I—it—

john

You've been pushing that Jungle Cruise so hard from the beginning. [Cheri laughs.]

lauren

I—can you tell? Can you tell that I'm a fan?

john

I know, but this is not—Cookie, Jungle Cruise, yes or no? This is not a final ruling. I just want a thumbs up or a thumbs down on whether this is even acceptable to you, Cookie.

cheri

Well, it is, but I really think she'd get caught doing that.

lauren

Yeah, that seems risky. What about directly onto the plants at the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival in May? Because we—

john

I'm just gonna rule that right out. I don't want—I don't want Cookie's ashes anywhere near the creepy green Chip and Dale. [The litigants laugh.]

jesse

Yeah, much less that enormous sandwich.

lauren

I have one more.

john

Please.

lauren

What about—this is a little not what you want, but I'm just throwing it out there. You know. Um, what about in that little, like, fountain, like the Cinderella fountain behind Fantasyland? Do you know what I'm talking about, Mom?

cheri

Yeah, but you're—you're gonna so get caught there. You're gonna—I—I really don't—I don't want you getting banned for life from Disney.

john

She's not gonna get banned for life, she'll just be asked to leave the park!

lauren

They'll ask me to leave. And I'm okay with that! Is—is—I am! I—if it's a cool enough idea.

john

Are you talking about the wishing well?

cheri

Oh.

lauren

Yeah. Yeah, is that what it's called? Yeah, yeah, yeah.

cheri

Yeah. Mm-hm.

john

In Disneyland, there's a Snow White wishing well off to the side of the—of Sleeping Beauty's Castle. But I don't know what it is in Disney World.

cheri

I think it's Cinderella.

lauren

Yeah. And I think it's like—um, behind her there's a crown? But it's way above her head.

john

I don't know. I don't know anything about this. Just—

lauren

Okay. Never mind. It's—

john

It's just a—it's a well. It's a well.

lauren

It's a well.

cheri

Right. Right, right, right. Mm-hm. There are—I see there are alternatives.

john

So I am now going to go into my own perfect replica of the original layout of Club 33 at Disneyland. That I have here in my chambers. Where I can eat alone. [Gloomily] I'm the only member. [Cheri laughs.] And I'll consider my verdict, and I'll be back in a moment with my decision.

sound effect

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

jesse

Please rise as Judge John Hodgman exits the courtroom.

sound effect

[Door shuts.]

jesse

Cookie, how are you feeling about, uh, your odds of getting flushed?

cheri

Not great. [Laughs.]

jesse

It's a pretty weird request! [Stifling laughter] You gotta be frank about these things!

cheri

I'm also feeling a little... dumb. [Laughs.] For thinking that every—anybody would agree with me, but I don't know. We'll see!

lauren

Yeah.

jesse

It's good of you to have a plan. My—my dad didn't have a plan. I had to have a weird conversation with my stepmother, where we were like, "Can you think of anywhere my dad would have—uh, your father would have liked to have been scattered?" [One or both litigants laugh quietly.] "Uh, 'cause all I can come up with is maybe the reservoir, and that doesn't seem right." [Cheri laughs, Jesse stifles laughter.]

lauren

Jesse, would you have preferred, like, a bad plan, or no plan?

jesse

Well, what if he'd told me he wanted to be scattered on Tom Sawyer Island at Disneyland at—he was kicked out of Disneyland when he was 13!

lauren

Wow... That would be good.

jesse

Yeah, that's right. My father was kicked out of Disneyland the year it opened. He's an OG! [Cheri laughs.]

lauren

Wow! Oh my gosh!

cheri

[Laughing] Oh my god.

jesse

Lauren, how are you feeling about your chances?

lauren

I'm feeling great. I just think— [Jesse laughs.] Case... Case closed. [Jesse and Cheri laugh.] I'm sure all the listeners are on my side. I...

jesse

Lauren—as long as I'm being frank, Lauren, I have to say that when you said you were feeling great, it sounded like you were saying you were feeling great because you were four vodka Dole Whips in.

lauren

Oh. [The litigants laugh.] Well, of course! Always.

jesse

[Slurring] "I'm—I'm feeling great."

lauren

[Slurring] "I'm feeling great."

jesse

[Slurring] "I'm not doing that toilet thing at all!" [The litigants laugh.] [Slurring stops.]

cheri

Ohhh, dear.

jesse

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.]

jesse

Judge John Hodgman, we're taking a break from the case. Let's get into chambers. What have you got going on?

john

Well, Jesse, of course, Medallion Status: True Stories from Secret Rooms is now available in paperback wherever books are sold or loaned. And as well, I am working very hard to keep my promise of staying engaged in the election. Phone banking and text banking with our friends Zach and Kelsey, and their various phone banks, as well as all the other great volunteers and voters that I've been able to contact. I encourage you to do the same, to get involved by going to Bit.ly/howtocallstrangers—that's all one word, all small letters—to get some training on how to phone bank. Or go to Bit.ly/howtotextwithstrangers—all one word, all small letters—to learn about text banking, which is a lot of fun. You could do both. But you don't wanna wake up after the election feeling you didn't do everything you could, I think. But listen. What I really wanna focus on today is that I have some news. Breaking news. As of today, I have learned... Dicktown has not been canceled. That's right. David Rees and I, as you may know, made an animated comedy. And I'm gonna tell you the name of the comedy, 'cause I can't afford to be coy anymore. This is important. The show is called Dicktown. It is about a character very much like me, named John Hunchman, who used to be a prodigal boy detective in this town Richardsville, AKA Dicktown, solving crimes for all his little friends. But now he's a grown-up, sad, middle-aged man, who still lives in Dicktown, and is still solving mysteries for teenagers.

john

And David Rees plays David Purefoy, my former bully and arch-nemesis in high school, who is now my driver and my only unlikely friend. And we loved making the show. All ten episodes are available now on Hulu at Bit.ly/dicktown. Don't write it down yet; I'm gonna tell it to you again. And we didn't know if we were ever gonna get to make more of them. And we were starting to be concerned that maybe this was all that we could do of Dicktown. And we were starting to feel concerned that maybe we wouldn't have that chance. But we've just had word from our friends and champions at the network, that, um, it's possible that we could be asked to do more! And we would love to do that! But part of the decision-making process are the numbers on Hulu, and seeing how many people are watching it on Hulu. And they're looking at those numbers for now. For this week. For October. So... I don't love to come out here and—and try to activate my audience to do one particular thing. I like to say a few things that I'm doing, and calmly walk away. "I'll just leave this here, and maybe you'll check it out, and maybe you won't." We've all—I don't wanna give you any extra homework. We've all got too much homework these days.

john

But Dicktown is something that David and I made that we really, absolutely love. A lot of Judge John Hodgman listeners have been watching it and talking about it on social media. It's really helped us get to this point. I would love for you to see it, if you haven't. And if you have seen it, I would love for you to tell a friend about it. Online, or in your life. And spread the word. We made a television show. And we decided to call it Dicktown. And all ten episodes, each of them only 11 minutes long—I mean, it just buzzes right by—are available now on Hulu, at Bit.ly/dicktown. Bit.ly/dicktown. Kids! If your parents are driving while listening to this, write it down for them! Bit.ly/dicktown. It'll take you to Hulu. If you don't have a Hulu subscription, you can start a free trial and watch all of them of a Saturday morning. The whole run is the length of a movie. A short movie! Bit.ly/dicktown. That's "dicktown", D-I-C-K-T-O-W-N, all small letters, all one word. Or Bit.ly/Dicktown, capital D, I-C-K-T-O-W-N. Yeah! I made another Bitly with a capital D. 'Cause that was just happening all the time anyway.

john

Spell it however you like! Just spell it "dicktown." That's the name of the show. Jesse, what's going on with you?

jesse

Just the usual, dude! Kicking back, hosting some podcasts. I got a NPR interview show called Bullseye. We've had some really wonderful guests on that program.

john

Yeah!

jesse

And I still do the comedy show Jordan, Jesse, Go! with my friend Jordan who got kicked outta Disneyland for being too much of a drama dork.

john

Not just kicked out! Sent to Disney Jail!

jesse

Yeah.

john

One of my great aspirations! Except I'm too much of a good boy to do it.

jesse

I mean, the good news is, you get kicked all the way out of Disneyland, you can head over to the Irvine Spectrum! Check out that store that only sells things that glow in the dark!

john

That is a theme park unto itself.

jesse

Yeah! [Laughs.] Let's get back to the case.

john

Hey, Jesse, before we get back to the case?

jesse

Yes.

john

I'm here to make you a solemn promise, Jesse Thorn.

jesse

What's that?

john

You ready for this promise?

jesse

Ready as I'll ever be.

john

Now, I know for a long time you've wanted to voice a character in a very popular cartoon show called Archer.

jesse

Yeah, it's my favorite TV show.

john

I can't make that happen for you.

jesse

No.

john

But I'll tell you what.

jesse

Hm?

john

If we get to make more episodes of Dicktown

jesse

Yeah?

john

—through people watching Bit.ly/dicktown...

jesse

Mm-hm.

john

...we will cast you in a voice role in that show.

jesse

Yesssss!

john

You will be paid. [Stifles laughter.] It will be a good role. And everyone will love it.

jesse

It'll be my first IMDb credit since History Channel's Christmas Through the Decades, 2017. [Both laugh.]

john

And it only happens if you visit Dicktown! Bit.ly/dicktown! Thank you very much. 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 and presents his verdict.

sound effect

[Door shuts.]

john

Jesse, how did—what—how did your dad get kicked off of Tom Sawyer Island?

jesse

[Bleep]-ing around! [John and the litigants laugh.]

john

So this is a difficult one. 'Cause you know, I—it's—it is obviously emotionally... heavy. Even though it has a sheen of Disney magic over it. And also, it's about respecting someone's final wishes, which is really important. I mean, you know, the thing about those images that you sent in, they really did tell a story. The captions were great, too. But when—[laughs]—when your captions lost track of whom they were addressing, to me, that was—that was like, "Oh, this is turn—this has become literature." [John and the litigants laugh.] When the—when, you know—when you have that photo of you and your mom together, holding hands like Walt and Mickey in front of the Partners statue, and it's, "Partners forever! We were supposed to be partners forever!" there is a great sadness to that, of course. Because Walt and Mickey can be partners forever, 'cause Mickey is a fictional character, and Walt is frozen inside of that statue. We all know that. [One of the litigants laughs.] But for normal people, even the close bond between parent and child—the very close bond that, by the way, is always meaningful, but so rare and happy when clearly that bond of love and friendship can extend in an active way well into adulthood, such that you guys are going to the park four times a year or whatever it is, and having a great time together. That's amazing.

john

And it is very sad to contemplate that coming to an end, and when you're 15, and your mom's saying, "I'm gonna flush my ashes down a toilet somewhere. I don't care." Neither—then you don't care either, Lauren, 'cause as you pointed out, it's like, everyone is immortal at that point. None of—nothing is ever going to change. But now... I have—I have your ages written here. I'm not going to reveal them. That'd be rude. But you are a—an adult, Lauren, and you are—both you and your mom are contemplating a period of time when you will not be partners on this mortal coil anymore. And that's a hard thing to absorb. It's a hard thing to take in. And it's hard! You know, to make—for your mom, too! For Cookie to start thinking about making plans for what's gonna be done. What's important for her to be done with what is left of her body on this Earth. And I think one thing about Cookie's request to be flushed down a toilet in a hotel, while on its face seems... sad and miserable, and frankly unimaginative, given all of the places that we brainstormed a body could be scattered in the Magic Kingdom... it is actually considerate of a lot of different feelings. It is considerate in the sense that dropping cremains around Walt Disney World is work you're leaving behind for others. It is not fair to ask custodians to go "Code HEPA" and get out the special body vacuum, because you thought it was important—[stifles laughter]—to make sure that your ashes were in dune buggy number nine.

john

[One or both litigants chuckle.] Or whatever. You know? It's actually considerate of the fact, A, that other people have to clean up this stuff, and B, considerate in a hard way of the reality that... life ends. Flushing a life down a toilet does feel, to a certain degree, disrespectful. Right? But in fact, it is respecting the reality that is hard for adult children to take in and absorb over time, which is that everything that is your mom, or your dad, or the person who raised you if they're not your mom and dad—that everything that you remember about them goes away. And their body is nothing. Sorry, guys. Flush it. [Laughs quietly.] Flush it down the toilet. You know what your mom, Cookie, is presenting, is an idea for getting rid of her cremains in a way that leaves little mess behind for others, and yet mingles symbolically with the waters that maybe will go over to irrigate her favorite flower bed next to creepy Chip and Dale, who look like weird zombies. Green zombies. I get what you're doing, Cookie. I made some light of it, but I—I get it.

cheri

Thank you.

john

But as considerate as you are, I think you have come to understand the one person's feelings you are not being particularly considerate about, which is Lauren's. That it would just cause her trauma to flush the ashes of her mom down the toilet. There will be enough, as Lauren pointed out, that she will be going through. Enough sadness that she will be going through. That to add the—[laughs]—the dark symbolism of flushing you down the toilet—especially at the Yacht Club, which sounds... terrible. [Laughs.]

lauren

Please. [Cheri laughs.]

jesse

Yeah, my stepmother and I finally decided to flush my dad down the toilet at the Catalina Wine Mixer. [John and the litigants laugh.]

john

I also—[laughs]—I also... I also am not convinced—and we have a MaxFun supporter who actually runs a funeral home, and we probably should have consulted him first—but I'm not convinced those cremains will go down. [Stifles laughter.]

cheri

Hm.

john

I mean, that might—you might end up causing a problem that you're trying to avoid.

cheri

Yeah, I don't wanna do that.

jesse

Anyone who has ever had to go down to the front desk for a plunger... [The litigants laugh, Jesse stifles laughter.] ...knows the pain.

john

So here's what I would like to order. 'Cause the solution is so obvious. It's a way of honoring your mom's life, your entwined life at Disney World, your mom's desire to become one with the flora of Disney World, while at the same time offering you, Lauren, the symbolic—I'll say "spectacle"—that your mom, having lived a great life, and having run a great Instagram page—two important things—deserves. And that would be for you to get that Tinker Bell costume out again. Run that half marathon. Mix up your mom's ashes with a bunch of glitter. _[_One of the litigants gasps.] Put it into a little bag. And as you're running, cast Mommy Fairy Dust over everyone in the crowd.

lauren

I love it! [Laughs.] I—

john

Great idea, right? You must not do that. [Laughs.] [One of the litigants gasps, then laughs.] Not allowed to.

lauren

Wait—!

john

We thought of it, it was fun.

lauren

I love it!

john

[Continuing the list] It's a biohazard. [John and Cheri laugh.] No one wants your mom's ashes thrown in their faces, even with glitter.

crosstalk

Cheri: Nope, we're doing it! Nope, sorry! Lauren: Oh, it's too late! You've already said it! John: No, no, I order you to not do it. Lauren: Ope, Mom and I are done with the show! [Cheri laughs.]

lauren

Mom, you can hang up now. We came up with a solution. [Laughs.]

john

For the record, I am ordering you to not do that great idea.

lauren

[Sighs.] Okay.

john

But... that wishing well... I think that might just thread the needle. People are allowed to throw thing into that wishing well. In Disneyland, it's Snow White. I don't know what it is in Disney World, but I believe that it's there. I don't think you're lying to me. Honoring your mom's wishes of joining—um, mingling with the waters of Disney World, while also being symbolically appropriate, while also minimizing biohazard threat to people who just are—have a job... [One or both litigants laugh.] I would take not all of your mom's ashes, but a small amount. Let's say a tablespoon. Maybe two tablespoons. And put that in a pouch, with a bunch of brand new pennies. If you can get 'em, in this economy. Mix 'em up, and throw the pennies in the water. You won't get caught. The ashes will go with. And then what you do with the—the balance of your mom's ashes? Dispose of them in some responsible way that—you know, in discussion with your, um, funeral director, whoever is helping you with these final preparations. Maybe you can keep 'em and put 'em in a statue of Captain Hook in your garage or something, I don't know. But just a small amount into that wishing well with brand new pennies, or—ooh, oh—what about pennies from the year your mom was born? [One of the litigants gasps.] Killing it over here. Pretty good.

crosstalk

Cheri & Lauren: Mm.

lauren

I feel like—I feel like I'm gonna cry! I like it!

john

Yeah.

cheri

I—I love it. That's probably it.

jesse

Lauren, it's time for a classic bailiff's verdict. [John stifles laughter.] I say you start by getting yourself a T-shirt cannon. [John and Cheri laugh.]

lauren

[Thoughtfully] Ohhh...

john

And then you know what, Lauren? You keep another tablespoon of ashes, and on the year anniversary—let's say five-year anniversary of your mom's death, check into the Polynesian, just flush that down the toilet. Just in honor of Judge John Hodgman. This is the sound of—by then you'll feel okay about it. [Lauren laughs quietly.] This is the sound of a gavel.

sound effect

[Harp music plays over nature sounds. A frog croaks.]

john

Judge John Hodgman rules; that is all.

sound effect

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

jesse

Please rise as Judge John Hodgman exits the courtroom.

sound effect

[Door shuts.]

jesse

Cookie, how do you feel?

cheri

I feel wonderful. I think that was genius, and I think he solved our problem, and... I love it. I'm very happy right now.

jesse

Lauren, how about you?

lauren

I feel—[stifles laughter] thank you, for the thoughtful solution! I really like it! I—it makes me really emotional thinking about it, but in a really good way, and I like it.

jesse

You're talking about the T-shirt cannon thing? [Cheri laughs.]

lauren

Yeah, exactly. [The litigants laugh.] Cheers.

jesse

Lauren, Cookie, thanks for joining us on the Judge John Hodgman podcast.

sound effect

[Three gavel bangs.]

jesse

Another Judge John Hodgman case in the books. In a moment, we'll have some Swift Justice. First, our thanks to Chris Nuber for naming this week's episode, "Mr. Commode's Wild Ride." You can name a future episode; just like Judge John Hodgman on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter at @JesseThorn and @hodgman. Hashtag your Judge John Hodgman Tweets #JJHo, and check out the Maximum Fun subreddit—that's at MaximumFun.Reddit.com—if you wanna chat about the episode. We're on Instagram at @judgejohnhodgman, where you can decide for yourself whether that cat's a vampire. [John snorts.] Make sure to follow us there for evidence and other fun stuff. Judge John Hodgman is produced by Jennifer Marmor. Now, Swift Justice! Where we answer small disputes with quick judgment. Ji Hao says: "My wife says birthday cake is its own flavor and type of cake. I say whatever cake you have on your birthday is a birthday cake. Who's right?"

john

Well—[sighs]. If there weren't a birthday cake flavor, there wouldn't be a birthday cake flavor ice cream. Right?

jesse

That's true.

john

I mean, there is—there is a classic birthday cake flavor. That is replicated with birthday cake and/or sprinkle cake ice cream. And therefore I'm gonna say... you can have any kind of cake as your birthday cake, but if you say "birthday cake" in my house, uh, you're talking about a Philadelphia cheesesteak sandwich. [Jesse laughs.] With onions. [Laughs.]

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. Our apologies this week to my neighbor Stephanie. We'll talk to you next time on the Judge John Hodgman podcast.

sound effect

[Three gavel bangs.]

music

A cheerful ukulele chord.

speaker 1

MaximumFun.org.

speaker 2

Comedy and culture.

speaker 3

Artist owned—

speaker 4

—audience supported.

About the show

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