THE MEN’S FASHION CONSCIOUS AWARD (a well-worn Carhartt ball-cap, donated by The Major) goes to Patrick Kingsley of the Office of the Public Defender. He is so self-conscious about having to wear a suit in court, that he actually smuggles it from his car to his office in a black plastic garbage bag, so that he may never be seen on the streets wearing a suit and tie. We often hear the tee-shirt and ball-cap brigade pitch a bitch about how pretentious people are who wear formal clothing to work, dismissing them as “fashion conscious,” but it really is quite the other way around. If you think about it: Carhartt is currently the most coveted brand in men’s clothing, not Banana Republic. Go to your favorite charity shop and just try to find a Carhartt coat, even an old worn-out one. On the other hand, I got a brand new Banana Republic blazer the other day for $5 at the Hospice Store. Mr. Kingsley wouldn’t be caught dead in it!
THE WOMEN’S FASHION CONSCIOUS AWARD goes to Superior Court Clerk Julie Lyly, who dresses with such curious study and lavish accessories that a stunned hush sometimes follows her as she walks through the crowded mezzanine and all the excited chatter ceases as people pause to watch her pass. To Ms. Lyly we would like to award a Royal Blue Satin Shoulder Sash Ribbon Embroidered With Lilies, just to see what she came up with to wear it with…
THE SPEAKING UP TO POWER AWARD (A five-foot pennant of rippling purple ribbon tapered to a swallow-tail) goes to Angelina Potter, a local private attorney, who was declaiming in the Halls of Justice about the ubiquitous unfairness of big tall men going around enjoying all the advantages over the rest of us. (Ms. Potter is what I believe is called a petite size). Ms. Potter was cataloguing such masculine traits as gray hair at the temples of men, like grace notes in music, and using their beards and mustaches to impress and oppress women and children, pointing out all the advantages men, and especially big men have, and the things big men use (like the bumptious beer-belly) to “throw their weight around” — by which she explained that down through western culture we are all still governed by our physical stature, wherein men have all the Aces, such Medieval morés as should have gone out of vogue with Le Mort D’Arthur – and (speak of the Devil) at just that moment a great big bear of a man with a full beard, burst into the hall from a nearby courtroom, and sauntered into our midst, his fabulous girth, clad in oxford broadcloth and copious facial hair, causing us to make room, and form a crescent, a kind of amphitheater around him. An alpha male of the species, made to order, well over six-two and at a trim 280, just the man for the job: Daniel Moss of the Office of the Public Defender. When apprised of what Ms. Potter was lecturing on, what we were talking about, that is, Mr. Moss earned some credit for his kind by admitting outright he’d probably been unconscious of all the advantages that his size, pelt and gender had afforded him over the course of his life; but that he was certainly cognizant of how his career benefited from it, and fully appreciated the way he was received by jurors, for example. We would offer Mr. Moss one of those little lapel ribbons in his choice of color for not commenting on the long-suffering object of contemporary racism, but he doesn’t seem to need it.
THE REASONABLE EXPECTATION OF BOURGEOIS RESPECTABILITY MEDAL goes to Deputy DA Tom Geddes for his memorable attempt to pick up a misdemeanor by the bootstraps, as it were, and elevate it to a felony by claiming that pilfering small change from a Coke machine in a classy motel lobby, like the Travel Inn on North State Street, was tantamount to coming right into a person’s home. “My God,” Geddes said (speaking hypothetically), “what if you came out of your room in a bathrobe to get a bedtime snack and found the defendant here jimmying the Coke machine!? If you have a reasonable expectation of privacy, and I would submit that you would have such an expectation under the circumstances…” The “circumstances” being that you’ve paid over a $100 for a room, as opposed to about $60 compared to South State Street motels, where the defendant had also robbed the same vendor’s Coke machines, but in those cases the machine was outdoors on a balcony — “then [by God], it’s a felony!” To which Judge Ann Moorman answered, “It’s a pretty idea, and I like it a lot but I have to go by the law, and legally it’s only a misdemeanor, as counsel [defense attorney Doug Rhoades] has pointed out; and so your motion is denied.” The King of Morocco has a crew of burly fellows who go down the streets of Casablanca and herd the beggars, addicts, drunks, whores and any other unsightly person back into the alleyways behind the souk, so they are safely out of his majesty’s sight whenever he comes along – the same idea as “doing” something about the homeless “problem” in Ukiah, and we therefore expect the Make Ukiah Cute Again people who came up with the smarmy motto “Not Just A Pretty Place” to pay for Mr. Geddes’s medal.
THE EMOTIONAL FRAGILITY TIARA goes to County Counsel Katherine Elliot who daren’t come to the courthouse without a cavalcade of subaltern lawyers, the Undersheriff, and a phalanx of uniformed deputies as was the case recently when she was making an appearance, in an expensive new suit, just after her big gratuitous pay raise, and her voice broke in such a high-pitched squeal it sounded like an out of tune woodwind hitting a C-sharp in the highest register as she greeted with overweening enthusiasm some of the courthouse regulars for the first time since she was elevated to County Counsel.
THE TRITEST MAXIM PLAQUE at the courthouse goes to the Mendocino Defense Bar for confounding themselves with the phrase "It is what it is" with this endorsement from Esquire Magazine's Ross McCammon: "It is what it is." "Yes, but what is it? If you take this idea to it's natural conclusion, you will end up smoking a cigarette while jumping off a cliff. We must all resolve to stop saying this. It means nothing. It is a mantra for idiots. To which Judge Moorman answered, "It's a pretty idea counsel, and I like it a lot, but I have to go by the law, and legally..."