Saturday, December 23, 2017

It’s a Blunderful Life

It’s a snowy Christmas Eve in rural upstate New York. A despondent man leans over the railing of a metal bridge. Suddenly a police cruiser pulls up. The cop gets out and yells, “Hey George! You all right?”

The man looks up and shouts, “Now get outta here, Bert, or I’ll hit you again!”

“What the Sam Hill you yellin’ for, George?” the cop says.

“Bert, do you know me?” the man replies softly.

“Know ya? I’ve been looking all over town trying to find you. I saw your car piled into that tree down there and I thought maybe — Hey, your mouth’s bleeding.”

“My mouth’s bleeding, Bert!” the man shouts. “My mouth — Zuzu’s petals. There they are! Bert, WHATAYA KNOW ABOUT THAT?!! Merry Christmas!!”

The man thrusts both arms into the air in utter joy, and as he starts to run, the officer wrestles him to the ground and slaps on a pair of handcuffs.

“Bert, what are you doing?!” the man screams. “I’ve got to see Mary!”

“You have the right to remain silent,” the cop recites.

Meanwhile, back at the Bedford Falls Municipal Court House, a crew of social workers and lawyers hastily prepare for an emergency custody hearing. As soon as George is brought in, a senior social worker says to the judge, “Your honor, we implore this court to take action immediately. These four young victims must be removed from a dysfunctional and dangerous home and put into foster care. And THIS man,” she says while glaring at George, “must be removed from the streets of Bedford Falls forever!”

The social worker lists the evidence against George. “Earlier this afternoon, your honor, Mr. Bailey roughed up his uncle, William Bailey, by grabbing his shoulders, screaming in his face, and shaking him violently.

“Then, this evening,” she continues, “Mr. Bailey verbally abused a local school teacher, Mrs. Welch, over the phone. When the poor woman was reduced to tears, he then challenged her husband to a fist fight. Apparently, Mr. Bailey prefers to solve all of his problems with violence.

“Moments later, he terrified his own wife and children by kicking over a table in the living room and throwing objects against the wall. His fit of rage continued as he screamed at his young daughter Janie and ordered her to play the piano. A next-door neighbor will testify under oath that she clearly heard the beleaguered Mrs. Bailey exclaim, ‘George, why must you torture the children?’ Torture. The. Children. Well, isn’t that nice?” the social worker adds sarcastically.

“That’s not all, your honor,” Bert the cop interjects. “Mr. Bailey will be charged with a long list of criminal offenses, including public drunkenness; assault and battery, stemming from a barroom brawl this evening; driving under the influence; reckless endangerment; and failure to drive in the proper lane, when he crashed his car into a tree. Also, Miss Violet Bick and Mrs. Mildred Hatch, the mother of Mary Bailey, will testify under oath regarding Mr. Bailey’s long history of sexual harassment and abusive behavior toward women.”

“I’ve heard enough for now!” the judge declares. “Put those children into foster care immediately, and take Mr. Bailey into custody for criminal arraignment on December 26th at 10 a.m.” He pounds the gavel and announces, “This hearing is concluded.”

George slumps in his chair and moans, “I wish I’d never been born!”

The social worker looks over and sneers, “Yes, George, so do most of the good citizens of Bedford Falls.”

As George is dragged away to a jail cell, his younger brother Harry echoes the thoughts of the entire community when he says, “My big brother George: the sickest man in town.”

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