Karate Magic: Chapter 1

The thing I remember the most was the wood-paneling. To this day, anytime I see it anywhere, I get the flashbacks. It’s a whole thing. Cold sweats. Uneasy stomach. The works.

Oddly enough, courtrooms don’t bother me. It’s not like I have a panic attack if a rerun of Law and Order comes on. But a wood-paneled PT Cruiser? It might as well be lights out.

In truth, the woodpaneled nightmare that was my courtroom felt like a bit of an outlier. It was shiny in all the wrong places and emphatic about its mediocrity. I remember fixating on how this wasn’t how they’d looked in the movies. This felt like the junior college version of those courtrooms. It was as if somewhere, along the way to becoming a great courtroom, it gave up and settled for just being one that did the job, gained a little weight and tried figuring out how to cut its own hair.

There were no marble-topped surfaces to be found and no gothic gargoyles promising to aid in the adjudication of absolute justice.

That day in the courtroom, I turned 34. Thirty four years old on its own is kind of a tough age. You’re definitively not young anymore, but you’re not really old either. Young people look at you with disdain for wanting to horn in on their youngness, and old people still see you as the problematic manifestations of all younger generations. It is very much a time of unmooring – and that’s best case scenario. Worst case scenario was me. That day was my worst case scenario. Why? Because I was officially assigned sex offender (adjacent) status. But it isn’t what you think.



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