One Florida judge recently had to rule on the importance of being Ernest.
St. Petersburg lawyer Frank Louderback asked U.S. District Judge Steven D. Merryday for time off from a murder trial so that he could participate in the Florida Keys' upcoming Hemingway look-alike contest on July 20.
Although Louderback cited nonrefundable hotel deposits and travel plans of friends and family, Judge Merryday not only denied his odd request, he used Hemingway's own zeitgeist to shoot it down.
In the judge's order, he wrote: "Between a murder-for-hire trial and an annual look-alike contest, surely Hemingway, a perfervid admirer of 'grace under pressure,' would choose the trial."
He then used Dorothy Parker's apt description of Hemingway from a 1929 issue of The New Yorker, noting:
At his most robust, Hemingway exemplified the intrepid defense lawyer:
He works like hell, and through it. . . . He has the most profound bravery. . . . He has had pain and the kind of poverty that you don’t believe[;] he has had about eight times the normal allotment of responsibilities. And he has never once compromised. He has never turned off on an easier path than the one he staked himself. It takes courage.
And finally the literary judge finishes with the last line from the bearded scribe's novel "The Sun Also Rises":
"Perhaps a lawyer who evokes Hemingway can resist relaxing frolic in favor of solemn duty. Or, at least, “Isn’t it pretty to think so?” Best of luck to counsel in next year’s contest. The motion (Doc. 127) is DENIED."
A 3-time Hemingway look-alike contestant, Louderback told the Tampa Bay Times: "It'll give me another year to get older, fatter and grayer."