THE BLOG
10/15/2013 10:37 am ET | Updated Jan 23, 2014

Nana Has a Rap Sheet

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In the ongoing spins of the Great Wheel of Life, Judy is usually too short to reach the lever. She has noticed, however, that the wheel keeps spinning without her. This is either tragic or hilarious, depending on her frame of mind at the moment or on her audience. However it plays out, the finest screenwriter could not imagine her life. Even she has a tough time doing so.

Judy works at a college, and she has remained dependable to a fault regarding her daily arrival time. This ranges from late to very late. On one occasion, she was solidly in the very late category. She caught a detour sign out of the corner of her eye. She read it as an invitation to turn at exactly that spot. She quickly became the uninvited guest at a very bad party.

A cop was waiting around the corner to snag offenders and to greet them with the usual request. License, registration and the ever-popular, "Do you know what you did wrong?"

Judy considered the question but quickly realized that, had she detailed all the major errors she has made over her life, both she and the cop would never be able to leave the intersection. Instead, she said she didn't know.

He gave her a ticket to appear in court. Sending a check in the mail was not an option.

The cop was, of course, unaware that Judy's sense of direction was rivaled only by her memory. The court date passed unnoticed, while Judy went on with the less serious commitments of her life. Then the warrant for her arrest arrived in the mail.

She drove to the police station, mindful to obey all traffic laws. When she arrived, she was only one of any number of questionable-looking characters. She was told to go to the back window and speak to a patrolman who told her to have a seat on the right side of the courtroom. A pot-bellied cop was stationed at a desk with spectacular variety of pastries in front of him. He was asking a heavily tattooed man, who was proudly displaying his lively colored underwear, his name and address.

Then he called Judy's name, "Handleman!" In desperation, Judy tried playing the Do-you-know-who-my-husband-was card.

The cop did, indeed, know Bill Handleman. Bill had been a high-profile journalist. Other cops entered the room and everyone joined in the Bill Handleman Party, quoting his stories and laughing. Judy smiled as she listened and silently congratulated herself on her brilliant diversionary tactic.

Another cop came in and took Judy's arm and led her down the hall. She assumed the party was moving to a larger space and wondered if it were too early for wine. The room had a measuring board on the wall. The cop handed Judy a card with numbers on it and instructed her to hold the card up in front of her. It was then that Judy realized she had left the party behind.

The cop instructed her not to smile. She registered that as a gratuitous comment. One click of the camera and it was all over. Nana had a rap sheet. A new court date was set and $250 in fines and fees were leveled.

At the trial, the bailiff called her name and she stood before the judge. He asked her what happened. She explained and told him that she didn't want her grandchildren to know that she had a rap sheet.

The judge started to laugh, and many people in the courtroom started to laugh, too. Having been through this kind of frivolity with the cops, Judy was not to be fooled. She remained stoic. She wondered if they had prison uniforms in Size 00.

This time, the outcome was more positive. Her case was expunged.

In Judy's own words, "The moral of the story is that when the detour points right at the truth, I turn left. I never could follow directions." She also learned that even fame has its limitations.