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» Courts » All Good Things Must Come To An End

All Good Things Must Come To An End

Pinal County has some amazingly friendly people working court security. One guy always used to ask to borrow my car. Another would demand a check made out to him for parking in the public lot in front of the courthouse. Once, after a bit of a hiatus from handling cases there, I came back to court with facial hair. As I passed through the metal detector, one guy got on the radio and said, “we’re gonna need a razor down here.” Upon closer inspection of the quality of beard I had, he got on the radio again. “Better make that a child’s safety razor.” The guy standing in the back with an enviable handlebar mustache got a real chuckle out of that one. I could only wonder to myself whether such a thing really exists.

This past Friday, they were just as friendly and joking as always, but something seemed off. Immediately, it came to me. It was the sign, the most amazing thing to ever grace the front of a courthouse X-ray machine. It was perhaps the greatest sign man has ever created, and it was gone.

This was no normal sign. Sure, it said the normal stuff about emptying your pockets before going through the metal detector, but it had a badass picture of a bull elk on it for no apparent reason. It had a handwritten note about putting your wallet through the machine too. As a true labor of love, here is the closest approximation I can produce with my modest talents:

AttemptedPinalSignReproduction

Although the original admittedly may not have had a grammatical error, I believe my text adequately conveys the magical essence of the real deal. As for the elk picture, I assure you the original was far more magnificent. I suspect a guard may have even taken it himself. My wallet comment, which may be a tad bit more succinct than the original, still features the magnificent quotation marks that I found so compelling when I first laid eyes on that beautiful piece of art.

I imagined the person who was put in charge of making the sign writing the basic text and looking at his creation. Sure, it said what it needed to say, but it wasn’t right. I imagined the conversation after he harnessed his vast creative powers and added the elk picture:

ADMIRER: Hell of an elk, man.
CREATOR: Ain’t he?
ADMIRER: Damn straight. How many points?
CREATOR: Reckon he’s up there. Seven by six?
ADMIRER #2: What a beauty. Where’d you see him?
CREATOR: Up in Unit 6A.
ADMIRER: Mmhmm.
ADMIRER #2: Mmhmm.
(all gazing with a deep sense of satisfaction while nodding approvingly)

I envisioned the wallet thing being almost a tribute, something added after one person after another set off the metal detector with their wallets. There was probably some guard who used to tell everyone to put their wallets in the tray. They just wouldn’t listen, so the genius behind the sign wrote it in. Using quotes. It was the famous saying of the honored security guy who said it. Like how the Colonel used to always say his chicken was “finger lickin’ good.” Just like that.

I once tried to take a picture of it. Pretending to be responding to an important email while looking as lawyer-like as I could, I set up the perfect shot but hesitated. An affable older gentleman cut in line and blocked my one good opportunity:

AttemptedPinalSignPicture

As I walked through court security on Friday, I thought of all the good times. Where a noble sign was once scotch-taped with reckless abandon, there now hangs a polished and professional sign that does nothing more than convey its intended message. It’s a monstrosity, an affront to good taste and artistic integrity. What is this world coming to? Do people have no respect for the rich traditions that came before them? I also noted a conspicuous new sign saying no pictures.

It’s sad to think that, while the friendly staff hasn’t changed too much, the sign is gone. My times in Pinal County Superior Court will no longer begin with the sense of amusement I always used to feel. Luckily, I’ll always have the memories.

NOTE: Yes, I really did take the time to recreate the sign. Please don’t suggest that I need a hobby because I have far too many already.

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