Archives for the month of: April, 2013

These are from a book called Disorder in the American Courts and are things people actually said in court, word for word, taken down and published by court reporters that had the torment of staying calm while the exchanges were taking place.

ATTORNEY: What was the first thing your husband said to you that morning?
WITNESS: He said, ‘Where am I, Cathy?’
ATTORNEY: And why did that upset you?
WITNESS: My name is Susan!
_______________________________

ATTORNEY: What gear were you in at the moment of the impact?
WITNESS: Gucci sweats and Reeboks.
____________________________________________
ATTORNEY: Are you sexually active?
WITNESS: No, I just lie there.
____________________________________________
ATTORNEY: What is your date of birth?
WITNESS: July 18th.
ATTORNEY: What year?
WITNESS: Every year.
_____________________________________
ATTORNEY: How old is your son, the one living with you?
WITNESS: Thirty-eight or thirty-five, I can’t remember which.
ATTORNEY: How long has he lived with you?
WITNESS: Forty-five years.
_________________________________
ATTORNEY: This myasthenia gravis, does it affect your memory at all?
WITNESS: Yes.
ATTORNEY: And in what ways does it affect your memory?
WITNESS: I forget..
ATTORNEY: You forget? Can you give us an example of something you forgot?
___________________________________________
ATTORNEY: Now doctor, isn’t it true that when a person dies in his sleep, he doesn’t know about it until the next morning?
WITNESS: Did you actually pass the bar exam?
____________________________________

ATTORNEY: The youngest son, the 20-year-old, how old is he?
WITNESS: He’s 20, much like your IQ.
___________________________________________
ATTORNEY: Were you present when your picture was taken?
WITNESS: Are you shitting me?
_________________________________________
ATTORNEY: So the date of conception (of the baby) was August 8th?
WITNESS: Yes.
ATTORNEY: And what were you doing at that time?
WITNESS: Getting laid
____________________________________________

ATTORNEY: She had three children , right?
WITNESS: Yes.
ATTORNEY: How many were boys?
WITNESS: None.
ATTORNEY: Were there any girls?
WITNESS: Your Honor, I think I need a different attorney. Can I get a new attorney?
____________________________________________

ATTORNEY: How was your first marriage terminated?
WITNESS: By death..
ATTORNEY: And by whose death was it terminated?
WITNESS: Take a guess.
___________________________________________

ATTORNEY: Can you describe the individual?
WITNESS: He was about medium height and had a beard
ATTORNEY: Was this a male or a female?
WITNESS: Unless the Circus was in town I’m going with male.
_____________________________________

ATTORNEY: Is your appearance here this morning pursuant to a deposition notice which I sent to your attorney?
WITNESS: No, this is how I dress when I go to work.
______________________________________

ATTORNEY: Doctor , how many of your autopsies have you performed on dead people?
WITNESS: All of them. The live ones put up too much of a fight.
_________________________________________

ATTORNEY: ALL your responses MUST be oral, OK? What school did you go to?
WITNESS: Oral…
_________________________________________

ATTORNEY: Do you recall the time that you examined the body?
WITNESS: The autopsy started around 8:30 PM
ATTORNEY: And Mr. Denton was dead at the time?
WITNESS: If not, he was by the time I finished.
____________________________________________

ATTORNEY: Are you qualified to give a urine sample?
WITNESS: Are you qualified to ask that question?

______________________________________

And last:

ATTORNEY: Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a pulse?
WITNESS: No.
ATTORNEY: Did you check for blood pressure?
WITNESS: No.
ATTORNEY: Did you check for breathing?
WITNESS: No..
ATTORNEY: So, then it is possible that the patient was alive when you began the autopsy?
WITNESS: No.
ATTORNEY: How can you be so sure, Doctor?
WITNESS: Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar.
ATTORNEY: I see, but could the patient have still been alive, nevertheless?
WITNESS: Yes, it is possible that he could have been alive and practicing law.

love lovesummer_love_05love-168a

Self-Deprecation

self-depSelf-deprecation is a basic character flaw or personality defect, one of seven possible “chief features” adopted in adolescence to protect the self at the level of false personality.

Self-deprecation means belittling yourself, or running yourself down, in the eyes of others. It is a drive to make yourself small or even invisible.

Self-deprecation is defined as:

The disparagement of one’s own abilities; [1]

communication that expresses something negative about its originator; making negative statements regarding one’s own appearance or abilities, such as saying “I’m so fat” or “I’m such an idiot”; [2]

expressing disapproval or being critical of oneself. [3]

As with the opposite chief feature of arrogance, self-deprecation is a way of manipulating others’ perceptions of yourself in order to avoid taking a “hit” to your self-esteem.

In this case, however, the basic strategy is to “get in first”—to launch a preemptive attack on your own failings before anyone else can do so. While the arrogant person tries to deny their imperfections by feigning perfection, the self-deprecating person believes their own imperfection is absolute: I am simply not as good as other people.

Like all chief features, self-deprecation involves the following components:

  1. Early negative experiences
  2. Misconceptions about the nature of self, life or others
  3. A constant fear and sense of insecurity
  4. A maladaptive strategy to protect the self
  5. A persona to hide all of the above in adulthood

Early Negative Experiences

In the case of self-deprecation, the early negative experiences typically revolve around failing to live up to parents’ high expectations.

Perhaps the parents are perfectionists and expect the child to measure up to an impossible standard. Perhaps the parents are over-achievers and cannot accept having a child who isn’t similarly talented or driven. Either way, the child can never be up to scratch.

Misconceptions

From such experiences of being constantly below standard, the child comes to perceive himself as something fundamentally flawed, basically inadequate.

Again and again, the child in this position learns that “who I am is not good enough.” The love, care and attention that he craves is unavailable, and the reason for this is—apparently—his own deficiency as a person. His constant sense of failure, and of being a constant disappointment to others, give rise to a fundamental sense of shame.

Hence:

Who I am is not good enough. Nothing I can do will ever be good enough.

I should feel ashamed of myself just for being me.

Even before I try, I know I’m going to fail—so there’s no point in even trying.

At least I will always be right about one thing: my inadequacy.

I have nothing of value to offer anyone.

Fear

Based on the above  misconceptions and early negative experiences, the child becomes gripped by a specific kind of fear. In this case, the fear is of inadequacynever being good enough to please or satisfy others, never being good enough to deserve success or love or happiness.

The child feels like a gatecrasher in life, an uninvited guest, an interloper, and constantly fears being caught and exposed.

His attempts at living a normal life cause great internal conflict because he feels a normal life is not something he deserves, being below standard as a human being.

Strategy

The growing individual becomes hyper-sensitive to the possibility of being exposed as inadequate, and sees the threat of this exposure everywhere.

His basic strategy for coping with this threat is to manipulate others’ perceptions in advance. Typically this involves:

  • avoiding others’ attention if possible: he will try to divert attention away from himself, keep the focus on other people or things;
  • managing others’ expectations: to lower others’ expectations, he will tend to apologise in advance for every forthcoming “failure” and deliberately act as inadequately as possible so that no-one expects anything else.

Remember, the individual with self-deprecation truly believes in their own inadequcy. They see little point in denying it. Their ploy, then, is one of damage limitation:

I cannot succeed in life, I cannot feel good about myself, I cannot get on with others. The best I can hope for is to limit the damage by hiding myself from view.

If I am belittled, I probably deserve it. But at least if I belittle myself first, I leave others with nothing to belittle me about.

As they enter adulthood, they come to rely on this strategy more and more.

Persona

Emerging into adulthood, the individual probably does not want go around being overtly afraid and insecure about their fundamental inadequacy. Hence the defensive strategy of self-deprecation puts on amask of invisibility. He will tend to make himself small, silent and invisible; he will tend to talk very quietly, cover his face, look downward. This mask or persona continually says to the world, “I am not here. Look the other way. Pay me no attention. And if you do happen to notice me, don’t expect anything special.”

Outwardly, he also pretends to be the most inadequate person in the world—so that anything he then manages to do just adequately or even better comes as a nice surprise to everyone and might even elicit praise.

He might even become so adept at deliberate self-deprecation that it develops into a personal style of humour, much enjoyed by other people. His obvious lack of arrogance will also be attractive to some. If he completely identifies with the sense of inadequacy, however, this could have a debilitating effect. Whenever he receives praise or appreciation, he will simply not believe it.

All people are capable of this kind of behaviour. When it dominates the personality, however, one is said to have a chief feature of self-deprecation.

Positive and Negative Poles

In the case of self-deprecation, the positive pole is termed HUMILITYand the negative pole is termed SELF-ABASEMENT.

+ humility +

|

SELF-DEPRECATION

|

– self-abasement –

Humility, or modesty, is a state of having little ego or pride, and therefore not trying to elevate yourself in the eyes of others. Ideally, this is a state in which you can appropriately recognise and accept your “ordinariness”. You feel free from ego concerns. We could all do with some humility.

Self-abasement, on the other hand, is a state of excessive, unwarranted humility. In other words, a state of self-inflicted humiliation and degredation. It is a state in which you are trapped in a vicious circle of self-criticism. Even if you come to understand that you have adopted self-deprecation as a false defensive measure, this is just further “proof” of your ultimate inadequacy.

Handling Self-Deprecation

People with self-deprecation may feel constantly ashamed of themselves for no good reason and are often apologising for themselves. Depression is a possible outcome.

As with every chief feature, the key is becoming conscious of how self-deprecation operates in yourself. If you have self-deprecation, you can begin by observing your outward social behaviour and persona in action:

  • Do I criticise or belittle myself to others?
  • Do I try to manipulate how others judge me by lowering their expectations? (e.g., “Knowing me, I’ll probably get it all wrong.”)
  • Do I sometimes exaggerate how incompetent I am in the hope that others will be pleasantly surprised by my results?

Try to catch yourself in the act of putting on your “I’m useless” mask.

Then dig deeper:

  • Why do I try to manipulate others’ perceptions and expectations?
  • Why do their judgements matter to me? What am I afraid of?
  • What do I fear would happen if others saw the reality of me?

Approaching the deepest level you may need outside help in the form of a counsellor, therapist or at least a close friend:

  • Where does this fear of being inadequate come from?
  • How was I hurt?
  • Can I let it go?

Insight in itself will not remove the self-deprecation. By the time you reached adulthood, the neural pathways underlying this defensive pattern were pretty well established in the brain. Nevertheless, the brain is plastic, malleable, reconfigurable. Just as you can become more aware of self-deprecation through self-observation and self-enquiry, so too you can gain more control over it through using that awareness and by exercising choice in the moment.

  • Whenever I am tempted to run myself down before I’ve even done anything, I will now be more willing to let my results speak for themselves.
  • Realistically, I now know that even if I am judged as less than adequate, that will not kill me. It need not even hurt me. I shall pay far less attention to others’ expectations and judgements.

Another way to handle a chief feature is to “slide” to the positive pole of its opposite. In the case of self-deprecation, if you are getting caught in the negative pole of self-abasement (self-inflicted humiliation and degradation), you can re-balance yourself using the positive pole of arrogance, namely pride. In other words,  pay attention to things that make you feel truly proud of yourself. Better still, do things that make you feel truly proud.

Notes

[1] http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/self-deprecation

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-deprecation

[3] http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/self-deprecating

The Bible – it’s one of the most popular and best-selling books in the world. Spanning a couple thousand years of history, it touches upon a wide range of subject matters. In it we find stories about origins, human nature, kingdoms, salvation, and the end of the world. Life and death, happiness and despair, good and evil. All of this, and more.

There’s plenty of inspiration to be found in the Bible, but sometimes the narratives can make you cringe. What follows below are a few stories that might have made the characters involved feel a little (or a lot) on the awkward side of things.

10. Adam and Eve introduce awkwardness to the human race (Genesis 3)

adam eve God 302x400

To kick this list off, let’s begin with the story about how Adam and Eve, the first man and woman, discovered what feeling awkward was like.

In the middle of the entire Garden of Eden God had created for them, only one tree was off-limits. They could eat any fruit they wanted, so long as they stayed away from that one tree. Thanks to the crafty serpent, however, they chose to ignore God’s command. As a result, they became aware of their own nakedness (yes, there were other consequences, but let’s just focus on this one).

Think of how uncomfortable you would feel if, after having lived in oblivious nudity without any feelings of shame, you took a bite of contraband fruit and suddenly realized, “Whoa – I’m naked!”

Bonus awkward points: In addition to their new-found sense of shame, the prospect of facing God and explaining why they couldn’t follow one little rule must have been equally awkward (and terrifying) for the two partners in crime.

9. Talking to a donkey (Numbers 22)

talking donkey 291x400

Most people would agree that receiving correction can be a humbling and awkward ordeal, but then again most people don’t receive correction from their donkeys. And that’s apparently what happened to a prophet named Balaam.

In Numbers 22, King Balak of the Moabites, worried about Israel’s military advantage, decided to request Balaam’s services, which consisted mainly of blessing and/or cursing people depending on God’s instruction.

Having received divine permission to visit the Moabite king, Balaam saddled up his donkey and hit the road. However, God became angry and dispatched an angel with a sword to block Balaam’s path and force the donkey to stop. For some reason, Balaam couldn’t see the angel and kept beating the frightened beast, until finally it complained about the abuse by talking to him.

Awkward, yes, but apparently getting owned by a donkey wasn’t awkward enough for Balaam, who carried on a conversation with it until he finally saw the angel. Whoops.

Bonus: King Balak, who was hoping for some juicy curses against Israel, ended up with his own serving of awkward – he got four oracles that blessed Israel instead!

8. One hundred Philistine foreskins (1 Samuel 18)

100 philistine foreskins 560x373

Before the handsome, successful, and wildly popular David became Israel’s king, he had to put up with a rather jealous King Saul, who hated his guts and wanted him dead. Chucking spears at David wasn’t working out very well for Saul, so when he discovered that his daughter Michal was in love with David, he had an idea – put David in a situation that would result in his death at the hands of Israel’s enemies, the Philistines.

In order to win Michal’s hand, Saul declared, David would need to bring in the foreskins of one hundred Philistines. In other words, if David wanted to marry Michal, he had to go slaughter a hundred enemy soldiers and bring back the proof.

Technically, the task was a suicide mission, so when David and his men actually returned (with a surplus), Saul was understandably shocked and had to hand over his daughter.

“What, you’re still alive? And you’ve got 100 – no, 200!? – Philistine trophies with you, too? This is awkward…”

Image credit: http://www.barbaragriffiths.com/books-book.php

7. Noah gets naked (Genesis 9)

naked noah 560x348

You’ve just survived a worldwide flood. Life has been almost completely annihilated. You and your immediate family members are now responsible for repopulating the face of the earth. So what do you do about it? Plant yourself a vineyard, brew some wine, get sloshed, and then pass out naked in your tent.

This isn’t such a bad thing by itself, but while Noah was still unconscious his son Ham walked in. Instead of honoring his old man by covering him up, Ham made a joke about it to his brothers Shem and Japheth, who responded by walking backwards into Noah’s tent and improving his modesty without observing their father’s nakedness.

Those who understand the effects alcohol has on one’s behavior can probably relate to the awkwardness Noah might have felt when he awoke (“I did what!?”).

Bonus: Ham had it coming, too. Noah was pretty upset to hear that his youngest son had been disrespectful, and Ham ended up with a curse of slavery on his family line. Explain that one to your kids!

6. Haman forced to honor Mordecai (Esther 6)

mordecai haman 560x396

As a high-ranking official in the court of the Persian King Xerxes, Haman was offended one day when a Jew named Mordecai refused to show him the courtesy of a respectful bow. To get revenge for his injured ego, Haman convinced King Xerxes to let him issue a decree that would legalize the extermination of all Jews throughout the kingdom (overreaction, anyone?).

What Haman didn’t realize was that the recently instated Queen Esther happened to be a Jew – and Mordecai’s cousin. In addition, Mordecai was directly responsible for supplying information to Esther which exposed a plot to assassinate the king. Since Esther was able to put in a good word for Mordecai, the king decided to honor him.

Xerxes went to Haman for advice about how to honor a man who had pleased the king. Haman, self-importantly assuming that he himself was the one to be honored, came up with an idea in terms of what he would have liked for himself. Unfortunately, Xerxes then ordered him to carry it out for Mordecai.

Thus, an embarrassed Haman was forced to lead Mordecai – dressed in royal robes and mounted on a royal horse – through the city streets, announcing to everyone that the king approved of Mordecai, the man he despised.

5. Jesus outs his own betrayer (John 13)

Judas Last Supper

Traitors generally prefer to remain anonymous, at least until they have fulfilled their objective. However, if the person you want to betray happens to be the Messiah, you might find yourself unable to maintain typical standards of secrecy.

Judas is famous for accepting payment to lead Jesus into enemy hands. Interestingly, his plot was brought to light by Jesus himself while the disciples were eating the Passover meal one night.

After announcing that a traitor was in their midst, Jesus decided to make Judas’s secret plans obsolete by specifically pointing him out. “Want to know who’s going to betray me? Okay, I’ll give the guilty party this piece of bread,” Jesus said. “Here, Judas – have a piece of bread.” Judas, confused and surprised by this incident, headed out to gather a mob of people to arrest Jesus later that night in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Bonus: the greeting kiss by which Judas identified Jesus to the soldiers (Matthew 26) was probably a pretty awkward one, wouldn’t you agree?

4. God confirms his covenant with Abram (Genesis 17)

abram circumcision

When the Lord appeared to the 99-year-old Abram in Genesis 17, he laid out the ground rules for how the covenant between them would be confirmed. In exchange for being the father of many nations, inheriting the land of Canaan, and becoming fruitful, Abram needed to 1) walk blamelessly before the Lord, 2) change his name to ‘Abraham’, and 3) cut off part of his penis.

Say what?

Technically, since circumcision was already practiced by other Semitic people groups at that point in history, Abram was probably not too shocked by the revelation that a small part of his anatomy would be going under the knife. Still, I can imagine a brief, awkward silence at this point in the conversation as Abram let this particular aspect of the covenant sink in!

3. God tells Hosea to marry an unfaithful woman (Hosea 1, 3)

hosea gomer 508x400

The life of an Old Testament prophet was not necessarily a pleasant one. For example, in the case of Hosea – who prophesied in Israel during the reign of the wicked King Jeroboam – God had a pretty awkward idea in mind, namely: Go marry a prostitute. And by the way, she’s going to cheat on you.

There was a point to the apparent madness, of course. Under Jeroboam’s leadership, Israel was too busy sinning to bother following God’s laws and commands. By asking Hosea to take an unfaithful wife, God was essentially comparing the sinful ways of Israel to a woman who is not faithful to her husband.

Just as God predicted, after bearing three children to Hosea, Gomer took another lover. In order to show how devoted he was to the people of Israel, God ordered Hosea to show unconditional love to Gomer by buying her back from the dude she’d been sleeping with.

In a way, this is a beautiful story of forgiveness – but at the same,  it would also be pretty awkward to find yourself mixed up in that kind of situation.

Image credit: http://www.codyfmiller.com

2. Jacob gets the wrong wife (Genesis 29)

leah

What better way to deceive your hard-working nephew and future son-in-law than to promise him one daughter’s hand in marriage, and then trick him into wedding your older daughter? It’s a cold thing to do, but that’s exactly how Uncle Laban decided he would treat Jacob in the book of Genesis.

Laban had two daughters named Leah and Rachel, and the latter’s beauty captivated Jacob. In order to win her as his wife, he agreed to become Laban’s employee for seven years. But when the wedding day finally arrived, the devious Laban, in an effort to marry off his oldest daughter first, dressed up Leah as Jacob’s bride instead of Rachel. The veiled wedding outfit, combined with the darkness of the marriage chamber, prevented Jacob from noticing a problem until the next morning.

How awkward would it be to wake up and realize that the amazing sex with Rachel last night had actually been, um, amazing sex with Leah?

1. Lot and his daughters (Genesis 19)

Lot daughters 560x367

The story of Lot and his two daughters provides us with yet another example of drunkenness that turned awkward. In certain cases, drinking wine should be avoided, especially if you are living alone in a secluded mountain cave with your kids. You never know when a serious case of incest could strike.

After fleeing from the smoldering wasteland that had been Sodom and Gomorrah, Lot and the girls had eventually settled in a mountainous region, which must have been in the middle of nowhere considering what happens next. The two daughters, perhaps working on the assumption that most of the world had been destroyed by fire and brimstone, concluded that in order for them to preserve their family line, they would have to get their father drunk with wine and… yeah.

For two consecutive nights – one night for each daughter – they managed to get their father so completely smashed that he wasn’t aware of what his own children were doing.

I honestly can’t figure it out – would this situation have been more awkward for the daughters, or for Lot when he found out what had happened?

————-

There are probably other examples that might have worked for this list. For instance, I’m sure it felt pretty weird for Isaiah when God told him to walk around naked (Isaiah 20), and it must have been both awkward and terrifying when Joseph’s brothers realized that the annoying brat they had sold into slavery years ago was now the governor of Egypt (Genesis 25).