Old Wives' Tales
Radio & TV
Toxin du jour
Legend: A young woman testifying as the complainant in a rape trial is asked to describe what her attacker said and did to her. When she is unable to bring herself to describe her assailant's actions out loud, the judge suggests that she write them down for the jury to read privately. The witness's written statement is handed to the jury foreman by the bailiff; the foreman reads it and then passes it on to the next juror. Eventually the statement reaches an attractive female juror, and when she is finished scanning it she nudges the male juror sitting next to her and hands it to him. The male juror, who has been napping, takes the note from her with a slightly confused look on his face. He reads it, looks up at the female juror who passed it to him, blushes slightly, and hurriedly stuffs the paper in his pocket. When the judge asks him to remove the note from his pocket and pass it along, the juror replies, "Your Honor, this note is a private matter between this lady and myself."
Origins: This courtroom embarrassment tale teeters between joke and legend, with no real difference between the two versions other than that the latter is presented as a "true story." (It also lacks the "moral lesson" typical of many urban legends, save perhaps a warning to take important duties seriously.) This bit of humor has been used as sketch material for several television comedy/variety shows, most notably the very first episode of Saturday Night Live.
Last updated: 13 July 2007
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