Why Were Teenage Boys Created?

According to North Carolina Judge David K. Fox, General Court of Justice, Transylvania County, “Teenaged boys were created to mumble darkly whilst doing yard work to justify their existence on earth and their room and board.”

That’s just one of many pearls offered by Judge Fox in a temporary support order in a divorce case, an order as hilarious as it is skillfully articulated.

The facts are extensive, but basically, the husband, a doctor, was seeking relief from support payments to his ex-wife, who, along with her kids, was living quite well on the ex-hubby’s income while declining to seek substantial work of her own.

The wife had been a nurse, a fact not surprising to Judge Fox, who commented “[t]hat, as predictable as death and taxes, doctors marry nurses for second and subsequent unions.”

Neither the wife nor husband, according to Judge Fox, had managed to adjust their respective lifestyles in light of the doc’s substantially declining income attributable to shifts in the healthcare industry. The result, said Judge Fox, was “an ongoing mathematical economic train wreck.”

Part of the problem was that, “since separation, the Parties have undertaken to continue their relationship based upon the constitution and bylaws of the Jerry Springer Show.” The wife’s grown kids from a prior marriage weren’t helping matters either, causing Judge Fox to remark that “[i]t is a mercy that [the husband’s] children by his prior marriage are in Illinois.”

The comment about teenage boys came in response to the fact that the wife was forking out $250 a month for yard work instead of making her healthy 17-year-old son get off his duff and push a lawnmower.

While Judge Fox’s sympathies seemed to lie with the husband, the doc didn’t escape unscathed. Judge Fox described him as “rotund” and “a vessel of ill health, both actual and potential.”

But good news! The husband had “acquired a reciprocal, apparently romantic, interest in a local female (working in the health-delivery industry, of course),” causing the judge to speculate “that this relationship likely is the primary reason he has begun to address his weight problem with some increase in beneficial exercise, including the muscular effort of pushing aside the dinner plate more frequently.”

The judge granted the husband support relief and everyone else comic relief. This summary doesn’t do justice to Judge Fox’s order. The overall tone, while definitely somewhat sarcastic, is not mean-spirited. He seemed genuinely concerned about the parties’ well-being, but also frustrated by their apparent inability to grasp their economic straits.

— Order in Temporary Support, Bodie v. Bodie, Case No. 08-VVD-334 (N.C. Dist. Ct., July 11, 2006). Thanks to Andrew J. Dolson.

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Andrew Jay McClurg is a law professor whose teaching and research interests include tort law, products liability, legal education, privacy law and firearms policy. He holds the Herbert Herff Chair of Excellence in Law at the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law.
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