There are few things so likely to give us all a good laugh as legal proceedings in North America where it seems people will sue for the most trivial of reasons. My morning routine (waking blearily to BBC Radio 4 on the clock-radio) was enlivened today by this strange story - a waiter in Canada who was apparently fired for being too rude and who claimed, being French, it was in his culture to act this way. He has, of course, taken this as a breach of his Human Rights.
Alan Coren, thou should'st be living at this hour!
In your much-mourned absence, let us return to that courtroom we frequented once before when the weirdness of those across the water became manifest.
Clerk: You 'vill all rize for his honour Mr Justice D. Crockett!. Those who vill not rize will be treated as enemies of ze State. All Heil to the Judge!
Judge: Say there, Mr von Obergurgl, that's taking respect for the bench a little too far, ain't it?
Clerk: It is chust my Cherman culture and upbringing, Herr Judge. I am not to blame!
Judge: OK, feller, ease it off there. Now who's doing what in this here cotton-picking case?
Clerk: Zere is nein cotton in zis case. That is striktly verboten.
Judge: Yeah, yeah ...is there any chance of a cawfee? I haven't had one for ten minutes.
Hamilton Burger: Your honour, I represent the plaintiff, Hiram B Monteczuma III and my colleague Mr Mason the defendant, the State of New York.
Judge: Proceed Mr Burger.
Burger: My client is a descendant of the Aztecs. He is proud of their great culture. He wishes to continue to practice human sacrifice. The police have warned him not to rip the hearts out of prisoners to hold up before the setting sun. He claims this is a gross breach of his Human Rights and wishes to sue for ten trillion dollars on the grounds that an entire people have been insulted.
Judge: Okey-dokey, feller. Mr Mason?
Mason: Your honour the defendant will plead that, while of course it utterly respects the rights of insane killers to practice their ancient religion, the use of unsterilised knives is not permitted, dragging bound captives up to the top of pyramids is a clear breach of health and safety and that as the Aztecs did not play baseball there is no reason to accord them equal treatment under the law.
Judge: Now you just hold on a gosh-darned moment there mister.
Mason: Your honour?
Judge: Nothing. It's just part of my culture to make this sort of stupid interjection from time to time.
Foreman of the Jury: This is the most stupid and pointless case I have ever seen. What the hell is going on in here?
Judge: What's your beef feller?
Foreman: I am French. It is my birthright to be rude. You 'ave a problem wizz zat? And don't get me started on the Mexicans who are on this jury, ze are all sitting slumped against the wall of the cantina wearing huge sombreros.
Judge: I ain't never seen a cantina wearing sombreros, son.