This little gem can be extrapolated to include women, pets, friends, acquaintances, colleagues, and about any scenario you can imagine. This should be tattooed onto every college girl’s forehead so each of her friends would be forced to see it constantly and it should be put on Technicolor billboards on every road and thoroughfare. This is something that every person knows but almost every person forgets. We each tell it to those close to us, and then proceed in our own lives as if this rule doesn’t apply to us.

Why is this coming up now? Luckily, I am not having firsthand experience with it. I am watching an episode of People’s Court. Not for the first time, and not for the zillionth time, a woman has lent a man money, this time perhaps in the best example of this genre of these sorts of cases, woman A lent the man money to pay back child support for his kids with woman B. The man also has kids with woman A, who he also currently owes back child support to, but in a grand show of chutzpa he is counter-suing woman A for having him arrested for breaking into her house, feeling very pouty about the fact that he had to spend 9 whole days in jail on the burglary charge. (Guess who bailed him out on that one? If you guessed woman B, you get the trash TV award…)Uncommonly, woman A got the deadbeat to sign a promisary note (lucky thing, since he has no stable job). Woman A supported this man throughout their relationship, and that’s a good thing since in addition to his no job and his failure to meet his obligations to his first set of kids with woman B (those kids existed before his kids were born with woman A- sorry to reverse the alphabet on you…) HE HAS TWO OTHER KIDS WITH WOMAN C!

Yes, ladies, he is a charmer! You too could meet a guy like this! Not that woman are immune from being sketchy. All the time there are cases where woman borrow money under questionable circumstances, or beg/cajole/manipulate their way into men’s pockets and then try to slip out of their debts by batting their eyelashes. They get money for all kinds of stuff, from paying the cable bill (why does everyone think they need cable???) to getting plastic surgery. I don’t think I have ever heard a case where someone says they needed money for groceries, perhaps because people who are truly down-and-out know how valuable money is, so they wouldn’t so casually scam someone else out of it. Or maybe that just wouldn’t make scintillating TV. Or maybe I just don’t watch enough; perhaps I need cable…

Another popular type of case, almost too numerous to count, is the ‘bought a used auto/something went wrong/ I want my money back’. For those of you who are new to this planet, let me give you a newsflash: private party sales of used vehicles are AS-IS transactions. That means you buy at your own risk. That means it is worth $100 or $150 to pay a mechanic to go and check out any used car you are seriously interested in buying. And for anyone who thinks they can’t afford to do this, I would argue that you can’t afford not to. One of my daughters, in the market for her first, and later her second car, was not looking for anything pricey. But obviously she needed something reliable and didn’t have lots of extra cash to throw into unforseen repairs. So we found a perfectly nice man- really a lovely excellent human being- who drove to any reasonable location and did a super thorough inspection of several cars for her. We avoided a few disasters that looked like they would be fantastic cars- one even being sold by a good friend of our good friend, who had (honestly!) no idea that the car his own wife and daughter had been driving had a serious problem brewing with the undercarriage. But time after time someone one these court shows will have a case where they know nothing about cars, but they like it- so they drive it around the block, and I guess the radio works, so they buy it. Then a week later the car explodes- or sometimes the radio get static on it or something equally sinister- and they are suing to get their money back. They are always asked: “Did you get the car inspected?” And the answer is always the same, a sloe-eyed, “Nooooooooooooooooooooooooo…” But this is another situation where we think there people we deal with are more honest. We will know better. We will be able to tell if a car isn’t good. We would never buy a lemon.

If everything we believed about the world was true the courts would be empty and we would all be rich and thin. I’m not sure what is so seductive about denial that isn’t so seductive about the truth. I have always wanted to believe that I could deal with anything as long as I was at least clear about what I was actually dealing with, but from all appearances it looks like I am in the minority. I am honestly perplexed about why that is, but maybe some of you can shed some light on that. Or maybe that’s just wishful thinking on my part…