Friday, November 5, 2010

Learning to Hum


                             Or How D'Atra Got Her Ring Back

     "It feels bad," said President Obama of the "shellacking" Democrats got
in the midterm elections.
     I feel bad, too.
     I feel bad seeing President Obama's former Senate seat being filled by a
member of the opposing party. I feel bad knowing President Obama is
going to have an uphill battle for the last two years of his presidency. I feel
bad that so little good news about what he has done so far ever made it to
the people who needed to hear it the most. I blame that in large part on
the industry I once turned to for guidance during elections. An industry
that,  in my opinion, has imploded and become as polarized and jaded as
the politics it claims to cover.
     To help ease my post-election pain, I sought out like-minded people
on Wednesday.  Over drinks, we groused and grumbled as the defeat
sunk in.
     But on Thursday, I found myself ready to move on and be cautiously
hopeful. Moreover, I needed to purge from my head the vilifying
verbiage from this year's midterm election campaigns. Figuring a workout
might help, I headed to the health club.
      Normally, I time my workouts at the end of the day so I can watch
Jeopardy while I sweat. Thursday morning, I changed it up and found
myself arriving at the club just as the midday news was beginning.
    It was the last thing I wanted to watch. So, after flipping through the
channels, I landed on Divorce Court. I'm embarrassed to admit that I
stayed there and became completed engrossed in an episode that oddly
resonated with me. Best of all, it made me laugh out loud for the first
time in days.
     Enter Dietra Hicks (also known as D'Atra Hicks) and Loren Harper.
Hicks began, telling the judge she needed to divorce her husband
because he was a "lyin', cheatin', deceitful, Internet whore." Harper
came to court seeking compensation for therapy sessions he said he
needed after years of physical abuse at the hands of his wife. Hicks did
not deny the abuse and argued that it was Harper's chronic lying that
drove her to it. Or, as she put it, "Every time he lies I just have to punch
him in the face."
    Then it was Harper's turn. But as he began, Hicks, who is a singer,
began to hum. Not just random humming but a low, Gospel-loaded,
plaintive moan that all but drowned out her husband's testimony. While
the courtroom erupted in laughter, the judge told Hicks she had to stop.

For a while, she did. But as her husband continued talking, Hicks soon
was humming again. Admitting she had anger issues, she explained to
the judge that humming was an anger management exercise she used
to calm herself whenever confronted by her husband's lies.
     Hicks was then told that Nortice, Harper's girlfriend, was on her
way into the courtroom wearing a ring Harper had given Hicks. Harper,
afraid of his wife's temper, had staged a burglary in his home to steal
back the ring and give it to his girlfriend. Seeing the other woman
wearing her ring threw Hicks into a string of warbling lamentations.
This time, the judge did not silence her.
      As the drama continued to unfold, I couldn't help but draw political
parallels. For several fleeting moments, I even convinced myself the
anger, deceit, and hurt of the midterm elections mirrored the bizarre
elements found in the dysfunctional American marriage of D'Atra Hicks
and Loren Harper.
      It didn't take me long to realize I was out in left field on this one.
Although there were moments of high drama, this was really just the
story of a woman scorned, a man caught in a web of lies, and the
questionable ownership of a ring.
      In the end, the girlfriend was shamed by the judge into giving the
ring back to Hicks. As the three involved individuals stood outside in
the hallway following the hearing, Hicks lapsed back into song, waving
her ring in the air, singing, "I got my ring back. I got my ring back."
     I, for one, am happy D'Atra Hicks got her ring back. It proves there is still
justice in the world. A ray of hope. And when that hope seems out of reach
I will think of Hicks.
     Maybe, I'll even hum.
     To watch the episode of Divorce Court mentioned above, cut and paste 
     the following link into your browser:


Jenny said...

This was worth reading for all sorts of reasons, but best of all is getting to know the name "Nortice."
Thanks, Laura!

Laura Vasilion said...

From Marla Issacs via e-mail

Laura, your blog is just wonderful. I love your post-election thoughts, and couldn’t agree more. Perhaps the blog that has moved me most is your one on bullying, and your 1968 scenario. Wow…I just wanted to cry for that boy, and for you. That would be a great essay to share with middle schoolers and high schoolers, if there were a way.

Keep up the good and inspirational work!

Steve said...

When I hear discouraging election and political coverage, I'll just start humming.