As a general rule, suing a seven-year-old won't score you any points with St. Peter. But Mary Ellen Michaels and her lawyer, Judson Hawkins, already have guaranteed reservations at the Burning Lake of Fire Spa & Resort.
Our saga began when Michaels was rollerblading down a Metroparks bike path in Strongsville last spring. She came upon a seven-year-old riding a bike. Behind the boy was his grandma, who was watching him while his parents were on a trip to New Orleans.
Michaels yelled at the boy to get out of the way. The kid stopped his bike, giving Michaels barely enough room to pass. She tried to squeeze through, but never made it. The toe of her rollerblade caught the bike's rear wheel. Michaels' leg snapped, and her foot twisted 180 degrees. "This was a serious injury," says Hawkins.
Most people would chalk it up to bad luck. What are you gonna do, sue a seven-year-old?
Well, if you're Mary Ellen Michaels, yes.
And just to secure her future in the Land of 1,000 Screams, she also sued Grandma and the boy's parents, who were a thousand miles away at the time.
The boy's lawyer politely notes that this was a bad move. "Basically, what we said is that even if you accept everything she says as fact, she still doesn't have a case," says Patrick Roche. Translation in non-lawyerspeak: "What the %$#@ is wrong with you, Mary Ellen?"
Both the trial and the appellate courts tossed the case. But that doesn't mean the kid's getting off scot-free. Michaels directed her lawyer to fight all the way to the Ohio Supreme Court. "I don't take frivolous cases," says Hawkins, whose hobbies presumably include stealing old people's medicine and torturing kittens. "I did considerable research before I sued a seven-year-old. Given the nature of the injury, I thought it merited a lawsuit."
The Viagra defense
Last month, Cuyahoga Heights teacher Karl P. Marrero and his lovely wife stopped by Three Day Blinds for a bit of home-improvement shopping.
Marrero stood next to his wife, who was seated, as the saleswoman wrote up their bill. She told police that when she looked up, she saw that Marrero's zipper was down and his penis was out. He was touching himself.
"What's that?" she asked him. She never got an answer. Marrero's wife thanked her, and the two left.
When questioned by police, Marrero broke out a new defense that's bound to be the talk of the pervert set this season. He blamed the incident on a "zipper malfunction" and said Viagra was responsible for his protruding appendage.
Marrero told Fairlawn Detective Dave Zampelli that he simply used "poor judgment" by taking Viagra just 45 minutes before he arrived at the store. Zampelli apparently wasn't buying. Marrero was charged with indecent exposure.
Punch doesn't quite understand the beef Northeast Ohioans have with Fear Factor.
First, Cleveland paralegal Austin Aitken filed a federal suit, claiming that watching contestants eat dead rats "made me throw up" -- thus disproving the widely held theory that TV-watching makes us fat.
Then FirstEnergy begged NBC not to run an episode where contestants received shocks while wading through a tangle of electrified cables at a power station, claiming that the show would inspire copycats and thus kill off customers. (Fortunately, no other power company copied a previous FirstEnergy episode in which its negligence left half of America without electricity.)
In response to the complaint, WKYC, NBC's Cleveland affiliate, aired a warning across the screen cautioning people not to electrocute themselves at home.
The last word
The newest edition of Webster's Dictionary includes entries for Harvard and Yale. Conspicuously absent, however, is any mention of the Oxford of Ohio, Kent State University.
Luckily, urbandictionary.com doesn't have scabs running the show. The site, which lets users input their own words and definitions, currently defines Kent State as:
A) A really shitty school where nothing ever goes on Friday nights and we get pissed so we drive 2.5 hours to BG where one of my friends gets an underage for peeing behind a building!!
B) College in northeastern Ohio that is overrun by cute, but annoying, black squirrels imported from Canada by a janitor over 30 years ago. Mascot is an eagle/lightning bolt.
Park it elsewhere?
When Geauga Lake was purchased by industry giant Cedar Fair last April, the new owners quickly dedicated themselves to pissing off their customers.
They started by refusing to honor admission vouchers awarded to schoolkids by the previous owner. They also routinely shut down multiple rides for maintenance without notifying guests in advance, shrewdly toughened their policy toward disabled riders, and charged people $8 for parking even when they were just stopping by to get their new season pass.
In no time, a day at the park teemed with all the fun of a Garfield Heights council meeting.
So an optimist might assume the park's new user-friendly website is a sign that management has learned the error of its ways. "Our guests want instantaneous and up-to-date information at their fingertips," reads a press release.
Instantaneous and up-to-date? As in, updates on what rides may be shut down so you won't have to buy a $14,000 ticket just to ride the kiddie roller coaster all day?
"That's not something on the site for right now," offers amiable spokeswoman Lexi Robinson. "It's typically not something Cedar Fair parks would do."
Serving you, dear reader
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