A lawyer set to begin a federal trial in Tampa asked the judge for a Friday off from the court. The reason? To participate in an Ernest Hemingway look-alike contest.
“Undersigned counsel, a perennial contestant in the Ernest Hemingway Look-alike Contest, is scheduled to appear … at Sloppy Joe’s Bar in Key West, Florida, at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, July 20, 2012,” wrote St. Petersburg lawyer Frank Louderback, who definitely looks the part and has competed three times for the honor.
U.S. District Judge Steven D. Merryday’s response showed some real literary chops and might have betrayed him as a Papa-fan himself. Unfortunately for Louderback, having a Hemingway fan for a judge didn’t help him get out of court, and in fact, provided some defense for him to stay, reports Newser.
“Between a murder-for hire trial and an annual look-alike contest, surely Hemingway, a perfervid admirer of ‘grace under pressure’ would choose the trial,” wrote the judge.
The judge then invoked Dorothy Parker, who once wrote that Hemingway “works like hell, and through it,” wrapping up his well-rounded denial with “Perhaps a lawyer who evokes Hemingway can resist relaxing frolic in favor of solemn duty. Or at least, ‘Isn’t it pretty to think so?’ ” (Ed note: you might recognize that last bit from Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises).
“Best of luck to counsel in next year’s contest,” concluded Merryday. “The motion … is DENIED.”
“It’ll give me another year to get older, fatter and grayer,” a defeated Louderback said. Though he will have a private jet on standby just in case he gets out early enough, reports the Tampa Bay Times.
P.S. – perfervid: marked by overwrought or exaggerated emotion; excessively fervent. via Merriam-Webster. Impress your friends!