Friday, August 30, 2013

Judge Alex's Inferiority Complex

Judge Alex Ferrer

Pinterest didn't like the previous photo. We'll see if we have more luck with this one.

Judge Alex Ferrer recently visited an art show or art gallery or something of that nature.  If His Honor is not exaggerating his lack of artistic talent or being overly modest, it seems that he is not particularly gifted in the area  of visual arts, and his visit to the art show or gallery highlighted his lack of artistic ability. It is therefore time to restore Judge Ferrer's sense of self esteem

Judge Ferrer came to the U.S. as an infant. His brother were older, and presumably (especially the oldest of the three brothers) began  mastery of the the English language as Judge Alex was just beginning  to speak. The Judge's parents were probably also eager to learn English or to perfect existing English language skills, so they likely relied on the oldest brother's emerging language skills to master or perfect English themselves. At the same time, Spanish would have been spoken in the home as well. The judge's grandparents probably spoke only Spanish.  

It's a great thing to be able to speak two languages, and the more fluently, the better. At the same time, I know because my mother worked as a school psychologist for most of my life, and parents tend to bring their work home with them mentally if not physically,  that many children in such situations become caught between the two languages being spoken in the home and fail to master either language fully. They develop language disorders that slow their development of fluency in either language, which greatly interferes with the ability to read and write, and often even seeps over into the logistical / mathematical side of learning. In any event, my mother says, one of the major causes of learning disabilities in today's students is the quandary of being caught between languages and failing to become fluent in either language.

For whatever reason, this did not happen to Judge Ferrer. Perhaps he was just smarter than the average baby caught in such a situation, and maybe Chinese and Norwegian could have been thrown into the mix as well, and he still would have come out in a linguistically strong position. Perhaps his parents were smarter than the average parents and handled the language acquisition  carefully. Maybe they ensured that he mastered one language before allowing another language to be spoken in the home, or maybe they simply spoke either Spanish or English, and did not mix the two in a given conversation.  Either he was very linguistically gifted  or his parents  managed his language acquisition perfectly, or both. Tens of thousands of nearly-one-year-olds speaking a language other than English enter this country yearly. Most do not grow up to be judges, either in real life, on television, or both.

Judge Ferrer probably could have become an athlete -- perhaps a football player -- unless his build has changed drastically since  he was young. In his day, 170 to 180 pounds spread over  a 6'1" frame probably would have been ideal for a high school defensive back or a safety. If he had much of a throwing arm, he might have been a quarterback. His build also might have allowed him to become a skilled tennis player. Instead, he spent his free time working and studying. He worked at a gas station in high school, beginning at the age of fifteen, gradually earning more responsibility at the job and presumably higher wages. He learned not to spend everything he earned.

His persistence eventually persuaded someone in charge to allow him to enter a police academy at the age of eighteen -- while he was still wearing braces that he probably paid for at least in part with his own earnings. He completed police academy and worked  for the Coral Gables Police Department at the age of nineteen, which made him at the time the youngest police officer in the State of Florida.  His parents advised him to continue his education, because being a police officer might not be what he would want to do for the rest of his life.  

Judge Ferrer juggled his schedule and took classes at whatever college in the area worked for him at a given time, depending upon his work schedule as a police officer. He plodded on until he earned a bachelor's degree. Then, with sufficiently high GPA and LSAT scores, he was admitted to the prestigious University of Miami School of Law, where he was a published member of the school's Law Review. He earned his Juris Doctorate and practiced civil law  until he ran for and was elected to the post of Circuit Court Judge in the Eleventh Court judicial Circuit. I believe he was the first Cuban-American in the jurisdiction to be elected to a judicial post.  In this position, he presided over many high profile cases.

Judge Ferrer asked that his name be removed from consideration by then-Governor Jeb Bush for a seat in Florida's Third District Court of Appeal. (He was the only unanimously recommended candidate for this position.) Soon thereafter,  "Judge Alex, " a syndicated small claims courtroom show, premiered on September 12, 2005. Eight years later, the show continues its run.  

Jude Ferrer has been married to the same lovely woman since the late 1980's. He has two children, one of whom is [I think] in law school. The other is completing his undergraduate degree. Both of his children are, from all accounts, law-abiding citizens. Much credit for his children's success in life in general  and lack of trouble with school or the law likely belongs to their mother, yet Judge Ferrer, too, undoubtedly deserves a share of the accolades.
Judge Ferrer tragically lost two brothers in adolescence and young adulthood, one to Type I Diabetes and another to lymphoma.  As his parents' only surviving offspring, he assists them when necessary, accompanying them to doctors' appointments, helping them to make car purchases, killing bugs which sometimes turn out not to be bugs, and other such tasks for which elderly parents who are fortunate enough to have dutiful children rely upon those children.

Judge Ferrer earned his pilot's license in his teens. He plays the bass. He plays golf. He scuba dives. He runs marathons. He has an almost unparalleled sense of humor. Other TV judges may be funny at times, but not as consistently as is Judge Ferrer. An honorable aspect to his wit is his sense of self-deprecation. (His bailiffs, too, are fodder for his humor, but it seems that they understand such comes with the job.) His litigants bear the brunt of his jokes only when they earn it either with ignorance too blatant to be overlooked or with disrespect. In terms of repeated disrespect from litigants, he responds not with humor, but by throwing the litigants and their cases out of his courtroom. His courtroom is consistently  in order except for the times the audience is laughing uproariously at hysterically funny comments the judge has made.

Judge Ferrer does not draw well. His artwork, it seems, is limited to stick figures. Neither does he play the violin nor the piano.  Does anyone really feel sorry for this man because of his flagrant lack of talent? 

I didn't think so.


  1. Sounds like you found yet another worthy role model. I should watch Judge Alex's show more often.

  2. I shared your post with my RfM friend whose sister is married to Judge Alex.

    He says: "Actually my sister is really good at the arts...but Alex is being humble...he is very good as well...lots of women are gaga over him...I wonder when or if he will stop coloring his hair... VERY CONSERVATIVE..."hanging Alex" was one of his nicknames he likes...he even had a t-shirt that had that on it. he is VERY SMART...loves to solve puzzles like metal rings and stuff he used to have them all hanging in his circuit court office.."

    And if you ever want more Judge Alex insights, he's happy to dish!

  3. I'd love to hear more from him. I can't remember his screen name at RFM, but I knew at one time, and he made a reference to not being married, so I knew he had to be a Sheehan (Judge Alex's wife's brother) as opposed to being married to one of the sisters. The Sheehans are a big Irish and originally Catholic family (7 or 8 kids) that migrated from Minnesota to Florida. I don't know how many retained their Catholicism. I'm curious as to his link to Mormonism.

    the judge has said that he would prefer to stop coloring his hair because his wife likes the natural "gray at the temples" look, but the production company that oens his show insists on it. Regardless, he's going to look sillt if he's still coloring his hair at 65.

    1. Incidentally, Bob Barker colored his hair until he was really old. He finally went white when he was in his 70s, I think. It looked weird because he always had a really dark tan.

      I think bignevermo just likes reading all the stories, kinda like I do. Some of them are mind blowing.

    2. Reminds meof our heartthrob Pat Boone with his white hair and tan, except Bob Barker managed to avoid the total California Raisin effect, though perhaps surgically. The Price is Right will never be the same without Bob Barker. My mom said Bob Barker used to host some show called, "Truth or Consequences" back in the day.

  4. His name is John Sheehan and on RfM, he's bignevermo, though he hasn't hung out there lately. I haven't as much either, though I did post tonight.

    I actually watched Judge Alex today and thought of you. ;-)

  5. I've seen the guy's show on rare occasions when I'm home during the day on weekdays. his rulings seem fair and he is funny. I knew nothing of his background. I suppose you could say he's a personification of the American Dream.