Magazine

From the September 2013 magazine.

September 2013: Double Trouble

There's more than one way to anger a judge who wants to give you the gavel

By the time I was 19, I was already married and my wife was pregnant. I got into trouble drinking right from the start. I was landing in jail, wrecking cars and blacking out. The year was 1951 and the Korean War was on. My twin brother and I went down to join the Marines, but they wouldn’t take us. We tried the Navy, and they wouldn’t take us either. So my brother joined the Army. While he went to Korea, I began my own war with booze. I couldn’t hold down a job. In one year, I actually had about 20 W-2 forms at tax time. My drinking became worse and I landed in jail a lot. The last time I was in front of a judge, he told me that the next time I came in front of him, he would give me six months in Jimmyville, N.Y. That’s where they make small rocks out of big rocks. Well, that scared the hell out of me. Thoughts of going to Jimmyville did make drinking harder for me.

After two years, my brother returned from Korea. One night, he and I were out drinking, and a fight broke out. The cops came and took my brother off to jail. I went home and went to bed. I woke up with an awful hangover and all of a sudden I thought of my brother in jail and what the judge had told me. So I hurried down to the courthouse. I took a seat in the back row and watched as they brought my brother in front of the judge.

-- Robert B.

Tucson, Arizona

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