Monday, March 26, 2012


This was me doing my work
while a film crew was trying to
capture the workings of of the
clerks who kept the courtroom
up and going.  (Yes, that is my
real hair!)
Back in the mid 70s I worked as a Courtroom Clerk at the Culver City Municipal Court.  At that time it was a small court with only one judge and one courtroom.  In the clerk's office there were 6 women who did the business end of the court; all the way from traffic tickets to small claims and civil law suites.  Once in a while we had an arraignment on a major crime, but mostly it was the small stuff that went through out court.

All of the women worked very closely together and we became kind of like a family.  We ate lunch together, bowled together and often went out together.  Each year one of us was rotated into the "PARTY PLANNER" position.  It was this person's job to put together a birthday party for for each lady's birthday.  It was held in the break room during the afternoon breaks.   As a perk, the "PARTY PLANNER was given the whole afternoon to set up and break down the party.  My second year at the court I suddenly found myself in that position.

In two years, the gals in the clerk's office had enough time to get a read on me.  They knew I was accident prone, was a tad unpredictable, and was not beneath playing a practical joke now and then.  Bottom line was to unanimously DRAFT KAREN!

As for me I really didn't want the job because I knew that I would end up working my heart out making it something EPIC each time;  and I did.  Every party I threw had a theme based on what I knew about the person of honor. All of the decorations were hand made and colorful.  And, here's the clincher, each party incorporated a practical joke into the mix.

The first party started off with a bang (or rather a "slumphhhhhh!").   The break room was beautiful. Hand made paper flowers made a gorgeous center piece.  Each person had their own hand made paper corsage and BIB (key word).  Also, at the place of honor sat a  beautiful, home made cake.  We also had ice cream and a bowl full of punch.  Everything looked NORMAL.

We always did the cake cutting at the beginning of the afternoon  breaks so everyone could be there to sing happy birthday and watch the blowing out of the candles and the cutting of the cake.  I remember Mary sitting down while everyone sang happy birthday to her.  

Now, Mary was the #2 head honcho, very quiet, prim, and proper.  I began to feel butterflies in my stomach as this was a SPECIAL cake that I had baked and decorated myself.  I held my breath (and backed up a little) as I handed Mary the cake knife.  You see, Mary's cake was booby trapped.  There was a balloon neatly tucked into the center of the three layer cake with thick yummy icing spread over it's bulging top.  I had made sure that Mary had a large bib to cover her clothes as she dressed meticulously.

Mary leaned forward with an intent look on her face and placed the sharp cake knife in the dead center of the cake.  She gently pushed down (I stepped back a little further).  But, instead of the POP I expected there was a sloughing sound as the balloon collapsed.  The weight of the icing caused it to implode and sink into the void left by the balloon.

Mary's mouth was hanging open as a look of disbelief spread across her face.  For a brief moment everyone in the room had a mixed assortment of facial expressions, not quite comprehending what they had just witnessed.  Then the whole room erupted with laughter.  Actually, I was relieved, because I didn't know how far a POPPED balloon could fling icing.  I quickly pulled out the real cake and a good time was had by all (including the judge who had come out of his chambers to see what the uproar was about.  And I might add, from then on, he took a recess for each party so he could participate).

Well, at this point the cat was out of the bag so I had to be more devious.  I knew they would be expecting something so for the next party I put those trick candles on the cake and Betty thought that was the surprise.  However, as Betty put the knife into her cake she soon found out that she, also, had been had.

The knife went in smooth as silk, and then Betty went to pull it out.  The cake remained on the knife and as she pulled the knife up and away she found herself sitting there with a piece of beautifully iced styrofoam raised into the air.  

The neat part about my parties was to watch the look on my victims faces as they would go from flummoxed to flabbergasted to flat out hysterical.

I let one birthday go by without any cake shenanigans.  I had set the break room up with children's tables and chairs.   It was decorated like a play room.  You should have seen these prim women and marshals (packing heat) sitting gingerly in the small chairs.  It was a hoot!

The last cake I did was frozen and the gal wielding the knife was about 6 foot tall and muscular.  She bent the darned knife as she stabbed it into the cake.  People were lying on the table laughing with tears running down their faces.

They asked me to take the party planner position again the following year, but I declined.  I said that I had run out of ideas and my parties were too rowdy for the courthouse.  My only regret is that I didn't take pictures.

kt 2/26/12


  1. I can't comment--I'm still laughing too much!!!

  2. LOL! this is so amazing! ;D you know you had a real tallent! ;D

    I would love something like that for my birthday ;D what better way to celebrate than laughing your ass off? ;D

    and btw - that picture is amazing! :)

  3. OK - I have a question - When you and I leave this life, can I come back as your SISTER, cause between the two of us, we are going to have a lotta fun. I absolutely love the fact that we are in a similar league of "Being called upon to liven it up". Thanks for a great laugh KT and YES, I wish you had photos.

  4. p.s. OOOps, love the hairdo - you remind me of my SISTER :)

  5. You are my idol. Too bad there wasn't any video. You'd be a YouTube sensation.

  6. Sounds like a blast! I think working with you would have been a hoot! Flummoxed and flabbergasted, huh? LOL

  7. That is my crazy gma. Lmfao!!!!!!