The Judge’s Daughter: I Solemnly Swear . . .

By Pamela Buchmeyer

Congratulations, gentle reader, you’ve made it to the new year: 2022. The past 12 months have certainly been a roller coaster ride. But let us return now to the comforting tradition of making New Year’s resolutions.

Last year, I promised to diet, exercise, and give up all ice cream, fried food, and alcohol. Fourteen days later, I’d lost approximately two weeks. Thus, prompting the (reluctant) conclusion that New Year’s resolutions are not as easy as they look. This year I’m going to craft mine with plenty of weasel room and loopholes.

Plus, I’m going to add some gravitas, by leading off my self-improvement pledges with the words, “I solemnly swear ... ” To stop drinking orange juice after brushing my teeth. To refrain from eating rutabags, smothered liver, and/or lime party punch.

Moreover, I solemnly swear to sign up for a marathon and then quite bravely not show up. Plus, I will seize every possible opportunity this year to use the words verisimilitude, consanguinity, and doohickey.

And if that doesn’t work, I’m going to adopt the traditionn set by my late father Judge Jerry L. Buchmeyer (who wrote a humor column for the Texas Bar Journal for 28 years). Every January, he used to famously say “I resolve to stop making New Year’s resolutions.”

Let me know your (humorous) resolutions at Also, many thanks for sending in funny pet names after my last column. Shout out to: Luther, the shepherd puppy, who was maybe named for Martin Luther, the founder of the Lutheran Church, or maybe for Luther Perkins, the guitarist for Johnny Cash (the owners are still debating). And to both the squirrel Tovarish (Russian for Comrade) in Paige and to Tootie, the cat who lost the name Fiona after demonstrating unbearable flatulence during her first trip home!

I Solemnly Swear ... Yes to Wed, No to Lock

A seasonal legal quotation from a Dallas lawyer who is also a bard enthusiast. Shakespeare, Measure for Measure, Act II, Scene i.

Q: Is that the only wife you ever had?
A: The only wife I ever married.

Q: And this was a ceremonial marriage that you had?
A: No. We got married in Henrietta, Texas.
Q: What was the nature of your acquaintance?
A: Oh, there wasn’t no nature to it, nothing like that, at all. No nature to it. We were just friends, that’s all.

Q: How many times have you been married?
A: I guess this is the second time. The first wife died, and they called this marriage the cotton patch license. (My grandmother says the former granted those out in the field as opposed to a judge in the courthouse).

Inward Medicine and Insolent Treatment

More from von Sternberg’s lifelong passion for collecting humorous testimony. He notes that an inordinate number of lawsuits involve personal injuries and the medical treatment that follows.

Q: What is Dr. Adams doing?
A: Well, medical he puts on me, and surgical, too … he is giving me medical to take inward.
Q: To take enemas?
A: Inward. Inward medicine.
Q: Pills and things?
A: Yes, sir. You are old enough to know that. Medicine they give you to take inward. You ain’t going to put it on the outside.

Q: What did the doctor tell you about your condition?
A: He said I had worked up a bad case of lazy.

This sounds like my grandmother talking below. She also had “the sugar” a.k.a. diabetes.

Q: What kind of treatment did he give you?
A: Insolent treatment. [Insulin]

I think I know the following medical practitioner myself.

Q: Do you have a family doctor?
A: Yes, sir, Dr. Alexander Smith. He is a specialist.
Q: What is his specialty?
A: He’s a neurotic.

It’s a Matter of Perspective

From my father’s sentencing files. The defendant was expected to plead guilty, and Dad was going through the litany of pre-sentencing questions in a manner that he reluctantly admitted was rather stilted and scripted.

Judge Buchmeyer: Are you giving this plea of guilty because of coercion or duress?
A: Coercion.
[This unexpected answer was followed by an immediate albeit brief conference between defendant and his counsel.]
A: Your honor, I change my answer. It’s duress.

Another defendant, a bank robber, in my father’s court, after sentencing loudly condemned everyone in court—the prosecutors, the jurors, the audience—to eternal damnation in hell. Fortunately, Judge Buchmeyer had already left the courtroom because his doohickey had broken, and he had another hearing with a family of litigants related by various degrees of consanguinity and so Dad had the court reporter (who was not von Sternberg) correct the transcript to reflect that Judge Buchmeyer had not in fact received the verisimilitude of a curse. New Year’s resolution done!TBJ



is an attorney and award-winning writer who lives in Dallas and Jupiter, Florida. Her work-in-progress is a humorous murder mystery, The Judge’s Daughter. She can be contacted at

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