Judge John Hodgman Episode 86: The Statute of Physical Limitations


Shumanay brings this week's case against her husband Jon. A chronic illness has long prevented Shumanay from engaging in strenuous physical activity, but recent improvements in her condition have allowed her to take up running. She would like to take advantage of her new abilities by participating in a long-distance endurance run with obstacles, but Jon objects to the plan, citing possible threats to Shumanay's health and a belief that Shumanay's chosen race is silly and embarrassing. Who is in the right? Judge John Hodgman decides.



Evidence from Shumanay:

Email testimony from her brother Nick, who has previously participated in the race Shumanay wishes to run:

Dear Judge Hodgman,
My sister Shumanay could benefit from participating in the Tough Mudder next October. The purpose of this event is to push yourself mentally and physically, it is not a race. As a member of our six person team, Shu will be helped through the parts she finds difficult, as well as helping the others through the sections they find difficult (Plus, it's a chance to get all muddy). I admire Shumanay's desire to set a goal and push herself given her past health issues.

I think finishing the Tough Mudder would give her a great sense of accomplishment and would be a victory for her physically. Jon has said that the Tough Mudder is "lame"; having ran in last years event I can tell you that it is not. It's a chance to prove to yourself that you're still a bad-ass, even at this age. A chance for Shumanay to regain her physical self confidence after dealing with pain for so long. I challenge Jon to take part in next years event as well. So that he can see and feel the camaraderie that develops between sisters and brothers, teammates and friends, and in fact all the Tough Mudder participants......... And that feeling is definitely NOT lame.

Thank you.
Nick Hancock
Loving Brother

Evidence from Jon

A presentation showing the silliness of the Tough Mudder race (PDF)



Am I the only one who noticed that one of Jon's objections was that his wife wouldn't enjoy the obstacles because she hates being cold and wet, yet the 2 alternate sports proposals were surfing (wet and sometimes cold) or snow-skiing (cold and sometime wet). I call illogic!

Pain management?

I've been dealing with chronic joint pain for 30+ years and my doctors have been useless. Can Judge Hodgeman or Shumany please let me know the name of Shumany's pain doctor?

Reflections from a "controlling monster"

Sometimes I am a “controlling monster”, and unfortunately it’s now been caught on tape for all to hear. For the record I have decided that if Shu is in fact going to participate in this “challenge” I will participate with her. We have been through a lot of tough circumstances during our almost 15 years of marriage and have always gotten through them as a team. So if Shu is going to willingly subject herself to this brutal challenge, it will be my honor to be the one pushing her into the muddy icy waters and dragging her through the electrodes.


Jon (controlling monster)

Reflections from a "controlling monster"