Odd Files

Self-Appreciation

Everyone’s Above Average: Ask Americans how they stand compared to their fellow countrymen, and in survey after survey, the vast majority rank themselves “above average” in such areas as driving skill, sexual prowess, and general honesty.

A recent study of English prisoners, published in the British Journal of Social Psychology, revealed that those miscreants think they, too, are in the upper half. They rate themselves above average (whether compared to Britons in prison or in society at large) in compassion, generosity, dependability, trustworthiness and honesty.

In fact, the only trait on the University of Southampton survey on which the criminals failed to rank themselves as better than the typical Brit was “law-abidingness.” On that trait, the inmates rated themselves merely as “average.”

Compelling Explanations

Robert Bourque, 55, was convicted of DUI in Sarnia, Ontario, in October, but continued to deny the charge. He admitted he had four beers on the day of the traffic stop but said the Breathalyzer result was misleading because he had recently poured alcohol into his ears to test his theory about how Jesus healed the sick. (Bourque was acting as his own lawyer.) Toronto Sun, 10-11-2013]

The mother and other relatives of William Medina, 24, said they felt hurt by the public’s comments suggesting that Medina and his partner in the November Reading, Pa., armed robbery were “thugs.” William was a “family man” — “no big hard criminal,” his mother said.

The two robbers, armed and wearing masks, were gunned down by a Krick’s Korner customer who said he feared the worst when he saw the robbers leading a store employee at gunpoint into a back room. A Medina cousin said he deplored people’s taking the law into their own hands.

Ironies

Celebrity Ironies: (1) In December, a California appeals court endorsed actor Tippi Hedren’s victory suing the lawyer who had earlier failed to win compensation for her from a 2006 studio accident. In Hedren’s most famous movie role, she was attacked by birds in Alfred Hitchcock’s iconic film, and in 2006 had been clobbered by falling scenery caused by birds nesting in an attic over a stage.

(2) A man who won a Hollywood raffle to watch the finale of “Breaking Bad” with cast members was arrested in Fort Myers, Fla., in January and faces his own intent-to-sell drug charges. Two weeks earlier, unrelated to the show or the raffle, a man with the same name as the show’s protagonist (Walter White) was sentenced in Billings, Mont., to 12 years in prison on drug charges.

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