Todd Hartley: I’m With Stupid |

Todd Hartley: I’m With Stupid

Todd Hartley
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO, Colorado

We all know that American society is far too litigious, right? I mean, hardly a day goes by that some imbecile doesn’t sue McDonald’s because they blame Big Macs for making them obese, and stories abound of prisoners suing states because they can’t get Count Chocula behind bars or some such nonsense. But if you’ve ever wondered just how maddening things have gotten, two recent incidents are virtually guaranteed to get your blood boiling.

(Legal note: If your blood does, indeed, start boiling as a result of reading about said incidents, you may not sue me or the publication wherein you are reading this column. We’re just the messengers, people.)

The more recent of the two incidents took place last week when a California man named Henry Wolf sued BMW of North America and Corbin-Pacific, a maker of motorcycle seats, because he claims that the seat on his 1993 motorcycle gave him an erection that lasted for – get this – 20 months. In case you’re wondering, that’s 20 months, as in four months shy of two years.

Right off the bat, I see a couple of problems with this lawsuit. First of all, there’s virtually no chance that Wolf hasn’t seen or heard an advertisement for Viagra, Cialis or some other drug that treats erectile dysfunction. And as we are all aware from having been exposed to such ads thousands of times, if one experiences an erection lasting longer than four hours, one is supposed to call a doctor immediately.

How could someone have possibly allowed a condition like that to persist for 14,396 hours longer than what is typically deemed a medical emergency? Was Wolf somehow unaware that having an erection for a year and a half was abnormal?

The other problem with Wolf’s lawsuit is that, as Dr. Michael Luts, of the Michigan Institute of Urology, pointed out, there is “no medical data” to support Wolf’s claim. There have been cases of men being rendered impotent from riding motorcycles for extended periods of time, but thus far no one has gotten so aroused by a motorcycle that they ended up with priapism, also known as a long-lasting erection.

And realistically, if Wolf found the experience of riding his motorcycle so titillating that it gave him an erection, shouldn’t he be thanking BMW and Corbin-Pacific instead? Talk about a joyride. If riding BMW motorcycles really got men so heated up that they got erections, don’t you think BMW would have worked that into its ads by now?

The second incident took place a couple of weeks ago when a woman from San Diego (why do these things always seem to happen in California?) won a class-action lawsuit against Nutella, the delicious hazelnut-chocolate spread made by Ferrero USA Inc.

The woman, Athena Hohenberg, sued Nutella for $3.05 million because she claimed she was under the impression that Nutella was health food, and she had been feeding it to her 4-year-old daughter. When she learned “through the grapevine” that Nutella had virtually no nutritional value, she was so shocked that she decided she just had to sue.

Now, I don’t know Athena Hohenberg, so I can’t say with any degree of certainty what sort of person she is. She may be wonderful, but if she claims not to have realized that Nutella was unhealthy, she is either irredeemably stupid or a lying bloodsucker.

It’s Nutella, you moron! Was there something about the rich, chocolatey taste and outrageous sugar and fat content that you didn’t understand? I know you claimed that you were deceived by Nutella’s ads, which called it part of a balanced breakfast, but if you thought it was good idea to feed it to your 4-year-old, you’re a bad parent.

And let me tell you this, Athena: If the price of Nutella goes up as a result of your little lawsuit … well, I won’t hunt you down and beat you, but I will spend the rest of my days sending evil thoughts your way.

As usual, in a case like this, I’m going to assume that Hohenberg was perfectly aware that Nutella is unhealthy, but she sensed an opportunity to profit by acting like a blithering idiot, and she found a lawyer unethical enough to take the case. But my question is: Why do we keep rewarding these people? Seriously. It seems like the stupider you are in America, the greater your chances of getting paid.

Actually, that can’t really be true. Otherwise, I’d be a very rich man.

Todd Hartley once sued gravity for making him heavier than he thought he was. To read more or leave a comment, visit

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