Kansas City, MO, Halloween 2007: One of my best friends, Josh, had been on an episode of the popular court TV show, Judge Mathis. Although he won the case, he was incredibly embarrassed by the whole ordeal and didn't want anyone he knew to see the episode. He was given a DVD of his appearance on the show by the producers and he never showed it to anyone. He was so mortified by his appearance on the show that he even changed banks because one of the tellers at his old bank recognized him from the episode that aired a few months after the taping. Now, here is where the Internet comes into the story.
One night after a Halloween party, our entire group of friends piled into a few booths at IHOP and somehow we got on the subject of Josh's Judge Mathis episode. He vehemently told all of us that we would never see it unless we were fortunate enough to catch a re-run of the episode. I told Josh that there wasn't anything I couldn't find on the Internet and a deal was made. If I could find his episode online I could show it to anyone I wanted. Confident that I would find nothing, he quickly forgot about it.
I began my search the very next day. Within 10 minutes I had found the episode in question, a retailer and a shopping cart. I would have the infamous episode within the next 5-7 business days. Score. I had won the bet. When the episode arrived, I told two people: my friend, Kelly and her sister. I never opened the package, much to the chagrin of Kelly's sister. Regardless of the deal that was made I still felt like I would have been betraying a friend by showing anybody one of his most embarrassing moments. So I held onto the package until right before I flew home for Christmas. Yes, I kept this to myself for almost two months.
About a week before Christmas Kelly and I made the 45-minute drive out to Blue Springs, MO and knocked on Josh's door. Shocked to find us on his doorstep, we explained to him that we had come bearing Christmas gifts. He ushered us in and we chatted for a few minutes. I finally couldn't take the anticipation anymore and handed him the gift bag that contained the package of his Judge Mathis episode and urged him to open it. I was still curious to see if it was actually the correct tape. As he found the surprise that was contained within the package we saw his jaw drop. He could not believe that I had actually found it.
Josh called me the next day to tell me that it was the correct episode and that he was taking legal action against the guy who sold it to me. Apparently those tapes are not to be released without the written consent of at least one of the participants and the retailer had just recorded the episode on his Tivo when it aired. The legal action didn't really bother me at the time. I had accomplished my goal. I was ecstatic. To this day, I haven't seen the episode but that doesn't matter much to me. My objective was to prove that the Internet is an all-encompassing source of powerful information and that's exactly what I had done.