A few years ago, I was backing out of a parking space, when a woman flagged me down to tell me that I'd just hit her car. She showed me the damage to her bumper, which had paint marks of three different colors, none of which matched the color of my car. She said that we wouldn't have to involve authorities or my insurance company if I just paid to repair the damage. I knew I was being scammed, but couldn't just drive away because the woman already had my plate number. So I thought about what Judge Judy would do, and told the woman to call the cops, because I knew that JJ would say that if I'd done nothing wrong, I shouldn't be afraid to involve the police. The cops showed up, took one look at my car, saw that it hadn't been washed in ages, and pointed out that I couldn't have possibly hit the woman's car, because none of the dust on my bumper was disturbed. It was then that I realized that Judge Judy has been instrumental in teaching me to act like a responsible adult. After the jump, the 10 life lessons I learned from JJ.1.) "Um" is never an answer. When you're asked a question (particularly if Judge Judy is the one asking) don't ever, ever, ever begin your answer with "um." It makes you look stupid, and more importantly, it makes you look like a liar. And no one wants to look like a stupid liar. 2.) Beauty fades, dumb is forever. A lot of people try to coast by on their looks. And that might work for a while, but eventually those people won't be as conventionally attractive as they were in their youth. If you don't wise up and learn to use your brain instead of your body, you'll have a way tougher time getting by in life. However, while beauty does fade, there's always tasteful plastic surgery to keep it from going completely down the tubes. 3.) Don't ever co-sign on a loan. Unless you're married to someone, you should never co-sign on a loan, because both parties are jointly and individually responsible for repayment. So if you co-sign with a boyfriend for a loan on a car, and then you break up, and then he decides to be a dick and not make the payments, your credit will get royally fucked up. 4.) Honestly is the only policy. If you tell the truth, you have nothing to worry about or be afraid of, because shit won't come back to bite you in the ass. Case in point, the woman who accused me of hitting her car. She was totally lying, which is why she didn't want me to call the cops. But I was telling the truth, so I had nothing to be afraid of. 5.) If you are going to lie, you have to have a really good memory. So if you do plan on lying to get out of a situation, you need to be smart, because stupid people always get caught in their lies. Think the entire thing through, cross-examine yourself in your head. Think of every possible scenario which could trip you up, and memorize the shit out of your story. Or, you can just go with lesson #4 and never lie to begin with. 6.) If you help out a boyfriend/girlfriend financially, it does not automatically turn into a loan at the end of the relationship. If you pay your BF's parking tickets, and then six months later you break up, you can't go asking for that money back. You should've been asking for it back during those six months that you were together. Think of the lost money as an expense for a bullet dodged. 7. Put on your listening ears. If someone is talking to you, don't pull an Elisabeth Hasselbeck and utilize the time to think of what you're going to say when the person is through talking. Actually listen, and maybe you'll learn something. 8.) You can't put your hands on anybody. Sometimes the idea of punching someone in the face is so fucking tempting that you can hardly stand it. But you really shouldn't ever resort to hitting anyone, because it just makes it seem like you aren't smart enough to win your argument with words. However, if they hit you first, you can go apeshit on them in "self-defense." 9.) Parents don't borrow money from their children. Unless you're trash or a Lohan. And nobody wants to be trash or a Lohan. 10.) Don't be an idiot. There's a lot that falls under this category. Like not forgetting to bring receipts and bank transactions to court when you're suing someone. Or not keying the car of your ex-boyfriend's new girlfriend. Common sense is underrated. For this category, think of Judge Judy holding court in your conscience. You'll never make a stupid decision ever again.