Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich has settled his dental injuries lawsuit. Kucinich became the butt of jokes here and elsewhere for his decision to file a lawsuit seeking $150,000 for injuries allegedly caused by biting into a veggie wrap that included an olive pit. He apparently concluded, wisely, that pursuing the lawsuit would only expose him to still more derision — and if there is one thing a politician just can’t stand, it is being the subject of ridicule.
Before Representative Kucinich could go quietly into the night, however, he had to explain why he decided to file his ill-advised lawsuit in the first place. This was not a good decision. Kucinich’s explanation, available on his campaign website, reminds me of the lengthy, overly detailed description you might get if you ask an elderly relative how they are feeling. And you can imagine your side of the conversation, too. “So your tooth actually split and you didn’t know it?” “Yes, I can imagine that would hurt like crazy — it certainly was brave for you to go on working despite the excruciating pain.” “I’m sure you were concerned that the anchor of your upper bridgework was affected.” By the time you heard the part about the antibiotics causing an intestinal obstruction you would be surreptitiously checking your watch and looking for a way to hit the road. Kucinich gives more detailed information about the health consequences of his chance encounter with the olive pit than President Reagan provided about surviving an assassination attempt.
Kucinich’s experience should teach every politician a lesson. If you are smart, you won’t sue under any circumstances — and if you find yourself talking about your intestinal obstructions, you probably should shut up, already.