Ed Tuttle’s mid-life crisis takes place when he’s been an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court. He’s no longer at ease with his life, questioning even the meaning of language. He recognizes this is a problematic development in general but particularly in the wordy field of law. But his wife is dead; his daughter, the famous chef, occupied with her culinary challenges, so at the end of the Court’s term, when his colleagues depart on their routine law junkets in Venice and Paris, Tuttle decides to go to Jackson Hole, where fly-fishing is the unknown attraction. He discovers that, while famous in name, his life lived outside of the judicial robe requires constant explanation of what it is, exactly, that he does inside the Court to the befuddled characters he encounters on the Snake River. Or the importance of it, something Tuttle had begun to wonder about himself. Take Jackie, with whom he has pretty good sex in the motel after a day spent mostly untangling fish wire: “I can’t believe,” Jackie whispers, “that I ate an elk steak and did it with a Supreme Court Justice on the same night.”
No surprise to hear Jay Wexler, the author of The Adventures of Ed Tuttle, Associate Justice, once had a dream to be a sit-com writer. He may yet get there, since his sharply pitched sense of comedic timing and gesture created laughter and chuckles throughout his performance on October 1, when he read from recent work at the South End Library. Wexler's work ponders the subject of people like him, a tenured professor of law at BU or, for that matter, Supreme Court Justices who have the job security to stretch themselves beyond normally acceptable boundaries but continue to live traditional lives as if nothing changed. “They could do crazy things,” Wexler commented with apparent regret, “but associate justices don’t. And I am interested in how that plays.”
Apart from his solid –“but boring” according to Wexler himself—academic writings, Wexler’s previous work includes Holy Hullabaloos, a trip to the battlegrounds of church/state wars, and The Odd Clauses, a look at, yes, the odd clauses in the US Constitution.