So I spent my weekend judging Miss New Hampshire 2006 and I'm just beginning to recover. Last night, the judges and officials stayed up until 3:30 a.m. evaluating the candidates and coming up with suggestions for improvements in the performance and appearance of the winner (Emily Hughes: Miss Winnipesaukee), to prepare her for the Miss American competition. I’m finally back at home after three nights sequestered in a hotel, van, limo or nice restaurant, surrounded by people for whom the Miss America track runs straight to the heart. (One judge from Atlanta knew the contestants AND RUNNERS UP from virtually every state for the past 20 years. Even the local Miss NH geeks were impressed.) As the “novice judge” I was frequently asked what I thought of everything and, in truth, it was fun and fascinating, but I'm just realizing the profundity of the psychological effect of all this "judging" of smart, beautiful, driven women. Looking back, it seems like an unnatural relationship, a little schizoid, simultaneously voyeuristic and paternal. I feel like I may need some Lithium, or a deprogrammer.