On the Matter of the Theory of the Lawyer

Categories: Day at the Firm
Comments: 2 Comments
Published on: April 20, 2011

It’s always a problem of no.

Those two, little, consecutive letters within the English alphabet seem to trip me up more times at work (and more generally, in life) than the bare fact that my love of vodka spills over the edge of my personal life into other aspects of my life. “No” is the word that SHOULD be created in the depths of my larynx, echoed through the acoustics of my mouth, and then enunciated through my moving lips more often. Especially when four separate attorneys call within a five minute time period asking for their own personal pet projects to be completed at the same time. Instead, the disconnect occurs. Instead of saying perhaps the easiest word in the entire English language (as “no” is the ninth most common first word a baby will say,) I end up saying way too many syllables and way too many words, thereby creating a completely different outcome than the meaning of a simple NO. It would be something like, “Of course I can do that for you,” or “I’d be happy to,” or “Let me drop to my knees and –” Well, you get the picture.

So, it’s of course a day like any other. Waiting around, dawdling until about 3pm when the first call comes in. Well, this call actually has to do with a case I’m on. Hooray. Something worthwhile. Second call is a response of sorts to an email I sent out at 9am… yesterday. “Um, I really didn’t understand what you were saying in your memo, so would you mind coming to my office and explaining it to me with diagrams drawn out in crayon? Preferably in creme brulee and summer harvest. I like those colors.” The last call came surprisingly from Mr. Clean, whom I really had come to believe had been discontinued by the firm and dismantled for system parts in preparation for the pending network OS upgrade from Windows 95 to Windows XP next year. I supposedly was wrong.

“Hello, Paralegal, how are you?”

“I’m doing pretty good [I actually prefer to use poor grammar with Mr. Clean.] Yerself?”

“I am… well. I have a task that requires your immediate assistance.”

“Well, unfortunately right now, I’m –“

“I know that you have experience with PDFs and the building of them from Word documents [It only takes a press of a button…] I would like to ask you to create one of these Adobe-based files out of my social security information and send it to [some strange foreign person whom I am certain does not work for a law firm.]”

“I’d be happy to do this, Mr. Clean. [Dammit! Why didn’t I just say no?? Dammit dammit dammit dammit!!!]”

“Wonderful. I would enjoyably prefer you CC me on the email you forward to [Mr. Weird African Guy Whose Name I Cannot Pronounce.]”

Well, I really would be happy to do this for you, Mr. Clean, because you are only proving to me more that you are a robot. While Artificial Intelligence is capable of logic, it must be first learned. Obviously, Mr. Clean hasn’t been hoodwinked by our fine Nigerian business partners yet.

Then again, can you really steal the identity of an unliving and unloving thing? This theory will obviously be put to the test.

Despite the “when it rains, it pours” axiom I have gotten so used to by the sheer amount of work that drops on my desk suddenly each work day, I’ve come to realize something so much more important to the well-being of myself as well as the course of my future. You see, in a little over a month I will be taking the LSAT. Yes, I know what everyone is thinking… Oh, Jesus, we’re about to lose another one to the Dark Side. But, I really have no interest (at least, as of the posting of this blog) to become a lawyer. Lawyers, as I have mentioned in past posts are by and large the most unhappy and miserable people on the face of this planet. Why would I subject my cynicism to any more darkness?

The truth of the matter is that I want to take the LSAT just for self-satisfaction. Something to do, almost, to see how well I can score. Pear Bottom always boasts about his incredible score and continues to this day to tell me that I would never get into the top 5 schools if I had a score lower than his. And that included Georgetown. And if that’s the case, as Pear Bottom rests his pudgy hands on his widened belly, he gloats that I would never find a job as an attorney at my current law firm. Ho Ho Ho!

Where Pear Bottom is mistaken is that Georgetown is not in the top 5, but is currently ranked 14th. Well, you can’t always win, can you? So, yeah, I’m not even wanting to go to law school. And with attorneys like Pear Bottom giving me that kind of reinforcement, it makes becoming an attorney about as attractive as camel toe. Yet, I’d love to go into his office to tell him I got just one point above his.

Back to the point, the revelation I incurred this past day, which should be oh so fucking obvious to everyone in my position, is that lawyers really don’t do any work. They take the support staff’s work (i.e. paralegal’s) and then they are allowed to step onto the floor of the court and speak with the judge. Now, let me see if I get this right. You go to law school for 2 years, pay out the wazoo, probably go into debt for 20 years, so you get the ability to talk to a judge. Otherwise, you really don’t have to know crap, because you got your army of paralegals to help you convert a Word document into a fucking PDF that only takes a click of a button? It lies along the same principle as the fact that 10-15 years ago we could remember about 100 phone numbers, yet today, because of cell phones and their digital address books, most of us only recall one or two. Shit, I couldn’t even tell you GF’s phone number. That’s an emergency waiting to happen…

All in all, my theory is that you pay your way through law school to inevitably set your brain to atrophy mode. And that’s what it will do. I see all these K Street lawyers in their offices reading, watching YouTube, talking to people on the phone, but I see all of us paralegals racing through the hallways like the Incredible Flash, working so hard at the computer and at the printer, if you start conversation, their head will implode. You ask a lawyer a pretty common sense question and you get hesitation. That’s because his brain has been on idle for so long since he gets all his paralegals do EVERYTHING for him, he actually has to take the time to think if he watched the news last night. Why in God’s name would I ever subject myself to that kind of existence? I already have trouble remembering names. I’d have to start post-it noting everyday objects to remind me what they’re called.

Important Objects to Remember

‘Tis the Season

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Published on: April 5, 2011

It started out like this last year, I remember it quite well. Well enough that once it was over, I immediately began fearing it’s coming for the next year. I am on my morning Metro train at 9:40am. Any other day, I’d have missed the morning rush and would be one of about five people in this car: four of us being the late-comers to work that will soon be chastised by their coworkers for their tardiness; the other one being the unmistakable window-licking tourist. Today, as it will be for another 89 days or so, I will be sharing my once peaceful train ride with an extra 200 window-licking tourists.

This is because at the dawn of civilization (circa 1900,) the Japanese were invited to come plant a bunch of cherry blossom trees all around Washington, DC. Fast forward a century and they are all over the place. And, my my my, they make our country’s monuments even better to check out. Which is why tourists from other nations decide DC is the best place to take their vacation. From about April until June we will roughly receive a billion tourists to our town because the trees just make our monuments so much more damn beautiful. It’s also inevitable that during this time, I will cross paths with each of these billion lost and confused tourists.

Today, I am surprised to find a seat on the train. Well, perhaps not as surprised as the large, amorphous tourist whose girth has overflown from “it’s” side of the seat onto the vacant side. I made no hesitation to make my seat on half of it’s leg. Curiously, though, it didn’t seem to mind, since there was no movement or reaction, not even a twitch. It just continued to stare out at the budding cherry blossoms surrounding the Tidal Basin around Jefferson’s Memorial. Something made me think it may have been salivating and I really wanted to tell it that the trees in fact produced no cherries. But, I didn’t want to ruin it’s trip.

It’s this time of the year that actually makes me want to be at work as quickly as humanly possible.

Now, the problem with living in a town frequented by tourists is that there is an overwhelming feeling permanent residents get that we plainly do not exist or that we are a pseudo-attraction at a zoo or something. Almost like we all are frozen in one of those dioramas the tourists would find in the Smithsonian Natural History Museum and we depict human life, but, in reality, we really aren’t there.

Many towns seem to revolve around their tourism. Their economic heartbeat comes from the money brought in from visitors. I’m not sure if DC would necessarily be subjugated to the same live-or-die scenario if suddenly tourism fell off. After all, it is the seat of American government. However, I am probably not alone in thinking that most residents of the District would have no qualms in seeing one less group of bass-ackward tourists all on their Segways with that one son who just can’t figure the dang machine out.

Click to See Stupid Segway Tourists


So, if you come to DC, here’s a small list of things that YOU can do to not beleaguer the actual people who live in the city:

  1. When using public transportation, traveling through a mall, going anywhere, do not become an ESCA-LEFTER: One who stands to the left side of an escalator, not realizing that the right side is for standing, the left side is for walking. We could give two shits less if you and your chum are having a fascinating convo about that neat-o IMAX presentation you saw on Black Holes at the Aerospace Museum, other people have shit to do and you’re blocking them from being able to do it.
  2. If you really think you’re part of the cool crowd, wearing one of those CIA or FBI hats you just bought at one of the ten thousand sidewalk carts in DC will prove to us all that you are not. Take it off and keep it in your bag until you get home and can surprise Cletus and Krystal with your mad talent.
  3. Do NOT bring a whistle to round up your troops. Our eyes are already blinded by the fact you make your group of middle-schoolers wear matching neon-green t shirts so you don’t lose them. I’m sure you don’t know how to pronounce ‘collateral damage’, but that’s what you’re doing to us every time you blow that thing.
  4. Fanny pack. Don’t. Just don’t.
  5. We actually keep this place pretty clean. See that trashcan? I know you do, because there’s one within ten steps of where ever you stand in the District. Put your soggy chili cheese dog wrapper in that. Not on the sidewalk.
  6. If you see us walking faster than you, don’t ask for directions. And if you ask for a picture, we’ll take your camera and keep on walking. Seriously.

In sum, I want to give you the message of my rant:

doing overtly obvious things like these will not only aggravate the piss out of everyone around you, but (and I think you would have really thought about this before you bought two dozen bright orange TEAM SALVATION GOES TO WASHINGTON! t shirts,) you become an easy target for crime. Even if the crooks don’t pin you out at first, perhaps your already annoying nature will make them think twice about what ever it is they do.

 

What the Puck?!

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Published on: March 30, 2011

Last night, GF and I were in a random discussion with things having to do with days gone by when suddenly it popped in our heads we ought to watch some of the early reruns of one of today’s yesterday’s most wildly popular shows. The Real World. Today, if you can still believe it’s on today (I think it’s in its 25th season?), is really just a showcase of how much of a 24/7 frat party six or seven post college-age kids can throw. However, back in the day, I remember it actually stood for something with our young Generation X social crowd.

So, we started searching for it. Amazingly, we couldn’t find it on any of the numerous Internet TV sites. They didn’t even have it on Netflix. Amazon and eBay, of all places, weren’t even selling the early seasons. Finally, after about an hour of scouring the web, we were smart enough to actually look on MTV’s website. There we found The Real World: San Francisco in all it’s glory; every episode contained the original and unmuddied meaning of:

This is the true story of eight strangers picked to live in a house, work together, and have their lives taped to find out what happens when people stop being polite and start getting real.

(However, now MTV’s streaming site is being gimpy, so we have to find yet another site…)

For those that don’t remember the second season (all the way back in ’93), that was a landmark year for the show. I think that in the first season, no one, even the producers, really knew what they were doing. However, this was the moment in the series when we got to see real life drama come together in real life fashion. I think a lot of us (or maybe I’m being a little too presumptuous here) were a little too young or a little too naive to get what really was unfolding before our eyes. Understand, this was the first reality show. We would not have Big Brother, Survivor, The Bachelor, Jersey Shore, The Biggest Loser, The Real Housewives of the Jersey Turnpike, even those shows about the experts helping failing cupcake factories that my GF seems to like so much. Think about it.

Coming back to the show, if you had watched the show at all back then, you’ll immediately recognize and remember all the characters. But even though they are living in a different time, when people acted differently and lived by different social norms, you feel you understand their inter-personal struggles and even inner struggles so much more. Perhaps we all witnessed the evolution of these story lines, because they have since been so prominent in our society. In 1993, the story of the homosexual guy (Pedro) living with AIDS at such a young age moved some but, at that moment in time, really shocked others. However, homosexuality is so ubiquitous and accepted nowadays we don’t even think about it like we did back then. Most of us, straight men included, will have gay friends. My sister even had a gay friend in her wedding party. (He didn’t have to wear a dress, though.) While I watched a few Real Worlds last night though and although back in the day Pedro’s character was in a way like opening a new door to understanding ignorance and prejudice so prevalent in society, he really just annoyed the fuck out of me this time around. He was so arrogant and acted like he was the only one allowed to say ‘gay’. Now, I mean absolutely no disrespect to the deceased (he succumbed to his disease in 1994,) but he really was a whiny little bitch.

Back then, a lot of us thought Puck was a complete bad ass, while everyone else thought he was just an asshole. Within that same timeframe (and remember, this is 1993), no one had really considered the idea of ADD. While still a complete freak of nature, he should also be thought of as the poster child for what a kid without “proper medication” will grow up like. Or at least, that’s what our teachers would tell our parents, right? The fights that he would get in with his roommates were off the wall and made him look bat-shit insane, when nowadays, we would just say, “Awww… he’s just really in need of attention!” While he did get the boot for getting in too many fights with Pedro, he did have some classic lines, like: “Bike messenger is revered as a pretty big thing here in San Francisco.” Umm, okay, please tell me which town worships its paralegals.

However, more important about the show is how it illustrates how far the real world can change in, wow, almost twenty years. Now, for one, this was when MTV played music. It was when The Real World came on right before Headbanger’s Ball. MTV also had really good shows. I think this was around the time that Liquid Telivision also aired, which introduced us to Celebrity Deathmatch, Aeon Flux, even Beavis & Butthead! This is a show before the Internet… You actually see people sitting around socializing. They even all eat together each night! There are also so many throw-backs in the show. Remember the Nerf Vortex? They even talk on those crappy “video-phones,” which would have like a 5 frame per second bit-rate. I really think, though, that one of most pertinent of the show’s ‘anachronisms’ would be the black singer/poet, Mohammed. I don’t mean the person, but the fact that nobody on the show at all reacts in any way different to the fact that he is Muslim.

Before continuing, I should point out that we watched about six episodes and he has not yet expressed he is Muslim, but I am willing to say he is. Mohammed is strictly a Muslim name. No one of the Christian, Judaic, Hindu, or Shinto faith would think to name their child Mohammed.

The obvious answer to the avoidance of this issue is that this takes place before 9/11. However, and I do not want to get too political here, but this did cross my mind, but you never really see Mohammed giving faith to Allah through the Five Pillars of Islamic Faith. The one, I believe, we would most easily see on the show would be Mohammed doing his five daily prayers. However, the cameras never roll. Who knows. Maybe he does, maybe he doesn’t. Maybe the 1990’s producers thought, “Yikes, no one knows what that is! We don’t have enough time to explain that to the audience!” Fast forward a decade and just about everyone in “Christian” America knows exactly how to point out someone who follows the tenets of Islam. My point is that back then, they were so widely accepted and nobody had an ounce of fear about them. Today, it’s a totally different story.

Okay, let’s all shake off that heavy feeling we just got. We’re here to have fun and relive the good ol’ days. It’s really cool to watch this, too, if not for the human interactions, for the fact that this takes place back when nobody knew what reality TV was, so when the cast got hired to join in, they weren’t trying to act. They were genuinely being themselves. I don’t believe even the producers knew exactly the impact they would have by having the cameras follow these kids around to all the businesses around San Francisco.

Most notable was that the stars weren’t portraying some retarded persona like Audrina or Snookie or someone else completely scripted that the producer told the “reality show” actress to portray because the marketing exec told the producer that’s what kids these days are attracted to because the market researcher told the marketing exec that teenage drinking and partying is on the rise because the legal counsel told the market researcher he won a case to employ laxer restrictions on underage drinking because the paralegal showed the legal counsel a loophole in the system while three-hole punching documents. See? It always comes back to us.

And if you followed that to the end, you win. Here’s your prize.

My Biggest Week-ness

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Published on: March 24, 2011

Part I

Now that everybody’s here
Could we please have your attention?
There is nothing left to fear
Now that Bigfoot is captured
But are the children really right?
Alright, alright, alright, alright…
.
Clap Your Hands, Say Yeah, “Upon This Tidal Wave of Young Blood”

The beginning starts with family. Family and a visit to DC. My mother and my sister both fall under the same wedge on the Zodiac calendar. If I put enough stock in Astrology, I would come to know that I should stay far, far away from people like these, since the Internet experts agree we are incompatible in nearly every variable. (I should note the only reason I know of this is because my girlfriend loves this kind of stuff and to this day still enjoys reading her daily “love horoscope email.” And this is how I am so knowledgeable about the subject.) So if this is the case, that my mother and my own signs are not allowed anywhere near each other, I do not know why the great Heavens and Spirits above, between, or within would allow a family to contain such a combination of potential destruction. But thinking on it, yes, in the past, our household has been as volatile as the core of a nuclear reactor.

However, this is family we’re talking about. We’ve lived through a lot. All families have. There’s been just as much love as there has been war, and a lot more. And thankfully, I don’t believe in Astrology. In our family, we know what makes each other tick much more than some palm-reading Whoopie Goldberg-from-Ghost could ever tell us about our inner selves. (Apologies to any palm readers or crystal ball gazers out there, I mean you no offense. We all gotta eke out a living and I support any method of bending the ethics of society if it helps earn a buck!)

In getting out to meet my mother and sister, my first mistake, perhaps one among many to come, was saying, “Hi mom! Hi sis! You guys want to read my new blog?” After three decades on this Earth, I am no closer to understanding my mother than I was when she had me. On one hand, she is extremely cautious about the decisions I may make in life. She used to openly tell me in front of my group of friends, “I don’t know if you’re friends are the right choice for you.” She also got so nervous I would lose my clothes at summer camp, she wrote my name in every single article of clothing. Imagine wearing your name in lady’s cursive written in black sharpie on both of your socks as you walk around the mess hall. My friends and family joke that I grew up like Buster Bluth from Arrested Development, (which, if you have not seen, buy a Netflix membership solely to rent this TV show. It’s one of history’s best and most underrated TV shows of all time.)

Mama’s Boy

But the Buster in me is only skin deep. My mother’s controlling demeanor caused me to start acting out at an early age. Well, it was either that or the ADD. I was the kid in the Supermarket who would have his grimy little hand in the bulk candy bin. I was the kid who hid inside the circular clothes racks at department stores. At least until a man’s voice would come over the PA: “[Little Boy,] your mother is waiting for you at the front of the store.” Yes, this would happen. Now, it wasn’t that I was necessarily bad or a devil child, although those close to me would probably say different, but I had always felt that same push that I think positive magnets feel when they come close to another positive magnet. I just always wanted “away.” When I finally earned enough to get out of my parents’ nice affluent house in their nice affluent neighborhood, I didn’t think twice about moving into the toxic waste part of town. I’m not talking about the crime-ridden slums here. I’m talking about the place crime is even scared to go.

On the other hand, she has always had my best interest at the forefront. And, as you get to know my mother, you will understand that is a ginormous understatement. I wouldn’t go so far to say that she was one of those new age parents who would teach me that smooshing a roach was like killing a finger of the earth, but she did try to develop every talent she thought she saw in me at the earliest age. When I started doodling my teacher’s head being torn off his stick figure’s torso by a big black furry creature from Mars, she set me up with my own art classes. When she caught me rocking with my air guitar to Slash’s solo on “Night Train,” my Christmas present that year was a Peavey Predator EXP Guitar with a Floyd Rose double-locking tremelo. As you might be able to detect, she got a little carried away with these things. It’s a pity virtually none of these ‘talents’ were actually realized. Whenever I travel back home and open up one of my closets, old musical instruments, easels, and maps of countries I still can’t correctly pronounce look at me with the same stare of neglect as would a set of World Books.

So, it puzzled me that when I told her about my blog, she gave me this look of ‘shame on you.’ I had in mind she would be psyched that I was using my creative skills for something (even though I am in a career that’s akin to a creative black hole.) I hadn’t even given her the run-down of what it was about, or any of the possibly taken-the-wrong-way aspects of the posts. So, I asked her, “do you even know what a blog is?”

Knowing that I had spent the last five years teaching my mom how to properly turn on and send an email from her computer (yes, it is 2011, y’all,) I assumed she had probably never even heard of a blog before I brought this up. I assumed wrong.

“Don’t you know that people get fired from their jobs all the time for what they write in these logs? (Yes, she did say logs.) It’s all over Fox News these days. You know, that pregnant teacher got herself fired for logging a while back. Don’t you watch the news anymore? What are you trying to do to your life?”

I love how an almost septuagenarian asked me if I watch TV instead of read the newspaper.

“But, Mom, this is different…”

Fuck. I really don’t know where to go with this one. I couldn’t think of how to answer my mom appropriately. I mean, I knew the hazards and risks of putting my words on the web before I typed my first word. But, how am I supposed to get my mom, who is insanely stubborn, to understand what the end purpose of my blog could be? Especially if (gasp,) I even don’t?

It made me ask myself, what exactly am I trying to do with my life? Good question. I’ll have to answer that one soon. Of course, first, I’d have to get my mom off my back.

“Please,” My mom pleaded, “promise me you won’t do any more of this logging.”

“Okay, Mom, I won’t. For you.”

Maybe it was the moment I knew change was going to come. The next morning, I woke up and got ready to meet Mother and Sister for their tour of the Smithsonian. I ate my bowl of Cap’n Crunch Crunch Berries perhaps a little too fast. Suddenly, it felt like a nail had just been hammered into one of my molars. The Cap’n and myself just had a big disagreement. I wouldn’t know until the weekend was over and I could finally get to a dentist just to what extent the disagreement was. Now I sit here, my friends, and my smile is shy one tooth.

To be continued…

 

Oh, Silly People

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Published on: March 11, 2011
It baffles me sometimes the lack of common sense that people maintain professionally. Not like I’m Mr. Serious or even take my job seriously, but still.

 

I just got back from going through a fun little routine test at my doctor’s office. I go in and it seems that the technician decided she wanted to memorize my entire record, including my background (eg – full name, city of origin, what I do for a living, where I work, etc.) Which was, to say the least, kind of weird. This little old lady really has nothing better to do than analyze which patient comes next as she sees them for a total of five minutes? So, as she’s prepping me, she asks, “You’re a paralegal at one of those big law firms downtown, right? Can you give me some legal advice?”

 

I respond, “You’re a medical assistant, right? Can you give me your medical opinion?”

 

Of course, I wait for the expected answer of NO and tell her, “Well, there’s your answer.”

 

Just wanted to throw that one little tid bit out there. Enjoy your common sense filled weekend!

Karma Police

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Comments: 4 Comments
Published on: March 7, 2011
I’d like to think that I am pretty efficient in my morning routine. In fact, I would go so far as to say extremely efficient. Ridonkulously efficient, even? I time every motion I make from the time I wake up and get out of bed to the time I get to my desk at work down to the minute. I am like a well-oiled machine. At least I used to be. I don’t know where the sidestep was. Whether it was that I became lazy or got a girlfriend or started receiving back payments on bad karma, I can’t tell you, but despite my best intentions, I CANNOT get to work on time. When I lived in Baltimore, I had no transportation of my own except my feet. This meant taking the walk to the bus, taking the bus to the train station, taking the train to DC and taking the Metro to my office. All in all a 2.5 hour trek. I timed that if I could wake up at 5:45 each morning, I could be at my desk, at the earliest by 8:30, when my bosses would arrive (that is, if I hit literally every lucky break, like the conductor forgets that he has to stop for the other stops.) This meant pour coffee and let cool down while getting ready, a 7 minute shower, get dressed in 3 minutes, eat breakfast and drink coffee in 4 minutes, put tie on in under 1 minute, grab bag and be out the door by 6 AM.

These days, you would be shocked and awed to see me up before 7:45. Make that 8. I live literally less than 3 miles away from work, about a block away from the Metro and on one of the least crowded subway lines in the District. So, why on Earth would I be getting in LATER than I would when I had that two-and-a-half hour commute to worry about? It’s one (or a combo) of three things:

1. New girlfriend in the picture = harder to get out of bed in the morning
2. I had no life back then
3. The Karma Police have come gunning for me

Now let’s at least try to deconstruct the last one. The thing that motivates me to get to work in the morning more than anything else is not because I can’t wait to say hello to all the attorneys and ask them how their weekend was and how much more their wives hate them. It’s the digital time card. You have to sign into your computer, sign on through an Internet portal, wait for your dinosaur computer to gain speed to launch the certain Java app because Windows XP is just way too processor-intensive, and click Clock In! (Smiley Face) The program is insufferable because it counts off in incriments of fifteen minutes, but gives you a 7 minute grace period between each. That sounds great until you are at your desk at 9:37, focused so hard you could be shooting mind bullets at your screen as it attempts to load the clock in button. It finally does load, but before you can click the button, the time changes over to 9:38. (And then someone calls about the TPS Reports…)

So, this is why I try very hard to get to work promptly. It’s not that I expect to DO anything for the first couple of hours. But if I get the chance, I’d like to leave before sundown. Because of the Federal Full-Time Alotment of Wage Workers Time Per Week Act, we all must work a precise amount of hours each day, even if we are way ahead of ourselves For instance, we have 90 hours by Thursday, Boss is like, “Well, I don’t need you for Friday. Take off if you’d like.” We’d still have to come in on Friday. Because IT’S THE LAWWWWW. I also like to sleep. I try to get as much sleep as I possibly can. The formula I use to maximize my sleep and minimize work time during the daylight period is called the Reason For Living Ratio. It is fairly simple, just figure out what is the earliest you can get to work, what is the average amount it takes to get ready, and how much you want to sleep.

Circling back to my Karma, I am late. Sometimes purposefully, but sometimes I also just forget that I have a job. But the vast majority of the time, I am scurrying along with all the others to work. My private New Years Resolution was to never get in after 10. I’ve broken that 5 times so far. Four of which have been in the last two weeks. I can attest that these four instances do not reflect the possibility that I am lazy. For instance, today I wanted to get to work early. Earlier than usual actually, because I knew I’d be getting in later tomorrow because of a doctor appointment. I look up to see when the metro leaves the station so I can be there when it arrives. I leave and get to the station without a hitch. It’s when I get to the escalators, it all goes to shit. DC is a tourist town. Just like NYC and San Francisco, I guess, each year trabillions come to DC, and it all starts in the spring. Well, this must be the first week. There was a grade of school kids (I’m not talking a class on field trip here, it was A GRADE) trying to walk down the single down-escalator (which of course happens to not be working today.) How I would have thought bringing 150 little kids could be at all easy if I were a teacher planning this is beyond me. So, the escalator is literally at a standstill with these kids, who are not moving. I feel like I should have brought a machete as I try to get through this jungle of little kid. One third of the way down, my train comes. I start pushing a little harder, but don’t want just push these kids out of the way, because, well, I’m not that bad of a guy. The doors open for the train. Two-thirds down. Keep pushing, keep pushing. “Stand Clear Of The Doors.” That’s my last call, and I’m on the platform! All I have to do is make it through this last swarm of kids and… shit.

Well, c’est la vie. I can always wait for the next train. After all, I’ll definitely be ready for that one! So, I get on the next one fifteen minutes later, with the rest of the ten-year olds. I’m standing in the middle of the car, holding one of the sidebars because we are all crammed in like sardines when halfway down the tunnel we come to a complete stop. Now this is when metro train operators can get really annoying. 99% of the time they stop, it is because there is another train sharing the same track ahead of them that needs to go on. So, in order to not collide with that train, we stop somewhere in the tunnel. Now, if the operator already has this piece of information, would it be necessary to start the train back up again, go about 50 feet and then make another complete stop? I only make this point in the defense of the hundred or so people having to hold their balance on the train while the operator pumps the breaks. This happens from start to finish. Thinking I was going to somehow arrive at 9:15, I am getting in just as the grace period ends for 9:45.

Balto Bowler

Categories: Uncategorized
Comments: 1 Comment
Published on: March 5, 2011

Since it’s the weekend and the Attorneys That Be aren’t feeling particularly sadistic, I’ve actually got the day off. Like a normal person. So this is where I try to, as Johnny Mercer sang to us, accentuate the positive. I am a true believer that any given day can be stranger than fiction… and it may just put a smile on your face. Charlie Sheen has made me laugh more times in this past week than probably all his movies. I know some of you think he’s lost his mind while some of you think it’s an act. Personally, I think he’s hit some sort of transcendental moment of having the celeb status all his life as well as having a far-leftist dad whose teachings and actions have saturated poor Chuck’s life (Martin Sheen still holds the record for top celebrity with most political protest arrests) have set his blender on frappe. He’s not psycho. Trust me. He’s fucking funny. Since he’s now saturated every TV talk show and magazine cover, I’d like to hear what you guys think of him.

I’d also like to think I’m an observer of my environment. In a town where Point A to Point B is an utter race and everyone on the street focuses on their next step, never looking up, I like to take in what’s going on around me. People tend to miss this stuff. This is especially true when you are stuck in your own ‘iPod Bubble.’ But when you look up and around, remembering you are in fact a member of this environment, you catch the unique and often hilarious things that nobody else is watching, making you feel like the sole, candid audience.

As an example, I give you Balto Bowler, some guy I taped in my own covert iPhone video ways on the Baltimore public transit:

 

 

Balto_Bowler_-_clip.m4v
Watch on Posterous

Some Days, Drinking Apple Schnapps Under the Covers Would Do

Categories: Uncategorized
Comments: 13 Comments
Published on: March 3, 2011

The wind was blowing way too hard this morning. The kind that knocks your earbuds out of your ears and chills your soul. That was probably my first hint that this day was going to be a Monday falling on a Tuesday. On my route to the Metro, I am accosted by a worker/custodian inside the pharmacy I used for a shortcut. I believe his rant stems from the point where my attaché inadvertently hit a bunch of neatly stacked lady wipes. Well, what are lady wipes doing on display in a store anyways? And why is this guy so angry?? Doesn’t he realize I could be a… I don’t know, a mystery shopper or something??? I really didn’t used to be this… negative.

The train was inevitably late. Tack on another 20 minutes to get to the office. 10:25. I get to work and already see that my pseudo-fancy office phone says I have missed 3 calls. The welcoming red light on the receiver tells me that there is a message awaiting my attention, but honestly, I let that shit pile up. If you need my attention, send me an email or a text. Don’t make me jump through hoops (i.e. press four or five buttons) to let me hear you say, “Can you call me back?” I look through Missed Calls on my phone’s display for the list of needy attorneys. This is odd, nobody normally calls me before, like, eleven. That’s why I’ve started coming in no earlier than ten. While the workday supposedly starts at nine, what the hell am I gonna do for two hours while I ‘patiently’ wait for one of my bosses to urgently call me?

So, I have these three calls. They’re all from one attorney. I’m not sure which is worse in the life of a paralegal: Arriving at 10:25 to find 3 missed calls from one boss all after 9:45, accompanied by an email asking “WHERE ARE YOU???” or another boss candidly telling you that you have a nose hair drifting down towards your upper lip in front of your colleagues. I’ll probably go with the latter, but I should tell you that just by using the second person shouldn’t necessarily incriminate the author of this blog.

Aside from that point, it still is a shitty position to be in. Already yelled at by some stranger before I get to work, now I’m preparing myself to be bitched out by one of the bitchiest associates in the firm. I really wish I knew it came with the territory that becoming a paralegal didn’t mean you would be working for life-changing causes, that you would have some sort of deep relationship with these cases and lawyers, that you would become an Erin Brockovich. The reality is that you unwillingly forfeit your pride and respect for a salary and benefits. You gleefully swing around on the lowest rung on the legal ladder. Like a monkey wearing a fez.

After filling up my 20 oz. mug with three single-serving pods of coffee from the friendly Flavia machine, I decide I have enough courage to press redial. The first thing I hear after I say hello, sorry I didn’t get back to you, I was [fill in suitable lie,] is “I know you don’t really get in after 10, so I didn’t think to call before then.”

Pat yourself on the back for that one.

“But this is actually important. We need you to go down to the DC Court of Appeals to file an emergency pleading.”

“Okay, when?”

“Five minutes ago.”

I should have expected that one. This is the first time I’ve filed at this courthouse and after a year of working as a paralegal, I have too much pride to ask where it is. Instead, Google Maps would be my savior. I gather the pleadings and documents from my boss and head down to street level. I take out my only friend, the iPhone, and plug in “DC Court of Appeals” into the Maps app. That’s funny. Two different locations pop up with the exact same name. I guess it’s time for Russian Roulette. I pick one randomly and hope it’s the one that won’t lead to my head being blown off in the end.

I call for a cab and tell Mr. Driver the address. He takes me there and I walk into the huge courthouse. I am taken through security, which is just as strict as airport TSA except that along with the ability to strip search you, they also confiscate your phone and lock it up. As normal protocol, I ask the completely uninterested guard where the Clerk’s office is and he kinda points down the hall for me. So I stumble aimlessly down this half-mile long corridor, looking both ways every step until I see a small door saying “clerks office.”

I walk in, unload the big box and present all the items in an organized fashion. The lady, just as knackered as the guard, looks at me after going through everything and mentions I’m in the wrong court. Not even knowing where I am (remember, I was suppose to be somewhere 5 minutes ago) I ask her where these pleadings are suppose to go. She says, the DC Court of Appeals. I say I thought that’s where I was. She says, nope, wrong office. Fuck!

7 minutes until deadline for filing.

Since I don’t have my phone and I’m now completely lost at what to do next, I run back to the security station and have to beg the guard to give me the phone behind the 38th Parallel so I can call my boss. He asks me which building I’m in, I tell him I thought I was in the Court of Appeals.

DC Court of Appeals or Court of Appeals of DC??!?”

I should remark that off the bat he is screaming at me. Not yelling. Not barking. Screaming. So loud that I hear two other voices suddenly in the background having to calm him down. While one attempts to alleviate this erupting volcano, the other voice coolly asks where I am and confirms I am in the right building, but funny enough, the Appeals Court happens to be on a different level. Another pat on the back, Mr. Paralegal. So I, again, run through the courthouse until I get to my final destination. I get to the Clerk’s office and for the first time that day I encounter some decent people. They help me with the documents and then look at me and ask me for the fee.

The fee? What fee? I wasn’t told about a fee…

“Okay, how much is it?” As I start pulling my wallet full of one dollar bills out of my back pocket.

“$400.”

2 minutes til deadline.

That, in a nutshell is the life I lead every day. People wonder why I sleep throughout the weekend and drink vodka nonstop.

 

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