Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Harriet Miers Humor

I try and avoid politics on this site-to me a person's politics is as unimportant as their religion or their favorite food. I know nothing about this woman personally, but to me the most disturbing aspect about her is that she used to be the President of the Texas Bar Association. This may get me into hot water but I give a rat's ass-I don't even bother to belong to our bar association. It seems their sole purpose is to make the lives of small firm lawyers as burdensome as possible, to be a place where the silk stocking crowd can pad their resumes and if you're a prosecutor you might as well be the anti-christ. I would rather drink my own urine than hang out with this tedious crowd and hear them discuss how they waxed eloquently in their summary judgment motion in front of Judge Whoever. They charge for everything to support a bloated staff and a fancy building-how's this for an example: I do a lot of teaching in my field-if I teach a course for four hours, which course qualifies for Continuing Legal Education credit for the attendees, for all my hundreds of hours of prep work and powerpoint slide prep and practice I get no credit unless I pay them a fee for the privilege-I ain't doing it! Last year they charged me a $75.00 late fee because they said they didn't receive my CLE form by the deadline-I mailed it a week earlier-Raleigh is only 150 miles from here and it didn't get there for a week! Hell, I could have walked it there quicker. I've got no use for any bar association-they're all alike, in every state-hold meetings, create committees, have breakout sessions-they make the U.N. seem like a useful, productive body.
I recall Steve's rant about lawyers and it rings true-I re-read it often and still horselaugh. For those of you who missed it, here it is:


Pardon me while I pity myself publicly, but writing a cookbook really
is a lot of work.

I cooked until after 8 p.m. on Saturday, and from 11:30 a.m. until
after midnight last night. Of course, yesterday I was smoking a pork
shoulder, so I didn't have to stand over the smoker for thirteen
hours, but I was not able to leave the house for very long, and there
was a two-hour period where it kept me so busy I got myself a book
and a cigar and camped out next to it.

Some of my friends have absolutely no respect for what I do. Last
week, one asked me to go to the university and be a moot court judge
for a class she teaches. I told her I would not leave her hanging,
but that I would appreciate it if she tried to find other victims
first, because I write and cook all day and then practice the piano
for at least three hours. I usually close the fallboard at eleven.
I'm behind on the cookbook, and weekday nights are not good times to
pull me away from home.

She sent me an email saying she would not trouble me, as I obviously
did not want to help "a friend in need."

I was really offended. I've judged those brats two or three times
already, and everyone who knows me knows I do what I can to help my
friends. I don't ask other people for favors unless I can't avoid it,
and if they turn me down, I assume they have good reason. I would
never have sent her an email like that. Never in my wildest dreams
would I consider calling a friend selfish over a trivial thing like
that. And it is trivial. She and her husband have dozens of lawyer
friends they can call on. And lawyers are generally not busy in the
evening. Some firms are sweatshops where everyone works until nine,
but try this experiment: pick ten law firms out of the firm book and
call at five-thirty in the afternoon. I’ll bet you get voicemail
seven times. The lawyers I’ve known and worked with were generally
out of the office by six, and that includes associates.

Maybe this is the last time I'll be asked. That's fine with me. I
have never understood people who graduate from a school and then go
back and hang around. Once it's over, I'm gone. I feel awkward
running into my old professors. I was never a brown nose who brought
them cookies in their offices and pretended to enjoy hanging around
with them; it wasn't until several years after I left that I realized
other people had done that. That’s how foreign the concept is to me.

I liked some of my professors just fine. But I felt contempt for
quite a few. There were a lot of disproportionate egos on the
faculty. I didn't see these people as especially bright, after
studying physics, and I was aware that many of them had failed as
lawyers or had not had the nerve to practice at all, and it disturbed
me when they put on displays of arrogance. My physics and math
professors were about a thousand times as smart as my law professors,
and I only remember one who had an ego problem. The rest were too
humble, if anything.

Apart from that, I offended a lot of them by writing a humor column
for the school paper, in which I regularly lampooned what I saw as
their hypocrisy and high-handedness. I was not their favorite person.

I realize now that a lot of people I know went to parties with
professors—my sister even slept with one—and pretended to be dazzled
by their charm and wit. I realize that they made the professors their
friends, in order to get good use out of them.

I actually liked my math and physics professors, but it never
occurred to me to try to be their pal, or to to back to school and
peek into their offices and say “Boo!” or to put them on my
nonexistent Christmas card list.

I once coined a term to describe phony camaraderie. I call it
“barroom warmth.” You’ve seen it in action. You go to a bar with your
friends, you get a load on, you start talking to the folks around
you, and suddenly you realize they’re the finest people you ever met.
You exchange numbers (what a mistake), you promise you’ll call, you
sing classic rock until they throw you out of the bar, and then you
wake up at noon and pray you never see them again.

There is something similar among lawyers. Lawyers do not distinguish
business from love from friendship. They seem like charming, friendly
people when you meet them, but a funny thing happens. A day comes
when they realize someone else can do more for them than you can, and
suddenly, you don’t hear from your charming lawyer friends quite so
often. You meet them at social events, and you assume their interest
in you is social, but then you find out that to most lawyers, there
is no such thing as a purely social event. Every event is an
opportunity to network; to find people who can move you forward in
life. And business ALWAYS trumps social. Always.

I’m not accusing my friend of being this way. That’s not what I’m
getting at. What I’m getting at is this: the people who are most
comfortable going back to campus are phony gladhanders who can
identify their old professors blindfolded just by sniffing their
asses. I’m a real person. I never palled around with the profs.
Therefore I feel very out of place on campus.

I go every time my friend needs me, sure, but I don’t look forward to
it. “Hi, Professor Smith. Remember me? The guy you and all your
buddies hated? Nice to see you.”

Do you think I’m being too hard on lawyers? I suppose all ambitious,
acquisitive people network and gladhand. I suppose even decent people
do it to some extent. But I’ve really been shocked to see how empty
my fellow attorneys are. I could probably list ten classmates who
used me shamefully, or tried to. And there are very few classmates I
keep in touch with.

So far, the only professions that seem to me to compare with law,
when it comes to superficiality and selfishness, are sales and
politics. Most salespeople I’ve known have been realtors. Talk about
ruthless. A typical realtor has the ethics of a concentration camp
inmate trying to live out the month. And car salesmen…the slime of
humanity. They should all be gassed.

So to sum up, I actually work, and I am even more disappointed in the
character of lawyers than you are.

While I’m rambling, let me talk about the difference between a law
school gathering and a trip to ManCamp. As most of you know, I met
Val Prieto over a year ago, and I spend a lot of time with him and
his friends, in Val’s backyard barbecue haven.

When I go to ManCamp, no one asks me for my card. Everyone there
knows I can do absolutely nothing for them, and that they can do
absolutely nothing for me. We eat, we drink, we play dominoes, we
curse at the TV, but no one talks about business. You know, when
you’re at ManCamp, that if you weren’t liked for what you were, you’d
be out on your ass in about two seconds.

How different from a mixer full of lawyers and law clericals. At a
mixer, the women want to know what kind of law you practice. What
firm you work for. They look at your clothes and your watch. If it
all adds up to the right sum, you can end up with a new girlfriend,
even if you have the good looks and charm of Larry Flynt. The men
aren’t much better, but at least they won’t pretend to find you
attractive. Everyone looks at you like you’re big cheesecake, and
they all want a slice.

If you’re not a lawyer, let me warn you. Be very reluctant to get
involved romantically with one. Some are okay, but there are a lot of
users in the mix. There are some types of people you should always
evaluate very carefully before agreeing to date them. Musicians.
Actors. Cops. Stewardesses. Salespeople. Addicts. Add “lawyers” to
the list, if you haven’t already.

I hope my friend won’t be mad at me forever.

That's a classic and so true it hurts-Bwahahahahhaha!


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