March 2006



Last week, I thought I’d really impress the braintrust at Law Firm by arriving before anyone else.  Even though I wanted to hang myself when my alarm sounded at 5:45 A.M., I crawled out of bed with dreams of impressing Law Firm into offering me a piece of the parternship.  Or at least giving an office without the word “maintenance” on the door.  At least The Partners had enough confidence in me to give me a key to the office and the alarm code.  I wish they had enough confidence in me to pay me more than the minimum wage in Cameroon, but I figured a little display of my work ethic would solve that problem.

I arrived at work at 6:20, with the office predictably locked and dark.  Everything going to plan.  No problems with the deadbolt occurred, and I strolled confidently to the alarm keypad.  My confidence quickly waned when the code supplied to me by my office failed to disengage the alarm.  Hurriedly, I re-entered the code.  Nothing.  The keypad began to make angry chirping sounds, and I began to get worried.  I try the code again, and again I receive the mechanical chirping that sounds like mechanical peals of laughter.  The main alarm siren now begins to sound.  It’s loud.  It sounds like a pack of bobcats caught in one of those machines that crush cars.  I’m sure I was screaming also, but it mattered little as I drowned out by the caucophony of bobcats. 

I ripped off my suit coat like Chris Farley in the SNL “Chippendale’s” skit and leaped over the reception counter towards the phone.  I dialed the 1-800 number listed on the keypad, hoping the good people at Ultimate Security Systems could save the day.  As if the herd of bobcats wasn’t bad enough, now a friendly voice is interspersed with the sirens informing me that “The Police Have Been Alerted” every thirty seconds or so.  Awesome.  At least it couldn’t get any worse.

Except the good people at Ultimate Security Systems don’t answer their phone unless it is normal business hours.  So after leaving an expletive laden voice-mail, I dialed the number the voice mail left me “if this is an emergency.”  Since my job was on the line, I decided this clearly qualified as an emergency.  The emergency number was disconnected.  So, if you’re getting raped or tortured, and you have one phone call to make, I seriously advise against giving Ultimate Security Systems a jingle in the hopes they’ll catch you on the jangle. 

Weeping openly and unable to breathe, I wrest my tie from around my neck.  The phone rings.

“This is Juan from ADT Security.  The Police have been alerted to your emergency.  Can I he…”

“ADT?? WHAT HAPPENED TO ULTIM….DOESN’T MATTER.  JUAN, I NEED YOU TO LISTEN LIKE YOU’VE NEVER BEFORE LISTENED.  STOP THE POLICE.  NO EMERGENCY.  DO YOU HEAR ME, JUAN? NADA EMERGENCIO! NO POLICIA NECCESSITO!”

“Sir, I don’t speak Spanish.  And, frankly, I find the stereotype a little insulting.  In order to cancel the Police Alert, I’ll need the password.”

“FRIVOLOUS? BAR SANCTIONS? SOULLESS? AVARICE? BLOODTHIRST? DID I ALREADY TRY SOULLESS?”

“Sorry, sir.  None of those are correct.  The owner of your office has been contacted, and the police should arrive shortly.  Please stay on the line for a short survey regarding ADT’s custome…”

But I’ve already dropped the phone to the floor.  Juan better be glad I didn’t have time to take that little survey.

Partner of Law Firm, accompanied by a police officer, burst through the front door of Law Firm.  Partner is wearing pajama bottoms and has horrible bed head.  He angrily jabs is finger into the keypad a few times, and the bobcats stop screaming.  The nice lady informing me of police alert is quieted.  As Partner turns and begins his glare that has intimidated juries for three decades, I miss her. 

“You’re up awfully early, sir,” I attempt.  “What say to some breakfast at The Crackerbarrel? My treat?”

The cop left, and the Partner chewed me out for causing him to miss out on his full eight hours.  Looks like I won’t be getting out of the Janitor’s closet anytime soon.  But it won’t stop me from trying.  I’m going back in tomorrow at 6:15.  I don’t remember the code exactly, but I’ll figure it out.  I’m at my best in pressure situations.

 

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Right about now, all over the nation, Tennessee Volunteers fans are gathering together in support of their team.  I imagine the conversation is going something like this: 

“We’re gonna destroy Winthrop!  Right?  I mean, it’s completely meaningless the Vegas odds have this game at the smallest spread of any 2/15 seed game in the history of the NCAA.  Means nothing.  We’re about to prove to the nation the Volunteers deserved that 2 seed and we mean business! Guys? Where did everyone go?”

Duke is like the hot stripper in the Gentlemen’s Club you think you have a shot with.  You know she’s been noticing you high-rolling, because you decided to forego the classic “dollar bill G-string tuck” and went straight for the “pluck the five-spot from my mouth with your boobs.”  (Always a classy maneuver in a topless joint.  Advise against trying it in your favorite watering hole.  Apparently, waitresses are pretty easily offended these days.  Live and learn, that’s my motto.) She is the hottest girl with Daddy issues you’ve ever seen.  And you’ve had just enough to drink to think you really have a chance.  We’ve all been there.  What happens?  As soon as she cleans off your eyeglasses with her pasties, she snags your last fiver and bolts.  She breaks your heart like her stage name should be “Fredo” instead of  “Diamond.”  My friends, I give you the Duke Blue Devils of 2006.  Returning player of the year, Sheldon Williams.  The virtual lock for player of the year, J.J. Reddick.  They look tempting, and you’re enamoured with them.  I can’t blame you.  And, like Diamond, they’ll tease you right into the Sweet Sixteen.  But by the Regional Final, they will have taken your last dollar, swiped your credit card number, and disappeared out the VIP exit with some genetic freak of a bodyguard.  Consider yourself warned. 

I know it’s not really on the subject of the NCAA tourney, but did anyone catch the RR/RW Challenge last week?  Please tell me someone saw Alton pull a pre-emptive breakup with Jodi, stating, “Tobago is dope. But we’re just friends.  Don’t go getting all weird on me.”  Tobago is dope?  Tobago is dope???!!  Wow.  Strong chance we’ll be seeing Jodi hang herself next week.  I hope if she does, the camera pans to Alton, and he’s slowly shaking his head, murmuring, “I knew she was gonna get weird on me.”

The ‘Fins traded for Daunte Culpepper today.  My buddy Luciano is a die-hard Dolphins fan, and I haven’t heard from him today.  It would be a solid bet he’s wandering around Boston, whispering barely audibly in homeless fashion, convincing himself it was a good move.  That last season was just a fluke with Culpepper.  That anything is an improvement over Fiedler/Frerotte dynamic duo.  Somebody should probably start looking for him now, though.  Because Ricky’s comeback to glory promptly ended when he busted up into the locker room singing  “One Nation Under a Groove.”  Nobody saw that paragon of sobriety relapsing.  Just out of nowhere, really.  And, now, the Dolphins just used all their cap room to score a QB with poor decision making ability and a bum wheel.  Were the Cardinals just completely unwilling to part with Kurt Warner?  Were Tony Graziani and Neil O’Donnel unwilling to discuss a comeback? Seriously, someone start looking for my friend. 

How do I start a petition to ban “LOL”? Little help? I know it’s illogical, but it makes me really angry when someone types that cute little phrase.  Not to get all weird on you. 

I’m gonna close out by getting back to my original intention for this post.  I absolutely love college hoops.  I enjoy it during the regular season, but even more during Championship Week and the Big Dance, itself.  I love how pumped the players and fans are.  I love that any team is potentially six wins away from being the national champion.  I can’t ever turn the channel when ESPN dusts off that old highlight of Jimmy V running onto the court in disbelief after the clock refused to strike midnight for his cinderella NC State squad.   And I love that for just two days out of the year, I have something to bet on before noon while I’m at work.  I hope the partners at Law Firm don’t get suspicious when I lock myself in the supply closet with a transistor radio.  Since the supply closet is currently doubling as my office, I’m probably safe.  (Apparently, someone has to retire or die before you get an office at Law Firm.  No one ever does either, however, according to the contract with Satan we have sealed in a bullet-proof display case in the Lobby.  Selling my soul was a negative but not a deal-breaker.   These guys have top-notch medical plan.  I’m talking dental, optical, the whole nine.  Life is about trade-offs.  I didn’t sell-out, I bought in.)

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got about fifty brackets to fill out.

 

 


I’m pretty sure I’m ready to go back to school.  I know it seems as if I’ve ridden the higher education gravy train as far as it will go, but I’m willing to test it.  Likely, I’ll not receive any sympathy from my friends, as they moved into the vacuum of despair that is the working world many years before me.  Be that as it may, I may call the student loan office and see how many more years they would keep funding my education and lifestyle. 

Speaking of the student loan people, those bastards are on me like stink on the French.  They must have taken lessons from Capital One.  Apparently, I was a little unclear on the Student Aid process.  They paid, and I went to school and graduated.  I feel like I lived up to my part of the bargain.  What better benefit to the government and society is there than having another lawyer to fight for the cause of justice? Or the American way of life?  Or to sue Piggly Wiggly for negligently leaving some beads of condensation in the produce isle, leading to a poor innocent minority’s complete disability and emotional anguish?  Needless to say, I was shocked and appalled to receive a bill from Uncle Sam for forty large.  It was completely unexpected, and so I just pretended it never happened.  Feigning obliviousness has never really worked out for me, whether it be in relationships or dealing with personal demons.  I thought maybe, just maybe this once, completely ignoring the problem would be the correct course of action.  This was, in retrospect, not a good decision.

I wrote the government a letter, beginning with “I have some potentially disappointing news,” and ending with, “Sincerely, The Executor of ______’s Estate.”  From the letter I received a week later, either they are familiar with that particular ruse, or the government has a poor sense of humor.  Either way, I’m getting audited in two months.  Which shouldn’t be a problem, because I kept meticulous receipts of every purchase made in the last four years.  I hope the I.R.S. agent assigned to my case doesn’t mind unwadding soiled cocktail napkins on which my IOU’s are written to my drug dealer.  Probably nothing to worry about.  I hear auditors know how to party.  Just to play it safe, I’m going to check with H and R Block to see if black market prescription medication is deductible.  I like to cover all my bases.  Some call me overcautious, but better safe than sorry….that’s my motto. 

In the meantime, someone calls me from the student loan office about every other day.  I even broke out my tried-and-true “garbled Portugese” tactic, and I’ll be damned if the bitch didn’t respond in Portugese without missing a beat.  I mean, I guess it was Portugese.  I really have no way of knowing.  Touche, student loan office…..touche.  If my bookie ever teams up with these people,  I’m in deep shit.

And as long as we’re on the subject of Portugese, Law Firm dropped an immigration law problem on me at work today.  I might have mentioned “Expert in the field of Immigration Law” on my resume, which isn’t exactly the truth.  In itself, this is a fairly egregious padding of the resume.  Where I really screwed up, however, was throwing in “Extensive contacts at the Mexican Consulate.”  I must have been hammered beyond belief when I conjured up that little addendum.  Extensive contacts at the Mexican Consulate?  Nice, Vegas.  Nothing can possibly go wrong with this plan.  I actually vaguely remember reading that on my resume, considering deletion, and then saying to myself, “Screw it.  What are the odds of getting called out on this one?” 

Of course, I now have two courses of action.  First, I could accept the INS case from Law Firm, fuck it up beyond all belief, ruin the lives of migrant workers expecting Visas to work for $3.00/hr in the Land of the Free, and possibly incur massive malpractice liability against my employers.  Alternatively, I level with Law Firm, and hope I’m dealing with a “no harm, no foul” situation.  Obviously, I’m accepting the case.  Does anyone have any contacts at the Mexican Consulate?  Por Favor?

 

 


Finally, my friendship with the Fucking Weavers pays some dividends.  Last week, after the bar exam, I was lucky enough to land a job with a products liability and workers compensation law firm in the Birmingham area.  Because I graduated 146 out of 147 in my class at Alabama, interviews were few and far between.  I couldn’t even get a job cleaning floors at most firms around town.  Luckily, the Weavers’ have a cousin who is a partner at this firm.  While I await my bar results, I am now officially employed.  On the downside, a Weaver is now my boss.  I will now give myself a papercut on my tongue.

I wanted to prove my ambition, so rather than arrive at 8:00 as required, I rolled in a smooth 7:58.  My arrival was the smoothest part of my day.  Immediately, I was asked to draft a complaint.  Which, no doubt, is pretty basic.  To anyone who didn’t finish 146 out of 147 in their class, that is.  Let me just say it did not inspire confidence when I asked, “What’s a complaint?”  I tried to cover it by nervously laughing, but I’m pretty sure they knew I was serious when my boss walked by my computer and I was googling “complaint” with “how to con paralegal into writing.” (Incidentally, this search yielded no result. “World’s Best Search Engine” my ass.  No wonder their stock is dropping like a hot rock.  Thanks for the bailout, dickheads).

Glancing at my watch, the cold reality of 8:29 set in.  I was now employed as an attorney (pending bar results), and I had exactly no practical experience.  Most law students accept clerkships or externships while they are in law school, in order to avoid this type of catastrophe.  I, however, spent my summers scoring oxycontin and washing it down with Aristocrat.  Clearly, I got the better end of this deal.  Other than the rehab, delayed bar exam, huge credit card debt, and the pity/scorn of my peers, I really don’t have any regrets.  Hindsight is 20/20, you judgemental fucks. 

After struggling through drafting a complaint, my first day at The Firm was complete.  It took me eight hours to draft a relatively simple legal document.  Badly.  I don’t think there’s any reason to get there early tomorrow, though.  I don’t want to seem pretentious. 

I Decided it was time to unwind and maybe rent a movie from my local Blockbuster tonight.  Considering Blockbuster has my picture behind the counter with a “Mace and Detain This Man on Sight” caption, I decided to go to Movie Gallery instead.  (Incidentally, isn’t Movie Gallery everyone’s Plan B?  Looking around that store, I realized all the customers had been exiled from the choice store due to late fees or sex offender registries.  No one goes to Movie Gallery that has a choice.  I won’t even argue about this.)  Movie Gallery has about fifty unrented copies of “My Date With Drew” and virtually no porn. No porn? And this is supposed to be a legit rental place?  I’m supposed to abuse myself to “Elizabethtown?”  Thanks for nothing, Movie Gallery.  If I could afford $832.45 in late fees, I’d totally never go back there. 

Perusing the small selection, I ran into an old friend of mine from high school.  We talked for a good twenty minutes, exchanging news on people we’d lost touch with.  As we talk, I notice other people glancing over with various degrees of interest.  We agree to go to lunch later this week, and give him my cell number.  Other people are openly gawking at the number exchange.  The thing is, my friend from high school is gay.  Blatantly, glaringly gay.  He rocks the outfit, the lisp, the whole nine yards of gayness.  But because I’ve known him so long, his gayness doesn’t even faze me.  I don’t even think about it.  But, to the onlookers, they just witnessed a flaming homosexual number exchange, with ensuing promise of a lunch date.  Awesome.  That’s just the cherry on my day. 

“I….I’m not really gay,” I say as I place In Her Shoes upon the counter (making a strong case for heterosexuality.)  The clerk and customers are pretending not to hear me.  I know what they’re doing, and I don’t like it.  Condescending bastards.  They’d never treat a man like this at Blockbuster.  Now I’m wishing more than ever I hadn’t decided to keep Home Alone for nine years.  Damn you, Macauly Culkin. Damn your insistence on delivering precocious comeuppance to ne’er do-well theives. 

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to figure out how to hide from my boss, select an ensemble for my lunch date next week, and find a way to masturbate to Elizabethtown.  Is there no rest for the weary?