[about the author]
i actually like speaking in front of large crowds. freakish,
i work crossword puzzles in ink.
i am the american nigella lawson. or maybe the american eddie
izzard. can't decide, really.
i would be a really good mom, but i'm cool with being a really
i am sometimes more perceptive than i would like to be.
i am fiercely loyal. sometimes, stupidly so.
i never play dumb. never.
i am way too hard on myself.
i am a change agent.
i sometimes cross that fine line between assertive and aggressive.
i am not afraid to tell people that i love them.
i am militantly pro-choice.
i am pro-adoption.
i know a little bit about alot of things.
i typically enjoy the company of men more than women.
i am capable of being really mean and nasty, but i fight it.
i am a lifelong cubs fan. do not laugh.
i have been known to hold a grudge.
i have hips.
i am not my sister.
i am lousy at forgiving myself.
i am an indoor kind of gal.
i am a bargain shopper. to the point of obsession.
i am 32 flavors. and then some.
i'm sure he meant it in a nice way
one of the many jobs i’ve had over the years was as a legal assistant at a large corporate defense firm.
it was wholly unfulfilling.
much like my current job.
the only fun part of my work at that firm was that i happened to be the legal assistant to the attorney who did the majority of the firm’s pro bono work. big corporate defense firms like to make a big deal about the pro bono work they do so you don’t notice when they’re helping some big insurance conglomerate get away with screwing some policyholder who has paid their premiums in good faith for years.
not that that ever happened to me.
but that’s a story for another day.
at any rate, the attorney i worked with on the pro bono stuff was the only hippie in the whole damn place. i don’t even know how he ended up there. we used to while away the billable hours in his office, talking about his dream to work winters as a ski instructor out west and summers as a rafting guide back east. how you get from having that dream to being not just a lawyer, but a lawyer at a corporate defense firm, working for the man, oppressing the little people, i still do not understand.
he tried to feed his restless bohemian side by playing drums in some heinous band on the weekends. i’ve never understood how you could be a bad drummer. but, he was. horrible. painfully so.
at any rate, he called me to his office one day, and handed me the file on our latest pro bono case.
“we’re pitching in on the appeal.”
“what are we appealing?”
“the sentence was unduly harsh.”
“cruel and unusual punishment?”
“sure, something like that. it was judge hey.”
judge hey was the local hardass. the hanging judge, i guess, would be the proper term. actually, i wouldn’t be surprised if the term hanging judge was invented just to describe judge hey. he made national headlines when he sentenced a drug addict to have norplant birth control surgically implanted in her arm. “to protect innocent children,” he said.
in an amusing epilogue, judge hey eventually left the bench under a cloud of scandal. turns out that not only was he a stereotypical hanging judge, he was also a lecherous pig-dog who spent years literally chasing women around his office trying to grope them. unfortunately, in an example of true cosmic karma gone wrong, no charges were filed against the good judge and he never had to stand tall before the man and face some sentence which included a lifetime of saltpeter-laced food and drink. you know, to protect innocent women.
at any rate, it seemed that our new client had allegedly antagonized the judge, and it was our position that the sentence reflected personal animosity as opposed to a reasonable punishment-fits-the-crime kind of sentence.
“antagonized him how?” i asked.
“well, he said something to him, evidently.”
“well, like what?”
“i don’t know, i haven’t had time to review the file yet. can you take a look at it, and write up a summary for me?”
“sure. i live to serve.”
and so, i read page after page after page of boring depositions. then, i read page after page after page of boring pleadings. then, i read page after page after page of boring trial transcript.
i couldn’t find a single thing. not a word, not a sound, not a peep. not even some editorial comment or observation made by the court reporter, like, “ooo...the defendant looked at the judge in a really mean way just now!”
with only a few more pages of transcript left, i had come up with nothing.
it didn’t look promising for our client.
as i turned to the next page, the defendant had been ordered to stand to receive his sentence. the judge asked if he had anything he’d like to say before the court passed sentence on him.
the defendant began what seemed like your typical i’m-really-sorry-for-what-i-did-now-please-don’t-lock-me-up-and-throw-away-the-key speech.
“your honor, i know that what i done was wrong. and i would be very grateful if you might….”
according to the transcript, the defendant stopped, and whispered to his lawyer at this point.
judge: “son, do you want to say something or not?”
defendant: “well, i was gonna say how i was hopin’ you’d be understanding and such. but, you know what? you gonna give me whatever you gonna give me and ain’t nothing i can say gonna change that, so you go right on ahead, you honky motherfuckin’ cracker, you go right on ahead and give me what you gonna give me….”
thereupon the defendant was removed from the courtroom.
our appeal didn’t change the sentence the defendant received. but, the work i did on that case did have one lasting effect: there probably hasn’t been a week that’s gone by since then that i haven’t called somebody a honky motherfuckin’ cracker.
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