Pam Karlan is my hero

It’s the little things in life that really make it all worthwhile.  Sure, I’m doing a ridiculous amount of work which I pay others an exorbitant amount of money for the privilege of being allowed to so.  Sure I have no social life in an entirely new city that is simply begging to be explored.  Sure, I have stress levels close to my all-time highs of self doubt and depression.

But there are rewards, if few and far between. Free hors d’oeuvres and wine at local smoozy lawyer events put on by the college is one.  Getting to try Moose Drool with a Montana friend is another (it’s a beer, I’m not that desperate to view the moose).  Drinking Spanish coffee from a ‘dark’ owl mug because I’m African so I get the dark one is another.  Talking about the foolish things I do, like cutting my hand opening a bottle of Scotch, is a fourth.  Somehow these have all so far involved alcohol, but I promise, parents, sisters, and other family, that my liver and kidneys are fine and I’m being moderate.

A final reward is the speakers and panelists we get to hear from that the law school brings.  Some of them are long winded and unaccustomed to giving speeches, even though they all know their stuff.  However, all of them are interesting, and some are really good, really informative, and really funny.   Tonight’s was just such a one.

You must understand I’ve been in something of a funk.  I’m stressed about school and getting things done, especially my appellate brief.  I’m stressed about finding a job.  I’m especially stressed about networking, because I hate it.  I’m a klutz, and somewhat proud of it.  I have very little dignity and only a modicum of shame, which allows me to enjoy myself but really doesn’t give me the elegance you might expect from a higher-level professional lawyer.  I’d rather wear my boots.  This evening changed that to a certain extent, or at least broke me out of my funk.  Sure, it was a very professional speech, very well presented, and accurate and informed and interesting.  But the stuff I covered my hand with in red ink was the jokes.

The first joke involved an old Louisiana case about nepotism in steamboat pilot licensing.  Ok, actually there was lots of joking about big-headed terms used, but how it was ok as they were French and it’s Louisiana.  Anyway, the first snortable was her comment on the court’s decision, which basically upheld the Louisiana statue by saying it wasn’t nepotism, it was a romanticized, Mark Twain style life on the river – in direct contrast to a decision that licensing should be based on some other determinative, like ‘merit’ or … ‘random’.  Random is my favorite way to decide the legality of issues.

Next, she mentioned in passing a speaker we’d had on campus the previous day, Paul Smith, who evidently went to her elementary school.   Of course we got the funny anecdote about primary education.  In this case it involved his sister and herself in a Halloween costume competition rivalry, in which she “beat his sister like a drum”.  Snorfle.

In concluding, I realize that even though I have to finish writing this crummy, boring, and poorly designed appellate brief, that doesn’t mean I have to lose my sense of self.  The ridiculous will always be there for my amusement, inside the court system and without.  I am free to remain unrefined, direct, and possibly abrasive without losing my chances to be someone great who gets schmoozed to by lawyerly kind.  And now that I’ve spent way too much time musing on how great my life is, I’m off to sink a few more hours into the boring kind of writing before bed.

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