"Mama, what do you do?"
"I'm a lawyer, pumpkin."
"What's a lawyer, Mama?"
Bugger. Becoming a parent means that you place yourself on the line for all sorts of uncomfortable--yet inevitable--questions asked at very random and usually inconvenient times. For some reason, my six year old daughter is particularly fond of shooting zingers at the back of my head as we travel down the road on the way to school in the mornings. I'm usually rushing and trying to keep us from getting creamed on the road and consequently have precious little cognitive ability to spare.
Granted, I probably should have anticipated and planned a little better for this one. How in the world do I describe what an attorney does to a first grader? I mean, I want her to still like me when I get done.
Of course, we do have hedge fund administrators and corporate bankers to thank for replacing us at the tippy top of the "World's Most Hated List," but lawyer jokes are still plenty popular...as I am grudgingly reminded at all sorts of social gatherings. Seriously, joking with a doctor about Medicare fraud would go over like a fart in church. It cuts both ways, buddy!
I feverishly scrolled through the dusty files in my head as I tried to come up with some sort of example of my work that would instantly make my daughter see me as a super hero. Zippo. Nada. Nothing.
The things a person sees in and around Criminal District Court...well...it's stuff you couldn't make up no matter how hard you tried. Folks will wear anything, say anything and do anything. A gal could attend thousands of cotillions and achieve a veritable Ph.D. in white glove classes, but until Emily Post comes out with an etiquette book offering guidance as to acceptable deportment for hooker sting operations, we are all cast into the wind to simply fare the best we can.
The first week of my law career, I was sent into the firm library to review about two hundred porn tapes in order to determine whether or not a client was illicitly filmed on them. Not exactly something you can look back on at the end of your day and say "job well done." I don't remember how many showers I had to take to get over that very, very, very gross afternoon.
Things haven't really improved all that much since then.
So here I am, barreling down the road at the veritable crack of dawn trying to come up with something g-rated to tell my darling girl about what I do every day: "Sugar, when folks get into trouble, lawyers try to help them."
"Ohhhhhhhh, like super heros...but where are your capes and tights and costumes?"
"Well my love, Mama is waiting on Emily Post to tell her what is acceptable."