We lawyers are some weird cats. It takes some mentally scrambled folks to willingly undergo the torture of law school and the Bar Exam just to graduate to suffer still more abuse from unappreciative clients and anyone else who feels like taking a shot at the perceived “bottom feeders of Society.”
You’ve heard me talk plenty about how attorneys interact with their clients, but those conversations sound like little old ladies at a tea party when compared to how attorneys talk to each other.
I’m not exactly a bra burning feminist. I certainly believe that women should be given an equal playing field with equal reward, but I do like having a door opened for me on occasion. Above all—as in most of my pursuits—I just try to keep a sense of humor about it. So, when I was a fresh young attorney making my way through the courthouse, I decided not to blow my stack over this slick lawyer dude who persisted in calling me “sugar,” “baby,” “honey,” “darling,” “dear” and any variation, hyphenation or combination of the same.
No, I figured if it was good enough for me, it was good enough for him, so I started calling him “babe,” “cupcake,” “sweetie pie,” and “pet” and any variation, hyphenation or combination of the same. Did my reciprocity shock our fair gentleman attorney and shame him into appropriate deportment?
Are you on crack?
Ten years later, we’re still at it and it’s getting more creative by the minute. I think at our last parting, I was the “pulse in his veins” and he was the “fire on my lips.”
Conversely, I have a slightly...um...different tradition with a female lawyer. Again, many, many moons ago when I was moist behind the ears, I was standing behind a lady in the line of attorneys waiting to talk to the ADA in courtroom 317. She was talking to someone about how she had just gotten off the phone with her client and he had blown her out for the double offense of waking him up with her telephone call and expecting him to be in court for his drug charge. She sighed in resignation and said rather sarcastically, “I guess I’m just a bitch for expecting so much from people.”
It probably won’t surprise you when I tell you that—being a somewhat sarcastic individual myself—my antennae perked up when I heard her tone. It’s always nice to make friends with another smartass so that there’s at least one more person on the planet who gets your sense of humor. Accordingly, I snorted and said, “Yeah, that was kind of a bitch move.”
Miss Sarcastic turned around and I saw the twinkle in her eye. She cracked a half smile and said, “And I bet you would know, wouldn’t you?”
“As a matter of fact, I have a Ph.D. in Bitchology.”
The half smile turned in to a full smile as she held out her hand, introduced herself and added, “It’s always nice to meet a kindred spirit.”
I think our initial meeting was the last time we called each other by our given names. Since then, when we pass in the hall, it’s:
...or some variation on the same. There are many greetings that I can’t repeat to you sensitive souls lest you collapse in fits of vapors.
Then there are the Cheesemeisters. I really don’t know what their deal is. These folks love to spout trite phrases or steal movie quotes. I have yet to determine if these dingbats think that spewing this crap makes them cool or if they actually think that folks don’t know that they’re stealing material. Some of my favorites:
1. Spouter: Don’t let your ego write any checks your body can’t cash! (Um, Top Gun, anyone???)
Ashley: That’s what credit cards are for.
2. Spouter: You’re about to bring a world of hurt down on yourself, little lady!
Ashley: I have Tylenol in my purse.
3. Spouter: You need to step up to the plate and deliver! (I swear to God, if I hear that on one more frigging reality show sound bite, I am going to lose what precious little sanity I have left. I sure to hell don’t need to hear it from opposing counsel.)
Ashley: Objection as to lack of specificity. What “plate?” Home plate? A buffet plate? Deliver what? A bat? A casserole? Your statement calls for entirely too much speculation.
I should probably stop now before my eye starts twitching.