Lawyers are such weirdos. Of course, it doesn’t help when we answer the “So what do you do?” question at parties and our reply either makes people’s eyes widen in horror or causes them to ask for free legal advice about Uncle Bernie defaulting on a loan.
Still, it’s true. We think differently than other folks and I can tell you why: Law School is like boot camp from hell. They break you down into sniveling bits of nothing during your first year and then they build you back up to what you signed on to be: A cyborg-ish individual with statutes and case notes programmed into your brainwaves who sees the potential for liability at every single turn in both your professional and private lives. More fun than a bag of tacks.
If I am at the grocery store and see something spilled on the floor, I take the time to alert a store employee of the problem so that the business is “aware of the clear and present danger” in the event someone falls and hurts themselves. Thanks to the dumbass Legislature, such “irrefutable” knowledge of the danger is a prerequisite to a successful slip and fall case, so I go out of my way to leap that hurdle. I even hover around until they take care of things so that I can make myself available for testimony in the event that something happens.
I also don’t flash my lights at oncoming cars to warn about speed traps because that’s my bread and butter. Sorry.
The main problem about this lawyer programming thing is that it doesn’t turn off and that’s when you run into what I call:
The Legalization of Motherhood
- Nesting: It’s that adorable and cozy little thing that expectant mothers do right before they check into the hospital (or go batshit crazy and get some midwife to help them drop a baby in a kiddie pool in their living room). They put sheets on the crib, wash and fluff the blankets, fold clothes, match all of those microscopic socks and put them in their special microscopic sock drawer and do whatever else comes with the unbelievably massive undertaking of having a child.
How did I nest? I wrote my Will, my Health Care Power of Attorney, my General Power of Attorney and my Declaration of My Desire for a Natural Death.
- Lullabies: We’ve all been there. It’s 3:00 AM and you’ve gone through the entire iPod in your head. You’ve sung Jimmy Buffet, Bob Marley, The Drifters, The Chairmen of the Board, Ozzy, Guns ‘n Roses, Harry Belafonte, Willie Nelson, David Allan Coe, Broadway Hits, Broadway Flops and even that “Dooby Dooby Doo” song those penguins did in that beer commercial. You start making shit up.
What do lawyers make up?
Hush little baby, don’t you cry,
Mama’s gonna buy you an alibi...
- Chores and Allowances: As the rugrats get older, they give the appearance of being able to act responsibly and handle chores. Of course, all parents know that this is complete bullshit and if you depend on the children to actually feed the dog, the ASPCA will be banging your door down for willfully starving your animals to death. Nonetheless. parents and children continue to engage in the time honored fallacy of giving money to children for doing pretend work.
This is where being a lawyer actually works out. I drew up an Allowance Contract. There are forum clauses, non-compete disclosures, unilateral penalties—hell, the contract has been underway for a year and Baby Belle 1’s been in breach so many times that we’ve only distributed 5 or 6 payments.
- Sibling Arguments: The bane of parenthood. They fuss from the time they get up in the morning ‘til the sun goes down at night. Sometimes I think that I even hear mine carrying on in their sleep. When the planets align just perfectly and one of them feels like being nice, the other one is a complete shit and vice versa. Some parents try a points system, some parents try a more fascist straight punishment system. Let’s face it, no matter what sort of approach parents try, they still end up leaving head dents in the walls.
What does a lawyer do? I choose to amuse myself while confounding my children:
Baby Belle 1: Mama! Baby Belle 2 won’t share Daddy’s iPad!
Me: Objection sustained. Baby Belle 2, hand it over!
Baby Belle 2: Huh?
Baby Belle 1: Mamaaaaaaa! Baby Belle 2 said that I’m being Miss Bossy Pants! Make her apologize to me!
Me: Objection overruled. You were pretty darn bossy to me right there. Tone it down, young’un.
Baby Belle 1: But Ma—
Me: Your objection is noted for the record, but my ruling stands. If you wish to file your appeal with Daddy, he gets home at 6:00.
Baby Belle 1: Huh?
Me: Baby Belle 2, I’m giving myself permission to treat you as a hostile witness. I did, in fact, give you 3 chicken nuggets for your lunch, did I not?
Baby Belle 2: Um...
Me: And I did tell you that you had to eat all 3 chicken nuggets if you wanted to have a popsicle for dessert, right?
Baby Belle 2: Um...
Me: I see that your plate is empty, is that correct?
Baby Belle 2: (Smiling because she thinks she’s got it now) Yes!
Me: But isn’t it true that you only took one bite of one of the chicken nuggets and fed the rest to the dog when you thought I wasn’t looking?
Me: Isn’t it?
Baby Belle 2: Um...huh?
Am I using my using my powers for good and not evil in the world of parenting? Debatable, but occasionally enjoyable.