Friday, February 10, 2006

End of an era

I don't know why, but the news made me sad today.

I came across a note online that said, effective January 27, 2006 Western Union would no longer send telegrams or commercial messages.

It's not as if I use the telegram frequently. I think I've only received one or two in my life.

But there's a romance to that yellow envelope. It hearkens back to a "simpler" time--Jimmy Stewart opening the telegram on Christmas Eve promising to advance him $25,000 or Sherlock Holmes receiving a telegram over lunch and quickly scribbling a reply message. It was a challenge to get across an understandable message in as few words as possible.

I suppose that's what today's generation does with text messaging. But it's not just the same, somehow.

They say e-mail killed the telegram.

Let's hope it doesn't kill the fountain pen, too.

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Friday, February 03, 2006

Et tu?

Have you ever discovered that co-workers are talking about you behind your back?

What about co-workers you trusted?

Have they talked about the brand of clothes you wear? the state of your office? how about your work ethic?

Granted, these things happen in any workplace, let alone a good-sized law office.

Nothing like putting in 60- to 70-hour weeks . . . only to have a dozen "nine-to-four-o'-clockers" question your work ethic. Or to have them grouse about the fact that you may have an old orange on your desk amid seemingly-random stacks of papers and files. Hey--it's my desk, my orange, and I know where everything is, so leave it alone.

It's an environmentally-friendly paperweight.

Nothing like slaving away for a pittance to pay back school loans (at the expense of food for your wife and children) . . . only to have your fashion sense questioned or your dietary choices discussed.

Forgive me for not going with the Armani.

Or the fancy take-out/sit-down meals.

I happen to like my wardrobe. And my left-overs.

And so long as the work is done, who are you people to complain or watch my clock?

  • Never mind that these people are FAR from perfection themselves . . . although professing to be "perfect" Christians, they seem to find the motes and miss the beams quite regularly.
  • Never mind that your focus in life is: first, family/God; second, the firm's success.
  • Never mind that they put in their 35 hours and go home whistling, with never a look back or a question about whether their work is completed.
  • Never mind that it is your career, your malpractice insurance, your neck on the line and simply their "job"--one they could (and do) master with only a GED under their belt, and one that could likely be done by a trained monkey.
  • Never mind all that; we just have to point and pick, point and pick . . . with no provocation at all.

The bright side? They have no idea at all that I know about their petty little feelings and conversations.

I don't get mad.

You know the rest. . . .

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Losing Friends, redux

I just realized that from my previous post it almost sounds as if a friend had died. My mistake. I was simply referring to the all-too-oft-occuring alienation and disaffection that happens in friendships. Again: lest I be misunderstood, I was not referring to death, but being "released" from a friendly relationship.

Although death of a friend may sometimes be preferable to the outright disaffection one feels. At least with death (as with alienation of a sibling) it was not a choice of either person's making. (Although, I suppose in some circumstances death may have been a choice of paths away from the friendship, but I digress too much.) OK. usually not a choice of either person's making.

With death, you generally do not have to be worried about "bumping into" your ex-friend. You don't have to worry about them spreading lies and gossip to mutual acquaintances. You certainly don't have to worry about them coming after you for some imagined and misperceived slight. At least with death, you can remember your friend fondly without the memories being clouded by negative feelings of a more recent origin.

I'm just saying . . . it hurts.

And better deceased than released.

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Thursday, February 02, 2006

Losing friends

You know, I've been thinking recently, what a horrible ordeal it is to lose a friend.

Imagine, someone you've known for years--someone who was as close as a brother or sister to you.

Then one day . . . something happens. You don't talk quite as often, or as long, or about the same types of things. Your interests diverge. Pretty soon, you're seeing each other only on special occasions: holidays, birthdays, and that sort of thing.

And then . . . not.

It hurts. It's like losing a family member. Between a sibling rejecting you and a friend? I'm not sure which hurts more. In some ways it's harder to lose a friend. A sibling--well, you got stuck with who you got; a friend is a sibling you chose, and who chose you. Losing such a friend is almost a more personal, hurtful rejection than losing a sibling the same way.

But it happens.

And oh . . . it hurts.

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Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Who's responsible?

Today I had what I wish was a unique experience, but is all too common in the practice of law.

My "favorite" member of the federal judiciary decided to deny two of my motions. Now, that's not too surprising, considering I advised both of these clients two months ago that it was a lost cause to bring the motions. They both persisted, however, in wanting their chance to have the judge tell them they were up in the night.

So against my advice, they directed me to file these motions--nearly identical motions that were, coincidentally, heard by the same judge on the same calendar.

Just my luck.

For the past two months, I repeatedly warned them of the very real possibility of failure. They claimed to understand and accept the fact. As we walked into the courtroom this morning, I warned them both AGAIN.

What happened? The judge denied the motions (!!Surprise!!) and I faced two weeping, sobbing, angry clients in the hallway wanting to know what happened, why they lost, what to do next, and "I thought you promised we'd be O.K."

These are the things for which law school WILL NOT prepare you.

Can I at least say, "I told you so"?

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