Thursday, March 31, 2005

It's This Kind of Spontaneous Publicity...

Okay, so I'm a brand new blogger. A baby blogger. A embryonic indeterminate lifeform that has the potential some day to become a real blogger. And by "real blogger" I mean someone who can post photos, be charming and funny on a daily basis, and make pretty links. And gets read. And even comments!

Aye, there's the rub--are you really a blogger if no one knows you blog? If a man talks in the forest and there's no one to hear, is he still wrong? What is the sound on one blogger clapping? Does the delivery of the new phone books with my phone number in it make me famous?

So, on the second day of posting on this newfangled bloggy thingy, I have no comments. Zero comments. Just what you would expect from the second day of blogging with no photos! No funny! No pretty links!

But wait! Or as Shakespeare says, but soft! There are instructions to make a pretty link--let's try it!

Find out what song was number one on the day you were born--America or UK! Click here! Believe it or not, on my birthdate, it was "Walk Like A Man" by Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. Which totally tells you how old I am, but excuse? me? Since when does a man who sings in a falsetto unmatched since the age of the castrati know about walking like a man? Walking like a Egyptian maybe, or walking this way perhaps, or even in boots that were made for walking. But man? Not so much.

Hey! Pretty link! No nasty URL cluttering up the page. Just pretty pretty princess links! I now have a dangerous weapon in my control! Look on me and weep!

And leave an encouraging comment, will you?

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Does this mean I'm not married?

I had my wedding ring cut off yesterday. I managed to extract my finger from the engagement ring, but the wedding band was just too tight. Actually, my finger was too fat, but that's putting a negative spin on the whole thing.

It was the right thing to do, as I was getting what my sister calls "ring rot"--itchy skin under the ring, probably having something to do with twenty years of soap buildup or something.

The interesting thing is the little tool they used to cut the ring off. I went to the swanky jewelry store across from the swanky local grocery store. The suave salesguy was younger than I am, which is oddly empowering, considering that I was wearing old jeans and running shoes. I was, um, not swanky. Suave Salesguy fetched down jeweler's technician, who was either from India or farther east, and didn't seem to speak much English. His hands and nails were stained with something like silver polish. He has this nifty little tool that was like a manual can opener. A can opener for baby cans. Baby cans that open sideways.

He slipped the grooved guard between the inside of my finger and the ring, then lowered the tiny little round blade--you know, like the thing that actually cuts open the top of the can, only much smaller, and then he cranked it around like a wind-up toy. Eventually, it made it through the metal, and he then used pliers to spread the edges so I wouldn't hurt myself on the new sharp points.

He even missed the entire engraving inside, which was just good luck.

Turns out that twenty years of ring wearing is hard on the ring. The prongs that hold the diamond in place have been worn down by the diamond, and the base of the prongs (the crown) is missing a divot where it rubbed against the wedding band for twenty years.

Well, since that will cost something to repair--don't we all think should just put the diamond in a different, shinier setting? Or does that invalidate the marriage?

Even Alanis Morrisette would get that this is ironic

Johnny Cochrane died today. You do too know who Johnny Cochrane is! Okay, I'll give you a hint. O.J.? "If the glove don't fit, you must acquit"? That's right, that Johnny Cochrane. And you thought you couldn't name any lawyers.

So, the ironic part? He died of a brain tumor. If you are not now or have not at any time been a member of the bar, this may not strike you as meaningful in any way. But it is. See, lawyers, for all that they want to do good, stand up for the small guy, change society for the better, and all that high falutin' stuff--lawyers have to do some nasty thinking. They learn some nasty stuff about human beings.

Human beings can be nasty--this may have been my fatal flaw in practicing law: I simply could not believe that people would behave the way they do. Give me a criminal accused of killing and dismembering his girlfriend, and not only could I not believe that he would have done it, I couldn't believe that anyone would have done it--the evidence of the corpse notwithstanding. Of course, I didn't do criminal law in my practice, so I was spared those particular horrors.

Johnny Cochrane was not. Spared those horrors, I mean. Think about it--if, as so many people think, O.J. Simpson really did kill both his ex-wife and Ron Goldman--after all, somebody did--and Johnny Cochrane knew it. What must that have done to his brain--to steep in the poison that is the knowledge that his client is guilty, and not only guilty but guilty of a heinous crime--and to devise the trial strategies that resulted in acquittal? What bad juju went in and messed with his brain? Don't you think that could be cancer-causing?

I know, so don't bother to write--the system only works if even the guilty are provided with representation. I am totally down with that--I don't really want to live in a society where suspicion and conviction are the very same thing. I want O.J. to walk, even if he is guilty, if he walks because the prosecution fails to prove that he really did kill two people. Because I don't want to be sitting in a courtroom as a defendant, with my freedom at stake on the principle of "well, somebody did it, so we might as well blame you."

That said, there is a particular kind of mind that can live with the knowledge that the person you are defending is, in fact, guilty, and it takes a particular kind of mind to accept that, and to continue to create arguments, and questions, and to live with the intensity of trial work, day after day, when you are doing something that is in some fundamental fashion not right.

And it's not just about O.J., of course. The very nature of lawyering is to take someone's position, and argue and plan and position and strategize and somehow make the result come out the way your client wants it to--regardless of whether that is the right thing.

I worked on a case where every legal precedent on the matter came out against my client. Not that there was anything at stake more than money in this instance, and it was one insurance company fighting with another to determine which one was going to pay the losses caused by a fire. But my client didn't want to have to pay it all; it wanted at least some of the money to come from another insurance company. Sure--that sounds fair, but the rules of insurance were that when you sold insurance, you charged premiums on the assumption that you would pay for the entire loss, whether or not there was any other insurance that could also pay.

So, my client fought. I could understand the impetus--I mean, the other insurance company also collected enough premiums to cover the entire loss, and they were getting off scot free. But, that had been considered before, a bunch of times, and every time the courts said "too bad, so sad, pay up."

Then I had a baby. Then I had depression. Then I left the practice of law, which was a good thing for my client, because against all precedent, against all prior decisions, they got a judge to order the other guys to pay too.

It makes my head hurt to think what mental gymnastics it took the lawyers to go through when they knew they were making a bad argument, and not only were they arguing against the rules, they were charging their own client to make the bad argument.

So, if brain cancer can be caused, I'd guess that lawyers have a higher than average incidence. But not me, since I'm not one anymore.