Tuesday, November 13, 2007


Today was about shit. Nothing else. Shit. That's it. Shit.

And dead pre-baby babies. Depending where you come down on the whole philosophical debate about pre-baby babies, of course.

Shit and dead pre-baby babies. Entire revolutions have erupted from less.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Hold fast, comrades!

In the grand tradition of the sectarian Marty Luther, I posted the Averments against Parson Tutu* not with a nail on the Papist's front door, but in a more mundane manner, by hand delivering the Complaint to the offices of the Bishop of Scholars in the early morning hours of All Hallows Eve. It was a bright sunny day with crisp, cool air and the strains of Mick and the Boys singing about Sympathy for a subversive by the name of Lucifer rang in my ears as I sallied forth to complete my task. As the primary author of this accusatory missive, I took it upon myself to also ensure its proper delivery. I took this matter very seriously, and in keeping with the mode of True Religion, I was deliberate about its execution. The original Complaint and a copy were personally presented to the Bishop's clerk, whereupon the appropriate stamps and marks of certification were attached. Further, I presented another copy to the Clerk of Clerics to be delivered directly to Parson Tutu himself. This is where I got into a little trouble.

Upon returning to my domicile I posted messages to by comrades-in-arm sadvising them of the Complaint's delivery to the Bishop of Scholars and the Parson. Within a very short time, my servants returned with urgent letters from a few of my colleagues, alarmed and despondent about the Complaint's delivery to the Parson. It seems they were not clear on my intentions to execute this service and were quite anxious about the effect his receipt of our allegations which questioned the soundness of his pedagogy would have in our sessions on Estates the following week. These peers of mine were worried the Parson might somehow treat us differently, or his mood would be afflicted in some manner which would infect the atmosphere of his seminar with animosity and discord, perhaps directed specifically towards the signatories of the Complaint.

Struggling to maintain my composure, I sought to address these concerns with tact, empathy and patience, all the while absolutely seething underneath the hastily constructed facade of concern and understanding. First, I thought their concerns very misplaced. It was the view of these alarmist that Parson Tutu would become aggressive and decidedly antagonistic upon our next meeting. Second, they were concerned about how this action might in some manner compromise the Administration's ability to respond and react to our claims.

In my opinion, they couldn't have been more wrong. In the first place, by providing the good Parson with notice of our complaints, he would realize that he is now under the microscope, so to speak, and any further conduct which might be even remotely considered questionable would be subject to severe scrutiny. Secondly, it was not an antagonistic move to put him on notice, but rather it provided him the time and opportunity to prepare his own defense. Sort of considerate on our part, I thought. Third, I honestly do not see how the actions of the Bishops would be prejudiced in any way simply by our providing the Parson with a copy of the letter, which he would most assuredly get from the Bishops at some point in this action we've now commenced. And finally, WHAT THE FUCK WAS OUR INTENT AT THE OUTSET?!?!?!??!

We had, as a group, decided that we had had enough. After weeks and weeks of sub-standard instruction and derisive treatment by a faculty member with no tenure and questionable competence, we were compelled to take action, not only on our own behalf, but for other scholars who would follow in our tutelage. After much time and discussion deliberating as to the most appropriate and effective course of action, we, or rather I, drafted the Complaint. Each of my comrades were to have reviewed it thoroughly, and like those famous old men with the breeches and white wigs, we each affixed our mark to the document signifying our unity and commitment to our cause. So my question: Did you not think this all the way through??

Seriously, did you think that somehow the Powers that Be were going to not take some action in response? Did it not occur to you that Parson Tutu would be given a copy of the Complaint to provide his own response? And did you seriously think that there weren't going to be some feathers that got ruffled?? I mean really, pull your head out of your fucking asses and grow some balls! I realize that for the three alarmists, that is anatomically impossible, but at least TRY to demonstrate some courage in the face of adversity. Talk about having the courage of your convictions...

The ironic part: The loudest whiner of the three likes to close her correspondence with this quote: "Well behaved women rarely make history," or some such bullshit. Give me a motherfucking break, you insipid twit.

Well, it's been a week and a day since delivery of the Complaint. In that time, we've attended two sessions of Estates and the Parson's attitude and lesson quality have both significantly improved; none of the comrades have broken ranks (yet), and I just received notice from the Bishop of Scholars confirming receipt of our Complaint, which has been shared with the Archbishop. I don't expect anything formal for the next couple of weeks, but suffice to say, we're not seen the end of this parade yet!

* I know I referred to him as the Bishop of Estates previously, and that is in fact the subject matter he is charged with instructing, but he is hardly worthy of the title Bishop given his tenure and the questions of competence at issue.

PS: A shout out to my boy, The Enabler, who's birthday is today. Schloop, you cock-gobbler!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

A Call to Arms.

"A little rebellion now and then is a good thing. " - T. Jefferson

The conspiracy to depose my latest nemesis is proceeding forward quite nicely. Despite my early trepidation as to whether the members of my cohort would have the stomach for such dangerous and bloody work, I have gathered a sufficient number of comrades-in-arms to form a lean yet stout force to strike out against the draconian rule of my current foe, the vile and ill-met Chaplain of Estates.

For lo these past several weeks, my colleagues and I have been embattled and downtrodden by the machinations of this man who, for reasons incalculable, has achieved a position of some, albeit small stature and notoriety. He has been charged with the tutelage of the ancient and venerable traditions concerning proprietorship of things real and personal. Doctrines and tenets of this nature form the very core of the High Religion and are replete through all other fields of religious study. It is essential to myself and my associates that our education and understanding of these matters run deep and clear as the river waters which cascade from the peaks of my homeland. Unfortunately, under the direction of this neophyte, such is not the case.

The Chaplain is new to his position, having come from various temporary posts throughout the realm, where he performed various research and clerical functions. Born in the frontier which lies north of the Emerald City, where the mountains and tundra come together in a grandiose display of Mother Nature's finest craftsmanship, he was raised a bastard in the outer villages which surround the City of Roses. Despite his northern heritage, he bears a name reminiscent of his likely distant ancestors who rose from the Dark Continent, from which they were taken in bondage. Now several generations have passed and he has made good on the promises offered to all in Land of the Colonials.

From the outset of our association things have been somewhat tense. Having spent the majority of his own training before attending Seminary studying the art and craft of education, the Chaplain has deemed it worthwhile to dispense with the traditional mode of instruction practiced for decades in Seminaries throughout the Republic in favor of a newer, more organic and decidedly laissez-faire approach. This he believes will better serve our training and development in our march toward consecration into the Priesthood.

Initially intrigued and open to new formulas, I, along with my associates have found ourselves thrown into a vast pit of confusion, consternation and outright rage as a result of the Chaplain's ham-handed, ill-conceived and ineffectually executed plan. His lack of preparation and experienced are on blatant display daily through his frequent factual errors, misstatements of doctrine and obnoxious equivocation. The lack of clarity in his instruction is exponentially compounded by his deliberate failure to adequately address or respond to a student's query on a given topic or point of tuition. Never mind the steady stream of sophomoric missteps found in his written material, his obvious reliance on outside sources for aids in the conduction of our twice weekly session and the utter lack of personal work product.

In all honesty, if these complaints were the sounding of a struggling few, even including myself, I would simply chalk it up to the statistical deviation along the learning curve. That is not the case here, however. Without exception, every member of my company has been driven to the edge of madness and melancholia by the Chaplain's methods. When confronted individually and by the group, he simply dismissed our concerns that we were not being adequately prepared in this core curriculum. His disdain apparent, he simply added additional work which required the students teach each other, despite our clear lack of understanding and clarity of the subject matter.

After many weeks of grousing and rabid discontent, a suggestion was made to lodge a formal complaint against the Chaplain. Slowly the notion took hold. Soon, active discussions were had concerning the nature of a formal grievance, the ramifications of such action and the narrow likelihood of remedial action being taken by the powers that be. When it appeared there would be no one courageous enough to stand up for themselves and their brothers, a nucleus of actors pulled together by the sheer gravity of their collective will. The final event which pushed this cadre out of entropy and into a stage of critical mass came from a conversation I had with my sainted patriarch. Expressing my distress about the unwillingness of my compatriots to take the reins in hand and engage in some action which might affirmatively address the intolerable situation, he responded this was more often than not the case with people. When I sadly agreed to his wise observation, he asked in a rather off hand manner, "So are you a leader or not...?"

Several more days have since passed. With pen in hand, I have drafted the complaint and submitted it to the junta for revisions. I expect a concurrence by those members willing and ready to stand up and be heard early next week. At that point, I will submit our Statement of Distress to the Administration. Then I suspect, the fun will really begin.

Once more into the breach, my friends...

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The Dirge

The Ranch had it's yearly roundup and rodeo recently and I was called to make the long trek back to attend. Great!! On top of everything they're throwing at me in Seminary, I've now got to head out overland to play rodeo-clown games with my bosses and colleagues. Like I've really got the time to spare.

The truth be told, these things are usually a pretty good time. Plus, the Honcho always picks up the tab(s). And he's a big fan of quality AND quantity. So sure, I'll take a long weekend back home, see some friends, have a good time...

Well, with all that's been going on at the Ranch this past month, especially my client load literally doubling overnight, I thought some levity would be a good idea. So I get an idea to write a little ditty I could use as a toast at the traditional Friday evening hoe-down. I kicked that idea around for a few days, and over the course of another week, came up with this.

Requiem for the New Guy
By Jacques Roux

There was a fine stronghold
Nestled in the Nor’west,
Who’s honor glowed brightly
With reputation the best.

It’s future was strong,
And full of big dreams.
The staff a stout cadre
Who worked as a team.

The causes were plenty
The revenue did flow.
Expansion was needed
The syndicate must grow.

The inquiry started
The net cast far and wide.
A person good hearted
With valor bona fide.

The applicants assembled
Not quite a brigade,
By audit the list dwindled
Reviewed by parade.

But finally a choice
A decision was made,
A man with experience
Did make the good grade.

A soul mate in arms
We thought we had found.
Too bad his defects
Were so dearly profound.

His staunch work ethic
Did prove to be lacking.
Deceit and inept
We sent him a-packing.

He failed to achieve
Our high, worthy standard.
Asleep on his feet
He frequently pandered.

Chicanery proved
His final undoing.
At once was removed
The lies were accruing.

Stern warnings were clear
Never darken our door,
Gross neglect and defect
We’d suffer no more.

Adieu and goodbye
Farwell and so long,
No tear will we cry
Now that you are gone.

Unfortunately, the whole 'New Guy Affair', as it's come to be called, was far more vast, insidious and repugnant than I was previously aware. As a result, the troops were quite downtrodden and preoccupied, so the comedic payoff was not quite as great as I had hoped.

I should have known better anyway. The New Guy never was that funny to begin with...

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Walking Papers

So I'm back at the grind here in seminary. I know, it's been a long time since I last posted here, but you know what? I don't fucking care. And you know what else? I'm not going to bother with any lame ass, quasi-excuses, especially since no one reads this damn stuff and this is all just an exercise in mental masturbation. Of course, that pretty much sums up a large part of my current lifestyle and living arrangement. But I digress...

So, I'm back at it, the whole studying, working, not drinking near enough booze routine that has become my life of late. Which is good, because let's face it, I signed up for this bullshit, right? Anyway, I sitting here in my cell this past Saturday reading about a bunch of school kids in Kansas who wanted to do away with a little thing called "separate but equal...", or was it some bullshit on the 5 principle functions of punishment? It must've been the latter because I remember thinking that whatever I was reading when I was interupted was something I could really get behind, you know, philosophically. And given my general dislike of humans under the age of consent, I could give two shits about a bunch of Flatlander rugrats crying about their supposed civil rights.... So anyway, I get this call from the head honcho at the Ranch, wanting to know if I've got a few minutes for him on this fine weekend morning.

"You bet!" I reply enthusiastically. He does sign the pay voucher, after all. But, not too enthusiastically, like in a stupid "I'm happy to be alive!" twit sort of way. So grabbing a note pad and ink stick, I set aside the tome currently before me and get ready for what's coming. I've found that when the honcho calls you on the weekend, it means he's got something that's gonna require a note or two. At least.

This time, it took several pages.

"So you'll recall the situation we had discussed when you were last in town, about New Guy, and how he and I and the Major Domo were going to follow up on that...," the Boss says in typical social management doublespeak, which we all use like a suit of vague specificness to maintain decorum.

"Sure I do."

"Well, over the past week, some more things have come to my attention, things beyond what you and I discussed last month, and we've basically laid it out to New Guy that he needs to make a decsion over the weekend...," Essentially, get your shit together, or you're out of here.

Finally! I think to myself. This guy needed to go a long time ago. Like most shitbags, he was proving to be a real cancer in the Ranch's social system, not to mention that he wasn't generating any significant revenue since he'd come aboard over a year ago. I was of the opinion that we got sold a bill of goods when we selected him, and I was ready see him gone before I had even departed for Penn's Forest over a year ago. What's worse, I was a bit embarrased about his substandard performance since I had played a significant part in the decision to hire him.

Adopting a more neutral and formal tone, I reply to the Honch non-commitally, "Okay..."

And then the Honcho goes into a quick summary of yet another instance where New Guy has really dropped the ball in another exapmple of terrible customer service regarding one of our clients. Over the past several months, there have been several such instances of poor conduct and inadequate service, which have progressively gotten worse. And over this time, I've seen the Boss get more and more frustrated with having to handle this personnel problem.

Now I have learned a thing or two about working with Boss. One, he is very effective in dealing with personnel issues, but is very deliberate in making any extreme, sudden changes in this area of business manamgement. Whether it's hiring or firing, he wants to make sure that he hires the right kind of people to surround himself with, and will go to great lengths to develop and retain those who are selected. Two, with that deliberateness comes a preference for facts, rather than subjective opinion when it comes to making most any decision, large or small. Three, given enough time, usually not long, and the best data available, he consistenly makes sound, equitable decisions. So I knew it was only a matter of time for this ass-hat.

Based on these insights into the Honcho's style, I like to wait and see how things develop a little bit before I put my two cents worth in. Now I was well aware of the recent increase in the severity of New Guy's shortcomings. Hell, I was catching complaint calls about on his cases from vendors while I was on Mission thousands of miles away in Botany Bay this summer!! And the things I saw in his files while I was doing a short stint at the Ranch House earlier this year made me shudder!! On more than one occassion I thought to myself, "Wow, I'm glad I'm not on the Ranch brand!" So upon hearing the Boss' moderately agitated state which prompted him to call me on a Saturday morning, I realized that we were finally at a critical point.

That's when I decided to casually drop the bomb, (or rather an IED) and pass along a little information regarding our boy that I had recently uncovered. You see, after he was hired, I quickly became more than a little suspicious of him. There was something about him that put me off in a weird sort of way which told me never to trust him. Besides an instinvtual aversion, his facile way in dealing with people raise serious questions about his sincerity. Lookng back it seems so clear, but then hindsight has the benefit of 20/20. So it was no real surpise when I found what I did.

The truth of it is, I went snooping. I went digging into his electronic employee folder to compare his Yearly Performance Plan with mine. I wanted to see just what the Ranch's expectations of him were, in light of his less than stellar performance. Now this employee folder, and we all have one, is kept and maintained by the individual, not the Ranch itself, and is used to store whatever that person wants to store. Files, pictures, whatever. The presumption is 1) the file is public, and 2) it's to be used for work related stuff. Sure, it might be considered prying, but he has, like each and every one of us, no expectation of privacy regarding these electronic files. And what I found was that he wasn't making any greater percentage off his cases than I was, which satisfied that nagging curiosity and competitive streak. More importantly, I discovered that he'd saved some docs written under his own outfit's brand. Which wouldn't have been that big a deal to me, except that I kept digging.

Now I knew New Guy'd been moonlighting. And I'd suspected that it might be getting in the way of his performance at the Ranch, but that was fine. I figured that with time, he'd take enough rope to hang himself with. Besides, he had a wife and two kids, so he's putting some extra time in elsewhere. Whatever. But the thing is, I discovered he'd not only taken over a prospective client's case after we'd declined her, but he'd used his relationship through the Ranch to get hired by her and was using property proprietary to the Ranch in prosecuting the case. And it wasn't an isolated incident.

So when the Boss got done laying it all out about how he and New Guy were going to meet on Tuesday, and how he'd see what the ass-bag had to say about staying and working, or moving on, I took the advantage.

"Well, Boss, I think I'd better let you in on some things I've come across..." I told him what I'd found, and beamed copies of the docs over to him to review, and let the magic happen. Now the Boss is not the kind of dude to blow his cool, or beome easily rattled. On the contrary. But after hearing my summary and listening to the Honcho's initial reacation, it was clear to me that things had escalated several notched. After giving full disclosure to the Boss about my investigation, I bid the Honcho adieu and waited to hear more for him early in the week.

The next morning, even earlier, I get another call. It's the Boss. He informs me that he's spoken with Major Domo, and based on a review of the documents I'd uncovered, a further search of New Guy's files, and in light of his downward spiraling performance, there was no need to allow him a final option.

Instead, Boss and Major Domo met New Guy at 9:00 the next morning and handed him his walking papers. In the manual, there are 11 violations for which a person may be summarily dismissed. New Guy was in violation of 6.

Happy trails, you shit bag!!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

I thought this would be more like law school...

Sadly though, it's not. It's more reminiscent of high school. Now I realize that I was duly warned of this phenomena by one of my BT/DT (been there, done that) buddies, but holy Christ-on-a-Cross, I never realized just how sophomoric things could get!!!

I admit it, I'm a bit of a geek when it comes to this whole education thing. I've always considered education, specifcally higer education, to be a privilege, and something to fully engage oneself. If not purely for the intellectual benefits, then definitely for the worldly benefits (read: monitary) one may reap upon completion. With the significant investment of money, time and energy required in post-graduate level work, especially law school, doesn't it seem reasonable that you would want to get the best return possible? Sadly that doesn't appear to be the case with many of my colleagues. They seem more than happy, hell, even dedicated to doing the least amount required of them in order to get by.

The first in my litany of current frustrations is the seeming inability of most of my peers to make themselves heard. And I'm referring to the most basic meaning of the word. For those of you who don't know me, I'm a talker. A LOUD talker. My voice "carries," as they say. Like about 93 million miles. And that's just at my normal speaking volume. It's one of the reasons I got into acting so many years ago. I figured I might as well make the most of this asset, and the job of "carnival barker" just didn't have the same sex appeal as the notion of hanging around after school with a bunch of repressed gay boys and neurotic girls. But I digress... suffice to say, people rarely have a hard time hearing me when I speak. Which is frequently, and ususally ad nauseam.

My issue is this: several of those in my cohort can't seem to muster up the cajones or wherewithal to make themselves heard when called upon in class. Granted there are only between 20 and 35 of us in a given class, usually seated in a lecture hall big enough to seat up to 120 people, but fuck, let's make an effort here. The accoustics in the room are not that bad. You would think that after being asked repeatedly to "Please speak louder, I can't hear you," and "Could you speak up for those in the back who couldn't hear you?" you'd get the idea. Especially you, little Miss Becky*, who has been chastised on a regular basis by each and every professor for a semester and a half because you can't be heard past the person seated in front of you. I realize that you're very cute and demure, and that sweet ass of yours just slays me, but throw me a bone here! How about getting with the program here? In class discussions are so much more rewarding, and informative, if I can hear both sides of the dialogue.

Now as I've said before, I'm a talker. Class participation is not a problem for me. Talking things through, dialoguing with my professors, mentors, peers, or four walls of my shitty little apartment, is one of the most effective ways I learn. And I realize that this method is not for everyone. But in case you, my dear colleagues, haven't figured it out yet, they're trying to teach us to not only "think like lawyers," but also "act" and therefore "perform like lawyers." WhileI recognize that not every one of us is going to be a litigator, each and every one of us will have clients, and opponents, with whom we will be required to speak to intelligently. Even if you never step foot inside a court room, you are going to have to learn how to represent yourself and your client through verbal communicaiton. You will need to be persuasive and compelling in your dialogues. And if you think that comes from simply "knowing the law," you are sadly, sadly mistaken. You better get used to "standing tall before the man," and speaking in front of people you barely know, or else you're going to have a bunch of people who are supposed to be paying your fee very pissed off at you.

So how about giving it a shot? Instead of letting the 3 or 4 of us who always participate in class discussions, while you sit there acting like you know what the fuck is going on, how about you step up to the plate and take a swing. Because I'll tell you something, I am no smarter, or have any clearer idea of what's going on than you. I'm just better than you at facing and overcoming my fear of failure or looking a little foolish in front of others. And guess what, I only got this good by practice. Lots and lots of practice. So you might as well practice now, while the training wheels are still on, before this shit gets "real."

Second, I never thought it would happen again, but I was actually held after class so the prof could have a "word with me." Not quite detention, but pretty friggin' close. Long story short (if that's actually possible for me), my Methods class has been divided into two groups, representing both sides in a hypothetical law suit. We'll be using this hypo and the class split for the entire semester, culminating in actual oral arguments before real-life judges for our final class project.

(I can't wait for this. Did I mention I'm a talker...?)

Anyway, one day in class, we're bouncing arguments back and forth between the two groups, sort of testing them out and proving to the prof that we're actually doing the research and analysis required to work through the project. Personally, I think it defeats the purpose of the oral args, but who am I to question the instructor's methods. So, I'm just sitting there taking notes on what my opponents have to offer, so I can prepare my rebuttals down the road. During this exchange one of the guys on the opposing side, Mr. (Orange) Roughy, offered up one of his thoughts. Now I considered this guy one a friend of sorts, (we'd crammed together for finals last semester, but more on that later) and so I made a wise crack in response. Specifically, I yawned in a slightly exaggerated manner and said, under my breath, "What a yawner..." Now this cat is close enough to hear me (he is in the same state, afterall), and he turns, looks at me, and shoots me a grin, as if to say "Yeah, I know. But the Professor Fussypants called on me and I didn't have anything new to offer that hasn't already been said." In other words, he took it for the smart-assed comment that it was. Okay, no harm, no foul. There were some chuckles around the room, and we moved on.

The next class, however, began with a general announcement from Professor Fussypants to the effect that she hoped nobody was offended from the proceedings in the previous class, that she sought to maintain a truly professional atmosphere and would not tolerate any deviations otherwise. During this brief speech, I look around and notice the rest of my peers are just as confused as I. But it occurs to me that she may be referencing my brief bit of jocularity the week before. Having had her say, class proceeds. And sure enough, after we had been excused are are packing up our respective tidbits of scholastica, Professor Fussypants says "Mr. Roux and Mr. Roughy, may I please have a word with you?"

Right then, I knew it was on.

So the two of us oblige. And I listen. Without interruption, which is no small feat for me, being a talker and all. She asked if there was any animosity between the two of us, given the exchange in the last class. We both looked at each other and laughed, reassuring her that no, there was no bad blood, it was all just a joke. She went on to state that she was concerned about us, and she'd worried all weekend about it, and she wanted us to act like professionals, and how she tried to maintain a less formal environment that the other professors, and blah, blah, blah.... That's about the time I checked out, my eyes probably even glazed over a little. Well, once it sounded like she had wound herself down, I informed her, with all due respect of course, that if she was so concerned, she might have approached the two of us outside of class, before making the vague, general announcement to the entire class, which was perhaps not the best way to handle this concern of hers.

And I think that was around the time she checked out. Because her reply was just a wee bit agitated, and something along the lines of how she was doing us a "favor," because if any of the judges, either in our final class project, or the real life ones were to ever witness such an exchange, or catch so much as a sidelong glance between counsel, we would get "slapped down." I decided that discretion was the better part of valor, and actually kept my mouth shut until I was finally excused.

It probably would have done me no good to inform Fussypants that 1) she was the only one of our professors who insisted on calling us by "Mr." or "Ms." So-and-so; 2) she was the only prof. who actually kept track of "professionalism points" as part of our overall grade, she was not really maintaining a "less formal atmosphere"; and given the fact that 3) Mr. Roughy and I were both the same approximate age as she, and 4) both had prior professional careers (he a teacher, and I a rodeo champion), that a) we were most likely able to distinguish the differences between a classroom discussion and a proceeding before a judge, and b) therefore were able to act accordingly. So I let it slide.

All in all, the episdoe was not such a big deal, but when considered with other factors, it helps prove my initial thesis.

Third, the overall maturity of my peers. Granted, almost all members of my cohort have been out of school for at least a few years, have part- or full-time jobs which they attend during the day, and most have a spouse and/or children as well. Therefore they are much more "grown up" than the Regular Division tots who are fresh out of undergrad and counting on their parents/trust fund/professor-student sex to foot the tuition bills. But that apparently only goes so far.

Recently, there was some discussion between myself and two other colleagues about forming up a study group in preparation for exams in May. The three of us (Mr. Roughy and Kid Rock, the youngest of the Extended Division), plus one other (Mr. Big), had linked up to review a particularly troublesome course late last semester, and we thought it might be a good idea to get cracking earlier this term, to afford us the opportunity to cover all three major subject areas, rather than just the one. There was some exchange of thoughts and ideas about what to cover and how to go about it in a brief conversation between lectures, and it was uniformly expressed that we would keep the group small, just the 3 of us, so as to make the highest and best use of our time. While the fourth member was certainly a well-liked guy, it was my thought that he hadn't really contributed much or significantly advanced our discussions last semester. It seemed pretty clear, especially upon direct questioning, that the other two were in agreement with me.

Now being a that I am a bit of a control freak, which I freely admitted to Mr. Roughy and Kid Rock, and a pretty capable organizer, I volunteered to put a preliminary plan together and submit to the others for review and consideration. In doing so, I clearly stated that I would welcome and expect any and all input; that I wasn't trying to assume any control of the group, but simply wanted to get the ball rolling to ensure that we moved forward in as effective and efficient manner as possible. They both asserted their understanding and concurrence. OK, so far, so good.

A few days later, I drafted my email outlining my thoughts and recommendations as to the composition, scope, agenda and scheduling of our little study club. It was quite comprehensive. Did I mention that I'm a talker, and a planner...?

Now I have read the books and anecdotes and heard the warnings regarding the pitfalls of study groups in law school. I've seen The Paper Chase. And after all these years of dealing with thespians, clients, claimants, attorneys and being a student of social politics, I was pretty sure I knew what I was getting into. But apparently, I'm not as wise as I think. Funny, isn't that usually the case?

Anyway, in the email, I raise the issue of how to deal with Mr. Big, (the fourth of our quartet from last semester) if and when he gets wind that we're getting together to cram. As I indicated before, ours is a small section, and the four of us, plus a few others, are pretty chummy with each other. The fact that the three of us are studying together this semester without Mr. Big is bound to come to his attention at some point. This could create a tricky situation, if the three of us are not on the same page. I'm the kind of guy who doesn't enjoy tricky social situations unnecessarily. If I don't like someone, or they have angered or offended someone who I value more, then I might engage in a Machiavelin machination at their expense. But if it's simply an issue where certain dynamics are not congurent in a given social situation, there's no need to cause any unnecesary harm. I gave that up in high school. So I addressed this potential issue, asking that Kid Rock and Mr. Roughy put their two bits in on how best to handle such a situation. I did make it clear that I wasn't suggesting that we completely exlude Mr. Big, but that it was my impression from our conversation that we do so.

Further, I laid out some thoughts and suggestions on how often we meet, how to approach our coverage of the material and other such logistics. Again, I was sure to insert the caveat that these were only suggestions, and to please chime in with their respective ideas.

Then I pressed 'Send.'

I wish I could relate to you some sort of climactic episode, but I can't. You see, much like the Phil Collins song, I received no reply at all. Sure, Kid Rock indicated he "got" my email when we were in class again, two days later, but that was it. I received no other response from either of my colleagues, verbally or electronically. And it's not like they didn't have the opportunity. We were all together in class, 3 nights that week. Hell, Mr. Roughy and I had a five minute conversation, just the two of us, while walking between buildings one evening after the dispatch of my missive. But the subject never came up.

The most disconcerting, and frustrating factor was that, not four days after I sent out the email, I overheard Kid Rock, Mr. Roughy and Mr. Big discussing plans on getting together over Spring Break to review for a mid-term we have in three weeks.

If Mr. Roughy and the Kid didn't like what I had to say, or for some reason had decided they simply didn't want to study with me, fine. I can respect that. But I don't think the courtesy of a response is too much to ask. Simply not responding, and acting like nothing ever happened is childish and cowardly, as far as I'm concerned.

I guess my point is this: If you are going to be offended, or put off by a colleague who has enough foresight and courage to raise issues for consideration, and make suggestions and recommendations to promote the betterment of the group, then you are going to have a real tough time making it as an attorney and advocate in the "real world" which everyone keeps warning us about.

Finally, I will admit that I did voluntarily choose to enroll and attend this (mickey-mouse) school, but it most definitely was not my first choice. Or second. Or third, fourth or fifth. Unfortunately, as a very near and dear friend of mine put it just prior to my departure from the Emerald City, "it's too bad your aren't smart enough to get into a 'real' school." Too bad, indeed. While I recognize the fact that these types of behaviors and attitudes are likely prevalent, regardless of what institution I'm attending, it would be nice if I were in the company of some similarly minded, and motivated individuals. And that simply doesn't appear to be the case here.

Who knew this would be so much like high school?

* Names have been changed to protect the victims.

Friday, September 15, 2006

A post by any other name, is still a post.

As you will recall, I recently departed the Land of Java, Heroin-sheik, Emerald Green Mountains and the Evil Empire (Microsoft, for you outlanders) and transplanted myself here in the sylvan lands of Penn, replete with humidity from hell, dipshit drivers and sub-par eateries in order that I may drink from the fountain of wisdom at the modest commuter school for young (and in my case, not so young) lawyer wannabes. In order to get from there to here, I packed up all my worldly possessions and trucked them and myself all the way across this great land of ours. Thankfully, I was not alone. One of my dear friends provided much needed driving assistance and company on the 3100 mile trek. And while we made our way over the golden mountains majesty and through the amber waves of grain, my comrade documented our travels. Upon his return to the City at the Ends of the Earth (as my padre calls it), he compiled this little ditty

I am forever thankful for his company and assistance along the way. And I promise, when I return, I won't be bringing that friggin' desk back with me...