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 into acyborg-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.
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
1. Nesting: Expectant mothers 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, right?
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.
2. 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 Bob Marley, Ozzy, Guns ‘n Roses, Willie Nelson, Broadway Hits, Broadway Flops and even that “Dooby Dooby Doo” song those penguins did in that beer commercial. You start making crap up.
What do lawyers make up?
Hush little baby, don’t you cry,
Mama’s gonna buy you an alibi…
3. 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 bull 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. 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 years and my kid has been in breach so many times that we’ve only distributed 5 or 6 payments.
4. 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 hateful 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:
Daughter 1: Mama! Sister won’t share Daddy’s iPad!
Me: Objection sustained. , Daughter 2 hand it over!
Daughter 2: Huh?
Daughter: Mamaaaaaaa! Sister 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.
Daughter: 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.
Me: Honey, 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?
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?
Me: I see that your plate is empty, is that correct?
Daughter: (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?
Am I using my powers for good and not evil in the world of parenting? Debatable, but occasionally enjoyable.