Rick's Blog Posts
There’s an old saying that goes like this: “I once complained that I had no shoes, but then I met a man who had no feet.”
My classmates are doing a lot of complaining about how much studying they’re doing for the bar exam. And yes, I myself occasionally indulge in the art of complaining on this blog. But maybe I have no right; I spent the night hanging out with my friend Samir, a recent med school graduate who’s about to begin his residency…working 80-hour weeks. Plus, he’s going into plastic surgery, which means he won’t get a paycheck until he’s like 34 or something.
I’m moving into week three of my bar exam studies, and today I learned about secured transactions…which was good because as of yesterday, I HAD NO CLUE WHAT A SECURED TRANSACTION WAS. Swear to God. I thought it was some sort of bank transfer that was carefully monitored.
I’m excited to learn what a “commercial paper” is next week. Do any non-lawyers have any guesses? Is it a memorandum regarding a television advertisement? Is it a sheet of paper for sale? Who knows?! (Well, all my classmates, for starters. And most of the people who are reading this blog, I suspect. And these guys: MichiganLawyerBlog, CooleyLawBlog, NYLawBlog.)
Figured I’d try a political blog entry out. I did study Political Science in college after all—like half of my law school classmates.
Yesterday a McCain adviser told Fortune magazine that a terrorist attack would help McCain’s chances on winning the election…and EVERYBODY is freaking out about it. Specifically he said, "a fresh terrorist attack 'certainly would be a big advantage to him.”
John McCain, in response said, “It’s just not true…If he said that, and I do not know the context, I strenuously disagree."
Okay, let’s start here, the advisor was obviously right. Terrorism is a Republican issue, for better or worse—and what I mean by that is people who prioritize homeland security above all else vote Republican more often than they vote Democrat. Common knowledge, right? And if a terrorist attack were to happen in the US, it would bring the terrorism issue to the political foreground. Commonsense, right? ERGO, a terrorist attack would help McCain’s chances of getting elected.
John McCain obviously knows all this. So why does he have to play dumb and pretend that he doesn’t? (This is rhetorical; the answer is obvious: if he did, the media/Obama camp would have a “John McCain wants a terrorist attack” field day.) I always thought he was one of the most honest politicians around, and this false naivety doesn’t suit him well.
Of course, his advisor boarded the false naivety express earlier today: “I deeply regret the comments—they were inappropriate. I recognize that John McCain has devoted his entire adult life to protecting his country.”
And I’m sure if some reporter were to remind McCain that Presidential Elections are zero-sum games and that his quote implicitly suggested that an attack would help Obama, he’d keep the false naivety shtick going and say something like, “Terrorist attacks don’t help anybody—not me, not my opponent, and certainly not the people of America.”
And don’t you think the John McCain of 2000 would have said, “Yes, an attack would help my campaign, but not, I don’t want one, and anybody who suggests otherwise, well, I’d like them to tell me that to my face”?
So...more....less political blog entries???
A few months ago some people started a blog dedicated to nasty things about me. At first, I was a bit flattered and a bit annoyed. Then they started defaming me, so I got upset. They started saying malicious, specific things about me that just weren’t true. (Without getting into the really nasty stuff--really, I don't want it repeated--an example of an untrue thing they said was this: one semester they said I was at the bottom of my class, when, in reality, I had made the Dean's List.)
Then the blog went away one day. Never quite sure why…but then I read something on a great law school discussion forum, Top-Law-Schools.com, that gave me a hint. The post (which may or may not have been true) said that Anthony Ciolli, the guy who runs xoxohth.com (a law school discussion site that practically begs people to defame each other) has had a job offer with his law firm rescinded after a defamation suit.
Maybe the people who started the blog dedicated to making fun of me got the message that defamation is a serious matter. <!--EndFragment-->
The Book Club Queen just put out a review of Lawyer Boy. It’s a good review, and I thank the Queen for it…only I can’t get over the start of the first line: “As a semi-professional magician and general disgrace, Rick decides…”
General disgrace? Sure, I spent a year after college bumming around my parents’ house, eating their food, using their computers, and watching the Price Is Right…but does that make me a “general disgrace?” I’d argue it made me a time-and-place-specific disgrace, if anything.
Anyway, here’s The Book Club Queen’s review:
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A semi-professional magician and a general disgrace, Rick decides it’s time to get his life together and join his father’s ranks in making “The Only Acceptable Career Choice.” Born to a long line of lawyers, Rick knew that it was only a matter of time until he too entered the fold. Besides, it’s hard to get girls with lines like “Want to come back to my parents’ place?”
After suffering a few sudden, crushing disappointments, he is accepted to DePaul Law School in Chicago. With a dry, intelligent wit, Rick Lax dissects the application process and his first year of law school for our amusement. Notoriously difficult, Rick’s trials and travails prove that even the most unprepared and unlikely 1L’s can survive the test of the first year, and furthermore can maintain and even nourish a lively sense of humor.
Peppered with explanations of real cases and legal jargon, reading LAWYER BOY (St. Martin’s Press / Hardcover / July 2008 / 0-312-37335-X / $24.95) is like borrowing notes from the class clown—It won’t get you an A, but it’s probably the best reading you’ll find in law school.
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Quick question: is it bad form to review my reviews?
Last night I was doing some midnight bar exam studying at the Peninsula Hotel. (It’s not as impressive as it sounds; I’ve been waking up around 10:30 and going to bed around 3:00.)
Walking out of the hotel, I saw two guys in their early 30s taking photos of each other with digital cameras.
“Would you like me to take a picture of you two together?” I offered.
“No,” one of the guys said, and he said it as if he were offended. And then, as I walked away, he added, “It’s not like we’re f#*kin’ gay.”
So the lesson of the day is this: apparently asking people if they want to be in a photo together is very presumptuous.
A few days ago I hosted a “win a free copy of Lawyer Boy” contest in which readers were encouraged to test out their lawyering skills/powers of persuasion and email me and make a compelling case as to why they should get a free copy of the book. I haven’t yet picked a winner, but it’s become clear to me that many RickLax.com readers are way funnier than me, which is humbling, flattering, and annoying.
Here’s one of the entries I received:
“Let me tell you why I should get a copy. Frankly, because I don't have anything to read. I went into the hospital right before reading period this past semester, because I was s#%!!ing around 8 times an hour. No joke. I ended up with some internal bleeding and a bad colon problem that, though it got fixed up, ends up with me taking a s#!* at least 4 times a day. Apparently the doctors say that's normal. With all that s#%*ing, I go through pleasure reading, well lets just say I go through it faster than the food goes through me. I need something to read.”
I met this girl in the bookstore yesterday and I’m pretty sure she thinks I’m a total liar. But not without reason; here’s how our conversation went:
LB: “I’m Ricky.”
V: “I’m Victoria”
LB: “Really? I just wrote this book and I named the female lead character Victoria!”
LB: “So, Victoria, where’d you do school?”
LB: “I went to the University of Michigan too!”
V: “Oh, not University of Michigan. I mean I went to school in Michigan, the state. I went to Michigan State University, though.”
LB: “I went to Michigan State too. I transferred…”
It was all 100% true, of course, but how could I expect her to believe it.
I was walking north on Michigan Avenue yesterday and I saw a boy, about ten, smack another boy, also about ten, on his butt. He hit the kid hard.
I assumed these two kids were friends—that they were just roughhousing. But then the mother of the boy who was hit cried out, “That kid just hit my son!” and the other boy just walked away with his two older friends.
It was probably a dare. Something stupid like that. And the kid who got hit was fine. He told me that much. But even if the kid was fine with what happened, I wasn’t; I was pissed.
Part of me wanted to chase the second kid down and reprimand him (I’ve done this on the streets of downtown Chicago before, after a cell phone theft). But part of me realized that this wasn’t my fight.
What would you have done in that situation?
Last night I went out to dinner with my friend Alicja. I ordered the fish sandwich, which, the menu told me, cost $15. I asked the waitress whether I could substitute the fries that came with it for a baked potato, and she told me that I could.
The sandwich was fair. The taste was there, only the fish piece was long and skinny, so half of it hung over the bun and half the bun bites had no fish in them.
The bill came:
Fish Sandwich: $17.50
“Excuse me, but I thought the menu said the fish sandwich was fifteen dollars.”
This wasn’t a date, I should mention. If Alicja and I were on a date, I would have let it slide, of course.
“Hmm…I think that’s because you substituted the fries for the baked potato.”
“I wouldn’t have made the substitute if I had known it’d cost extra.”
“Let me see what I can do.”
I assumed the waitress was going to try to take the $2.50 off the bill.
I was wrong. She sent the manager over, and his opening line was this:
“I understand there’s a problem.”
“I wouldn’t call it a problem, I just-”
“Julie here tells me that you’re not willing to pay for your bill.”
Well that pissed me off.
“Actually, I didn’t say that. What I said was that I wouldn’t have substituted my fries for the baked potato if I had known it’d cost me extra. Julie, I guess her name is, didn’t tell me that it’d cost extra, so I don’t see why I should have to pay.”
The manager got a menu, shoved it in my face, and pointed to the line that said, “All side-order substitutions: $2.50”
“Well,” I said, “that’s fine. But I didn’t see it at the time.”
“It’s right there!”
“It’s hardly clear and conspicuous, and the truth is, I wasn’t on notice, so I-”
“It’s right in the menu! Right there for you to see!”
I was making Alecja uncomfortable, so I said, “Fine, I’ll pay it.”
IMMEDIATELY the manager said, “No, no, it’s no big deal, we’ll take care of it.”
And so I didn’t pay the $2.50.
But you be the lawyer. Who was right??