The bar exam is just four days away. I foresee one tiny problem…
I’ve been studying at the Barnes & Noble, every day, next to this lady who wears the same black and white dress every day and talks nonstop. At first it was annoying as hell, and I’d move away from her…but little by little, I’ve gotten used to her (usually socialist) nonstop blabber. Now I wonder whether I’ll be able to focus during the real exam without it.
But considering the fact that ibaby (the Illinois Bar administrators) doesn’t even allow test takers to bring cell phones into the testing site, something tells me they wouldn’t be okay with me bringing the study buddy lady along.
Today I studied for three hours at the Gold Coast Barnes & Noble. Around hour two, I took a break and asked one of the store workers whether I could sign the in-store LAWYER BOY copies. (I’m told that authors do this.)
“This one is your book?” the store clerk asked.
“Can I see some identification?”
“You’re joking me.”
“I’m not joking you; I have to see identification.”
“There’s a picture of me in the jacket flap.”
The guy looked at the picture, then back to me, then back to the picture, then back to me.
“Let me get you a pen.”
“Wait….do a lot of people come in here asking to sign books they haven’t written?”
“You’d be surprised.”
“It’s happened more than once.”
“Have YOU seen it happen?”
“Let’s just say, it’s happened more than once.”
Come on. That’s just crazy. Under what circumstance would somebody do that? I’m skeptical…
IN OTHER NEWS
I’m doing my first of two book readings tomorrow. FRIDAY JULY 11th at 7PM at the BOOK CELLAR in Lincoln Square. (That’s right off the Brown Line Western stop.) If you’ve got nothing else going on, come on by. There’ll be magic tricks and wine. Plus you can meet my dad, Lawyer Man.
LAWYER BOY doesn’t come out until Tuesday, but my local Barnes & Noble was selling the book today. They had four copies of the book on the “Hardcover New Releases” table, and one of them was propped up on a bookstand.
I went to that Barnes & Noble to study for the bar exam—22 more days (!)—but ended up spending my time hovering nearby my book, waiting for somebody to pick it up. Trouble was, this bookstore is in Chicago’s business district, and nobody really goes there on weekends.
But FINALLY, some guy carrying two or three other books picked up LAWYER BOY and flipped though it for five whole minutes. He read the jacket description. Read the blurbs. Read a random page. But then he put it back on the bookstand.
“Didn’t make the cut?” I said.
“Excuse me?” he replied.
“You flipped through the book for like five minutes. And it looked like you were into it. You only flipped through that other book you’re holding for like sixty seconds. What the hell?”
“Do we know each other?”
The guy’s name, I learned, was Sam. Sam was in town for a summer clerkship at BigLaw…and I’m pleased to report he ended up buying a copy of Lawyer Boy. And no I don’t feel weird about talking somebody into buying my book; I’m panning to persuade people for a living, after all.
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 came back to Michigan for the week to see my friends and family, and to study for the bar. I do most of my studying at the Barnes & Noble by my parents’ house. It’s been my favorite study location for a decade, only last year, that started to change when the nearby retirement homes started bussing their female residents to the bookstore to 1) play bridge, 2) ask me whether I would marry their granddaughters.
These women are loud and I can’t get much reading done with them around. Apparently I’m not alone; a few months ago, the store put up signs that say, “Game playing is welcome before noon and after 5pm.” The rule was perfect because that’s when I study.
So…the past few days, two groups of four women have been flouting the prohibition. And the Barnes & Noble café workers didn’t have the guts to enforce the prohibition.
Sure, NOW it’s just two groups of four women…but next month…
The “Broken Window Theory” of crime prevention says that it is easier to solve a small problem before it becomes a big problem. For example, if one person spray paints the side of a building a small area you want to clean that area up before more people add their spray paint tags to the building making it a big issue.
Wikipedia explains that Mayor Giuliani used the Broken Window theory when he had the police strictly enforce the law against subway fare evasion, and stopped public drinkers, urinators, and the "squeegee men" who had been wiping windshields of stopped cars and demanding payment. Rates of both petty and serious crime fell suddenly and significantly, and continued to drop for the following ten years.
So….should I print the wikipedia Broken Window Theory entry out and give it to the Barnes & Noble workers anonymously?