Tuesday, July 17, 2007


Who am I today?

Sunday at about 5, I finished writing my book. I struggled with the last paragraph. if you walked by, you might have seen me in full lather, pacing, talking to myself, and then POP the end was there and I typed the last word and it was done. I took off my thinking hat and breathed out and watched the river go by for a while.

In New York, I was a writer. I put on a dark t-shirt and jeans, lugged a lot of books to the public library, and sat at the long tables with all the other writers, musing and typing and reading. It smelled like books and thinking. At the end of the day, we all packed up our laptops and walked down the big stone steps onto 5th, and dispersed to the laughter in restaurants and bars and coffeehouses and bookstores, and I found that pace.

But, that was so May, 2007. Today, I am someone else entirely. Not that writer, not that guy in class in the polo shirt with the hole in it. Today, I'm a lawyer in DC-- I have a meeting, and at 5 there will be a conference call where I will sit at a marble table in a law firm tower and talk about the Supreme Court brief. Today, I have a firm handshake and combed hair and a tie from Brooks Brothers. I'm in a coffehouse on Capital Hill (Ebeneezer's) down the street from where my meeting will be. I took the subway from Holland & Knight to Union Station.

The train pulled up, the doors opened, and we all walked out. Black, white, asian, men & women; we almost all wore suits and had a sober, serious demeanor. We walked to the escalators and stood as the stairs carried us up to the street. Near the top, the sunlight came down on us, and we reached for sunglasses, in the left pocket of our suit coats. My stair came to the top, and I strode off with purpose, not looking down or left or right, and so did everyone else. We had things to do, because today we are lawyers in Washington.

Lucky for you the TSA has restricted the carrying of giant law school sippy cups in checked and carry-on luggage, or I might be offended you did not walk to 6 or so blocks to my office to drop off my reward for winning that haiku contest all those many, many weeks ago...
Today I'm pretending to be a AUSA for the Northern District of Texas. Then I'll pretend to be a defense attorney for one question.
He didn't mention the fact that he had to borrow a briefcase from me. His other choices were his travel bag or a shopping bag from Trader Joe's.

I offered him a choice of a blue "Holland & Knight Institute" bag or a black "International Trademark Association" bag. He chose the former.
Johnny Sutton is also in Washington today, testifying in a Senate hearing on the Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean case.
Holland & Knight is the most awesomest coolest Law Firm there is.

All of their attorneys wear kilts and big yellow hats and at the one in Portland they let you bring your dog.
I too was once a poet. I took long walks by the bay; the sweet smell of salty sea rushed through my hair as the blissful thoughts of infinity raced through my mind. Wistfully, I turned away from the sunset. It's glorious hues were too much for me, for I am a simple man. A wistful man. A man hardened by the hard forces of hardness. My soft skin has turned to a stone-hard bark as time sand-blasted my softness away. I have given up my humanity to be a cog in the grand machine of the law... oh, woe is me.
Do you think who we are is defined by what we do? I mean... not in the larger sense, but like... you know this person is a lawyer.... or this person is an insurance claims adjuster or this person is a nurse.

I mean a nurse or actress or DJ or museum curator who murders a person is still a murderer to me...

But I often wonder how many people define themselves and sort of present themselves to the world as you know instead of WHO they are more like WHAT THEY DO.

My Dad was a doctor a cancer specialist. He was extraordinary at his job and very compassionate to his patients and really did a lot of research along with practicing. He was on staff at nine hospitals, had two offices and took a lot of these research sabbaticals healso did research on his own patients in order to find out what drugs worked the best. In fact he spent alot of time working at Baylor. I guess they have this cancer thing there. He used to go there and to Houston and Utah all of the time.

He was literally married to his work and in his four marriages and three kids I do not think any of us really ever got to know him that well. He just was soooo into his work Later on when he retired, finally he just fell apart. He had invested his life in his work and not much else. His work was like a uniform he put on and he felt weird taking it off so he almost never ever did. I think he liked who he was when he was working and did not much care for himself when not.

So for my Dad I would work IS who he was but I think he was part of a generation that did not value individual personality that much. He graduated from HS in like 1951, undergrad in 55 and Medical School in 1959.

I will never EVER achieve the level of success my father did. Had had great houses and properties, a plane a sailboat all of these cars and all of this stuff - but in the end he just wanted to be left alone to ski and sail and make his own furniture and not much else you know? I do not get it... My kid drives me INSANE but I would die before I would only see him like once a week.

So for my Dad who was he? This doctor. For me, I am a mom a wife, a friend, a lot of things. My "career" even if I had seriously pursued like ONE THING, I doubt it would ever define me completely.
I would not want it to. Maybe because I am just reacting to who my Dad was... and I think success and hard work at a career is great and amazing and you know great... But I hope that those people also have LIVES. It is really really important.
Tyd-- Of course you shouldn't be totally defined by your job. That was kind of the point of my post-- that it felt like I was faking it, putting on a costume for the day. Sometimes it is like that.
Yeah, but I was kind of embarrassed the time you showed up in my office in that Mayor McCheese get-up
Yeah Osler i mean your entire blog almost is like a testament to that You are this professor of law and former prosecutor guy and all of that and so are a lot of your Razor Fans, very good at their professions and serious about it but it does not DEFINE them, nor does it you. They/you are all funny and normal and nice and smart and warm and people I am proud to count as friends, if only in cyberspace. Not rigid and weird and myopic like my father.

I just have to wonder what kind of society was it in the fifties where these people were soooooo serious all of the time? It must have been SOOO oppressive. If anything my downfall was that I was given TOO MANY choices so many that I was overwhelmed and maybe did not properly focus on any one. and while that means and professionally at least I am somewhat ADRIFT, I do at least know what is important in life.

I guess I do not have the respect for money that I should 0r I took it for granted or something I know now that though I went to Cranbrook for instance, I could never ever afford to send Spencer there. But to be honest, I went there not as a destination but more as a refuge. I was going more FROM GP rather than TO Cranbrook. I worked very hard to get into that school, but the only real motivation in doing so was to get to escape my parents. Hopefully Spencer will not need to escape from his crazy parents.

Hopefully not. GAWD I saw this movie on Cable yesterday that I had only heard about and not seen, though it came out in 1975. It was called Grey Gardens. It is a documentary about these two ladies that live in this raccoon, flea infested old mansion in East Hampton... it has been described as a cross between Norma Desmond and Baby Jane.. It was so scary these mother and daughter fighting over whgo was the prettiest and who was the better singer and living among their 60 or so cats. I swear had I not met Bill I could have BEEN one of them.

This is why I have never seen the problem with gay marriage. IF I had been raised by two gay men or something, as long as it was a great family I would not have cared about this at all and I would have been better off. I would much rather have had a situation like that than the two crazy breeders that raised me. BUT I know there are religious things about that and You know I could never hope to understand, and you know I GET THAT. As a Unitarian I tend to overlook those things.

But then that is a whole other blog.
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