Thursday, February 23, 2006

Ladies, Our Friends at the Supreme Court...

... are few and dwindling. These are desperate times. Very desperate times. Stay tuned for updates on the schemes and shenanigans of the Crazy People Among Us and the Thomscaliaquist Machine's "Team (Anti-)Terminator," if you will.

Meanwhile, Canada's current abortion debate revolves around whether citizens can force the government to pay for an abortion in the hospital of their choice, if you can believe that!

I'll leave you tonight with this thought:

We celebrate Rosa Parks for her refusal to stand up and give her seat to a white man. If only Sandra Day O'Conner had done the same...

Thursday, February 09, 2006

What, me angry?

So, last night my acupuncturist (who has no webpage, but whose contact info is listed here) kept asking me why I was angry.

"Why, whatevah ahh you talkin' about, sugar blossom?" I replied.

Well, actually, I didn't say that. I'm no fragile flower, of course. I actually asked her what the hell she was talking about.

She explained that my "energy" was very different than usual. Well, I know better than to try to fool the Mojo Master that does all my bodywork (massage, energy work, acupuncture).

But I apparently do not know better than to fool myself.

I denied being angry. I believed I was not angry.

But my massage was not going well. As I recall, her comment was that she could not tell where my muscles ended and my bones began.

When she began to insert the acupuncture needles, I felt them in a way that I’d never felt them before. I felt my back revolt. It resisted violently. My trapezius launched an assault on the needles! I couldn’t help but envision them backing out slowly and cautiously, afraid the trapezius would go postal on them.

But when she began the cupping, it was ON. I thought my body would lurch crazily off the table, despite myself.

So I began to create a visualization, a visualization intended to take back control of my body. I visualized the cup stuck to my back actually sucking my very trapezius right out of my back. Ripping it out, effortlessly shredding the fine ends of it as they struggled to maintain contact with my scapula. The cup then flung the bloody and pulsating angry trapezius onto the floor.

And I jumped up off the table and began to stomp that trapezius into submission. I beat it with my fists, stabbed it with my stilettos, flung insults and invective at it, piled furniture on top of it and finally set the whole effing thing ablaze.

But I’m most definitely not angry.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Movie Rental Late Fees

To obtain a waiver, try this:

"I'm sorry these are late by one week, but my sister tried to kill my dad's girlfriend and when the police came all three of them went to jail because of the meth lab at my dad's house. They called me up to ask for help and I had to go home for a week on super-short notice. Could you maybe give me a break on these fees?"

It worked for me at the local Vulcan Video. But, then again, I also offered to show them the front page of the local newspaper in the town where these events took place, which features the whole story.

Anyway, after she picked her jaw up off the ground, she promptly credited my account for the late fees. As I was turning to leave, she found her voice and whispered breathlessly, "Did she die?"

Grades. Oh, the nostalgia...

My former secretary has just finished her first semester in law school. She wrote to me looking for guidance about her grades. My response follows:

Oh Ginger!!! Take heart, honey. You know the answer, intellectually, but the blow to the ego is so tough. I know what I'm talking about -- it led me to drop out for a year after my second year of law school!

Here's how it went for me:

First year - I worked so hard that I lost weight, neglected and destroyed my relationship with my significant other, suffered from chronic gastritis, muscle spasms, insomnia, and ended up in the ER several times b/c my neck and back muscles were so knotted up that I couldn't move my head or shoulders without excruciating pain. Since I had no idea what I was doing and was too proud to admit it, I worked eighteen times harder than I needed to work. I read and re-read cases, using numerous colors of highlighters and ink to mark up my case books, the resulting texts appearing to have been attacked by marauding vandals wielding confetti-filled Easter eggs. My case books became incomprehensible, adding to my confusion. I was too shy to join study groups. I walked around every day just KNOWING that I had a big sign over my head that read: IDIOT. I hated everything and everyone around me. I got my grades, and then I hated myself. I finally had empirical proof that I was, in fact, an idiot.

I think you are at this stage right now. But take heart and read on...

Second year - This year my tactic was to pretend that I didn't care anymore about grades. The good thing about it was that I really concentrated on my social life and conducted my studies in a more lackadaisical kinda way. I figured my grades would suck no matter what. So, I studied when I could but made sure I had time for dating and for fun. I hiked. I boated. I read flash cards on the fly while swimming at the Green Belt. Miraculously, my grades mostly went up. I even managed to get one of the only three A+s handed out in one of my huge classes. I trounced people that had achieved God-Status in my eyes after first-year grades came out. And while this didn't much matter to me because I had convinced myself by this time that grades were useless, these afore-mentioned God-Status People were crushed that a simpleton such as myself could have received better grades than they had received.

I can't put my finger on what I did to study differently (except I started reading the hornbooks instead of the actual cases). I think I figured out what parts of the reading assignments were really necessary. I always went to class and took great notes. But I didn't pore over tons of unnecessary junk like I used to. I think you just get a better sense, your second year, about what you need to be reading and studying for. Things started to make more sense.

But I still hated most of my fellow students, so I dropped out anyway.

I should also note that during my second year, I made both the highest grade in a class and the lowest grade in a class. I took this to be solid evidence that grades are, in fact, a load of horse shit. Yes, the amount of work I put into the course had some bearing on my grade. But ultimately, grading is overly subjective in law school. And in any case, it is certainly no evidence of my worth as an individual and is only the tiniest bit of input into an evaluation of my overall intelligence.

Grades are bunk. Period. This was my third year attitude. And I took classes I wanted to take, not classes I thought I should take. I was interested in the subject matter and I did just fine. My grades just went up and up. And it was easy. Far easier than the misery that was first year, where I just groped in the dark to just figure out what it was I was supposed to be understanding, before I could begin to try to understand it.

So, there you have it. I went from below average my first year, to mixed results my second year, to above-average my third year. I graduated in the top one third of my class at a first-tier law school ranked at about 10th in the nation. ... oh yeah - that's another sort of consolation for average grades: if you are at a first-tier law school, then your average grades are much better than your top grades at a lesser law school. See? You can get an early start on your elitism with such logic, but it is exactly what you will hear from your law school administrators. Employers buy in to it, too.

Here's the best conclusion I can draw from all of the above: my grade performance had a direct relationship with my personal satisfaction with myself and my life. The more I got out in my new city and met new people and had fun, the happier I was personally and the higher my grades went. Also, there was for me a direct inverse relationship between my grades and my closeness to the law school and the law students. I found I needed to have more in my life than law, law school, and law students. I felt oppressed by my one-track life. The more time I spent with those yuppies-in-the-making and those dusty old law professors, the more I was unsure of myself and questioned myself and my abilities. The more time I spent away from that atmosphere and with people I cared about and who cared about me, the more I thrived. I guess that last is about perspective. Gotta have it.

Finally, consider this: your bourgeois concerns about your performance in law school wither next to the concerns of, say, the average shrew, who absolutely must scavenge and consume three times his weight daily or perish. This example may work better for you if you substitute a Roma child exposed to deadly toxic waste at his UN-sponsored settlement or a Sudanese refugee with no UN refugee camp at all, or even that ruddy, shivering guy in a thin coat you saw this morning outside the metro begging for his breakfast.

Ginger, I know you. And you are incredible. You know it, too. Don't let those musty old codgers trying to label you get you down.

love, Asylum Seeker

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