Monday, March 24, 2008

The Time I Wanted To Become A Lawyer

Just under two years ago, I was going through a really pathetic existential crisis. It began while at was at work, and back then I worked for a film/tv production company. This was the job I'd always thought I wanted and I was now about 6 months into it, and starting to get restless (note: my attention span = 1 hour, max). On this one particular day, I was putting together a script for a very important person, and I was trying to make it look as perfect as possible. I checked to make sure no pages were missing. I checked to make sure that no page had a smudge or had come out of the copier with crooked lines. I double, triple, obsessively checked that I'd typed the right address on the label attached, carefully, evenly, to the outgoing package. I wanted to believe I was doing this to appease the higher-ups at the company, but really, I myself was beginning to really really care about this. I recognized that I was tense, and my palms were sweaty. I was freaking out over making sure that this script arrived flawless at the doorstep of this very important person because obviously the whole world would end if the ink printed too lightly in one section of one page.

Suddenly, it hit me like an elephant on roller skates: It just doesn't matter! (Yes, like that scene in Meatballs.) It just doesn't matter! It just doesn't matter! Maybe it all mattered to my job, but it didn't matter to the world. A bunch of scattered images flashed through my head accompanied by honking car horns and train whistles and church bells. Starving children. War torn nations. Grieving families. And so who cares about what I'm doing? And why is this my job? And can anyone have a job that matters, really, to the world? Unless you are like working for the Peace Corps or something. All you're doing is just contributing to a pointless cycle of making money to spend it...Yaddi yaddi yadda.

It was like one of those moments when you feel as though you're being sucked backwards through the universe.

"Holy shit," I said to myself. And then the phone rang, and I remembered that I still had to carry on with the day.

Unfortunately for an acquaintance of mine, he was scheduled to have networking/schmoozing drinks with me that evening. The poor soul had to sit there, eyes glazed over, idly sipping his black & tan while I ranted on like a lunatic. "WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?!" "DON'T YOU THINK YOUR JOB IS STUPID?!"

I'm used to having these moments of intensity, followed but apathy, followed by "wait, what was I mad about yesterday?" and so I knew that if I just took a moment to look at the positive (i.e., Movies are glamourous. People think my job is cool, maybe.), this would all blow over.

And it did, sort of.

My mother came to visit a few weeks later. And over margaritas I unloaded all of my bullshit on her.

"Well, maybe you should be a lawyer," she suggested.
"Yeah, ok." I confirmed.

And that's pretty much about as in depth as that conversation was. I'm not exaggerating.

The next day at work I researched the LSATs and different law schools in the area. I was nervously excited as I researched, checking over my shoulder to see if anyone could see what I was doing. "Suckers! I'm planning my escape!" I thought to myself. By the end of that June day, I'd registered for the LSATs in September. This was approximately Hour 19 of my dream of being a lawyer.

That night, over dinner, I announced proudly to my mother, "I signed up to take the LSATs today."

She finished chewing her food, her face unimpressed. "Yeah?"

"Yeah! Cool huh? And so then I'll apply to schools this fall. I only have a few months to prepare, but I know I can do it."

"Oh. Ok." Was about her reaction. The tone of her voice was something that suggested "I wasn't totally serious last night, but ok whatever."

The next few weeks, I was high on my new, terribly important life plan. I couldn't focus at work because I was too interested in my next step.

But whenever I told anyone I was applying to law school, I was met with a certain level of incredulity. "Oh. Yeah? Really?" and then a halfway disgusted, "Why?"

To be honest, I wasn't sure why. My reasoning was weakly based on the notion of "I want to change the world!"

But also on "I want someone to pay me lots of money"

and "When I tell people I'm a lawyer, they will be duly impressed"

and, mostly, "I feel like going back to school because it's better than working and probably I've grossly underestimated how difficult law school will be and I may have watched Legally Blonde too many times in the past year."

And then the people who really knew me would say, "I thought you wanted to be a writer" or "Aren't you more creative minded?" and "Are you sure about this?"

But I didn't pay too much attention to them. After all, I am, if nothing else, a bad decision-maker. And also, now I'd told too many people that I was going so I had to.

So I studied for the LSATs. And took practice tests. And by the time September 30th rolled around, I was pretty sure I was going to do poorly, but there was nothing I could do about it.

I took the test. It was lame. I totally mis-timed a whole section. I left the test with a general feeling of, "oh well," and I got in my car and drove home.

Only, before I made it there, my car died on the freeway. And then I got hit by a car going 70 mph, and my little car spun around so that I was facing 4 lanes of oncoming traffic, with cars swerving to avoid me at the last second. I hate being serious so I'll just stop my explanation there, but I will tell you that I pretty much thought I was going to die. By the way, what goes through your head when you think you're about to die is this: "Welp. That's it then."

By the time I was out of the hospital- I was pretty much unharmed -I had concluded that I didn't care about law school. In fact, I was pretty resentful that I could have just spent my last day on earth sitting in a stuffy classroom, taking a big test. Also, my last meal would've been jalapeno poppers from Jack in the Box. I was equally disturbed by both notions.

As the days and months went on after that, I came to a few conclusions, which all rolled up into a big philosophical ball that I now chase after every day.

This may sound totally standard, but basically I decided that work is just work, no matter how great or shitty the job is. And life is life, and it's the only one I have, so I should probably try to find work that interferes with life as little as possible.

This whole experience freed me from the burden of having a dream job. If I had a choice, I'd be independently wealthy and just never work a day in my life. How's that for work ethic?

And that's the story of The Time I Wanted To Become A Lawyer and How I Decided To Be A Slacker Instead.

the end.


surviving myself said...

I agree. I'd do nothing if I could.

And hey, everyone goes through stages of picking one billion different things that they want to be.

I once wanted to be in the air force. Of course, that decision was based solely on me thinking Top Gun was really fucking cool. And I was 10. But you get the point.

Slacking is what makes us bloggers great.

devin said...

I'm glad you didn't become a lawyer. If you had, you'd be down one great "Meatballs" quote. Also, lawyers are supposedly terrible people, though I never did get all the resentment.

Felix for Zosia said...

"This whole experience freed me from the burden of having a dream job. " - this is my quote for the week.

Katelin said...

I have definitely reconsidered my job and what I want to do in life, when all I all I realize that I just want to make a bagillion dollars and travel the world. Is that so much to ask for?

Felicia said...

I completely feel you on this one. I wrote about work and jobs on my blog last month titled "Time travel to 2005." I felt the same way you did.

Inono said...

I still think you'd be an amazing lawyer. We could open up a firm together N & K, attorney's at law. Come with me to law schooooooool!

A Lover and a Fighter said...

do you know that i make really good jalapeno poppers?

i'm glad you aren't going to be a lawyer. come be a doctor with me instead. because, you know. pharmies!

A Lover and a Fighter said...

also, i'm really super glad you're not dead or maimed. jesus christ. that's scary.

Schweener said...


I am definitely not a blog reader, actually not much of a reader at all, but when I started reading your story I couldn't stop until the end. You should be a writer! You are hilarious and Court and I miss hanging out with you.


Hollywood Sucker said...

surviving- I couldn't decide between these two responses to your comment "Slacking is what makes us bloggers great." It's either: Slacking is what makes us such good drinkers. Or Slacking is what makes my ass fat.

devin- Here's another quote for you "I enjoy skinny skiing, going to bullfights on acid."

felix- It makes my day that I am quoted!

katelin- Fuck it dude, let's go bowling.

felicia- I have to check out your post! Good to know everyone is severely confused.

inono- How bout I come with you, but as a mascot, rather than as a fellow student. I will cheer you on during exams, talk you up at parties, wave to you and call out from across the quad so that everyone thinks "She's popular!"

lover/fighter- I bet your poppers are actually good enough to be a last meal. I tried to make them once and they made my eyes water they were so horribly spicy.
Also, thanks for being glad I'm not dead.

schweener- I'm glad you're reading this! It means a lot to me when my friends check it out. I want to come visit soon, but as you can see from reading this, my life is in disarray.

grooveislife said...

hey i really really liked you story, im starting to reazlie most bloggers have their own story, everyone has a reason to tell their story,

and being a slacker is way better

surviving myself said...

Fuck it dude, let's go bowling

my favorite movie of all time.

Peter said...

I enjoyed that story. But, if you were a lawyer, I probably wouldn't have. It would have been full of things like "wherefore" and "Intellectual Property Rights" and "Sir, did my client ever ask you to touch her ass?"

Julie_Gong said...

I think I'd be ok with JalapeƱo Poppers being my last meal. As long as they were the cheese ones not the cream cheese ones.

Hollywood Sucker said...

groove- Yes, it is better. But it doesnt earn you much money...

surviving- It's such a nice line to say too.

peter- henceforth referred to as "the defendant"

julie- no no no, thats all wrong. it's the cream cheese ones that rule. and sadly it was the cheddar ones i almost had as a last meal that day.

JenBun said...

And all your Bloggy Buddies are SOOO glad you decided to become a slacker! (you know, because you may not have had time for this, if you became a lawyer!)

I'm also so glad that everything turned out okay on the freeway that day. That was insanely frightening just to read about.

And, really, isn't it better to have a Dream Life (or, um, any kind of life) than a Dream Job?! Yes, yes it is!

mindy said...

You are delightful. I say this because I went through this same exact scenario and I, too, am delightful. The only difference was I didn't get into a car wreck. My "car wreck" was "being denied admission to every law school ever". So, you know, kind of the same. Anyway, I was like "fuck that, I didn't want to be a lawyer anyway!", and I wasn't just saying that because I didn't get in. The truth is, I don't think many lawyers have fun. And they certainly can't keep up with blogging every day - you know?

Just another silly girl said...

If it makes you feel any better . . . I had this epiphany right after college, and went to work as a fundraiser. But now I'm in my master's program to become a school counselor, because I still want to Make a Difference, but in less hours per week. I'm pretty sure that doesn't make me a better person.

(I'm glad you're alive, too. That sounds like one of the most frightening experiences ever!

Anonymous said...

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