Archive for March, 2012

I wrote a while back about the plight of some young acquaintances of mine who recently went off to law school — this would be the end of their first year, if they are still doing it (I guess that shows you how close of a friend I am). I wrote then that I thought that these bright young women and their peers were off to law school because they thought it would be a ticket to, or to stay in, the middle class.  I take it back.  I can’t really speak to the mindset of my friends, but I think that most people decide to go to law school for one reason only.  It gives them something to say when people ask what they are doing with their lives.

Think about it: for sixteen years, if anyone ever asked you, you could say, I’m in school. The story has details that people will love to talk about, such as where you go, what your major is, your internships. Go Wildcats!

Then suddenly — it does feel sudden, doesn’t it? — you don’t have that story to tell any more.  You are out in the world, and you get some kind of shit job to make ends meet, and any job feels like a shit job if you have spent four years sleeping until four pm every day and having someone else make your meals.  Maybe you find an apartment, and maybe you move back in with your folks, but either way it’s a comedown.  And now, when someone asks you what you are doing with your life, you say, Uhhhhhhh.

This drives a certain kind of person crazy, the kind who has been used to advancing through life with the precision of a pre-flight checklist.  And when I say drives them crazy, I don’t mean annoys them.  I mean literally send them around the bend.  For those sixteen years, you’ve had the comfort of a universally acceptable narrative and now it’s gone, replaced with . . . nothing.  Your parents’ friends who cooed over you just this past winter break (A senior? Wonderful!) now look at you as though you’ve worn your clothes one too many times between washes.

These are the people who latch onto law school.  Sometimes they pick other programs, but law school is easy to get into and has no prerequisites. It’s the perfect fallback for a liberal arts major who has had the bottom fall out from underneath their feet.  They grab hold of their LSAT prep book like they are drowning and it’s a ladder up onto a sexy billionaire’s private yacht.

Anyway, this is the long way around of saying I was probably wrong before.  Though I’ll never know!


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I’m not here much, I’m sorry to say, though I hope to do more with this page in the near future.  Right now, I just want to link to what I think is a great blog post about Israel from the Atlantic site — not so much because I agree with it, but because I found it to be so evocative of a certain kind of situation.  This is not a political page, and I certainly don’t want to attract the kind of attention that the Israel argument tends to generate.  I’m less interested in the real world portion of the post than in the metaphor he uses of the alcoholic mother.  (My mother, by the way, may never have had a drink of alcohol in her life.)  What do you do when someone who has your unquestioned, undying loyalty sets out on a path of self destruction?  How do you help someone you can’t oppose and can’t disavow?

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