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I have an embarrassing pathology that I try to keep secret. I haven’t found it in the DSM IV (the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fourth edition, the diagnostic standard for mental health professionals) but I’m sure it’ll be in the fifth edition. Because it embarrasses me, I really don’t discuss it with anyone. My wife, who occasionally catches me, is generously tight-lipped about it, probably because she’s ashamed. But today I will come clean. Today I will no longer sneak in the shadows, but will hold my head up high in the sun (except in the Phoenix summer). And I owe my new-found clarity of conscience to the most unlikely of liberators: Continuing Legal Education. I have never really found CLE to be good for anything but an excuse to miss work and justify low billables. Because only so much of that is useful for steady employment, in my career, CLE hasn’t meant much to me. But just the other day, sitting at my desk listening to the 1980s cassette recording of a particularly cheesy CLE (Arizona and New York allow self-directed CLE and each year I max out), I discovered the reason for my pathology. So here’s my embarrassing announcement. You see, I love Dance Dance Revolution. For those who don’t know what that means, find someone younger or more with it than you and ask her. Dance Dance Revolution, or DDR to us enthusiasts, is a video game in which players must move their feet to a set pattern, stepping in time to the beat of a song. For me, it is a little slice of heaven on earth. Sure, I love my wife, I love my children and time with them is also heaven on earth. But once my children go to sleep and my wife leaves to run errands, I close the blinds, turn on the PlayStation, the TV, turn up the stereo and I’m stayin’ alive, I’m gonna live forever, I’m Patrick Swayze. I discovered DDR a couple of months ago when I was visiting my brother. We couldn’t stop. We were competing for hours at a time. Reliving the tricky steps. Talking strategy to improve and dancing till the other dropped. I was convinced my experience was just a flash in the pan. A little vacation fling. But when I got home it was still in my head. I needed to dance again. Blaming my kids, I bought a PlayStation telling my wife that everyone else had them and we didn’t want our kids to be weird. Then I bought DDR. Again, I blamed my kids and explained the exercise mode. “You know how you always wish you had time to go to a gym? Well I’ve brought the gym to you.” But really they were all lies. I was obsessed. And when no one was around, I’m watching the arrows, I’m moving my feet, I’m feeling the music, I’m dancing. And now I’m no longer ashamed. It took a CLE to explain to me why. Now let me tell you: Being a lawyer is hard. Just ask one. According to the over-enthusiastic voices on the cassette tapes, lawyers are 50% more likely to suffer from alcohol abuse. The Arizona Supreme Court has even recognized that 20% of practicing attorneys have an alcohol problem. I work with at least one of them, you should see the size of the mouthwash bottle in his truck. And the bottles of maraschino cherries in the refrigerator. Also, lawyers are 350% more likely to suffer from professionally related clinical depression, the causes of which look like a help wanted ad for a lawyer: work more than 40 hours a week; do not have control of your own calendar or schedule; work in an adversarial situation. Then there’s the admonition from law school and every partner you’ll ever work with: get everything in writing because everyone is out to get you. Go look in the DSM IV and tell me if, next to paranoia, you don’t find something like, “believes others are plotting against him/her” and “reluctant to confide in others due to a fear that information may be used against him/her.” I work with people like that. I am someone like that. And after all the depression and paranoia and alcoholism, you still don’t even get someone to say to you: good job. Do you know why? Because you’ll ask for more money. But do you know what DDR tells me? When I turn it on it enthusiastically tells me that it’s been waitin’ for me. (I only get that from my boss when I’m late, and he is not enthusiastic.) DDR tells me my dance moves are “absolutely wonderful.” And DDR tells me what I’ve suspected for a long time but would never hear from my boss, that I am “not an ordinary fella.” When I’m particularly desperate for a compliment, I reset the scores and DDR tells me I set a new record. I love it. (Sniff) I am no longer ashamed. DDR fills a need. It counters my depressed, paranoid, unappreciated associate existence and makes me feel good about myself. I’ve nothing to hide. I am a Dance Dance Revolutionary. When he’s not Dance Dance Revolting, Adam Anderson practices law for Beus Gilbert PLLC in Scottsdale, Arizona.

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