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There was something kinky going on at New York University School of Law the week before last — kinky with a capital ‘K,’ that is. Kinky Friedman, who has been described as the funniest, wildest and most politically incorrect country singer turned mystery novelist in the world, dropped by visiting Professor David Epstein’s secured credit class to meet the law professor who has made him something of a legend to law students and bar review takers around the country. “I’m honored to be here,” Friedman told the class. “I don’t own a law degree. Like American Indians, I believe that you can’t own a law degree or any other piece of property — except a casino.” Most of the students in attendance were probably not born when Friedman first made a name for himself in the 1970s singing bitingly satirical country rock songs that poked fun at the underside of Americana. Along with his band, the far-from-politically-correct-named Texas Jewboys, Friedman penned such classic ditties as “Asshole from El Paso,” a scathing indictment of intolerance in that west Texas town, and “They Ain’t Making Jews Like Jesus Anymore,” about a Jewish man who declines to turn the other cheek when confronted by prejudice. Friedman, who will turn 58 this month, owes his status as a law student folk hero to Epstein, a big fan who, like Friedman, grew up Jewish in Texas. The two men attended the University of Texas at the same time in the early 1960′s, but met officially for the first time at the recent law class. For any law student who has ever heard a lecture by Epstein, though, his name will be forever linked to Kinky Friedman. “Various law students began telling me that there was this crazy guy that’s one of the top lawyers in the country who is teaching and putting my name in the curriculum,” said Friedman. “[I was] mildly flattered, I suppose.” In order to liven up what he admits is a somewhat dry subject, Epstein, 58, frequently introduces into his commercial law lectures hypotheticals involving “The Kinkster,” as fans like to call Friedman. For the consumer law portion of the class, Epstein developed a hypothetical in which he sells Friedman a 1973 Cadillac. To teach business law, he invented a scenario where Friedman opens a kosher fried chicken restaurant and then gets into legal trouble by calling it KFC. “When you’re teaching a course like commercial law it’s something of a challenge to make the course accessible and interesting to students,” said Epstein. “If you can somehow make the examples live … it’s going to be easier for the students to connect up with the hypotheticals. Anything I can do to get the students more fully engaged is a win. So today was a big win.” The Kinkster hypotheticals went national about eight years ago, when Epstein began teaching secured transactions in Bar/Bri bar review courses. He is also publishing a book on secured credit in which he says Friedman will be the protagonist. “I was very surprised to see Kinky in the flesh,” said Julius Csorba, an LL.M. student at NYU. “I thought it was Professor Epstein’s imagination and that there was no such person.” Since the mid 1980′s, Friedman has spent his time writing mystery novels in which he is the main character. On a book tour to promote his latest novel, “Meanwhile Back at the Ranch,” Friedman took the opportunity to finally meet Epstein. Friedman entertained the NYU students with tales of his visits to the White House at the invitations of both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, each of whom are reported to be Kinkster fans. Among Friedman’s White House stories included a time when he was allowed to smoke in the same room that Clinton brother-in-law Hugh Rodham smoked, a time when he was left completely alone and had an “Alexander Haig moment” thinking he was in charge of the country, and a conversation with President Bush’s father, George Herbert Walker Bush, in which the former president insisted that it was he who first came up with the expression “you da man.” He also claims to have given both presidents a box of outlawed Cuban cigars as a gift. “I said, ‘Remember, Mr. President, we’re not supporting their economy — we’re burning their fields,’” Friedman recalled. Friedman said he sometimes regrets not going into a more structured profession, like the law. In addition to relieving the pressure he said he sometimes feels from living his life as a “Gandhi-type figure,” Friedman thinks having a law degree would help him fight some of the laws he finds unjust. “I’d like to see some smoking legislation restricted, where the Kinkster can smoke a cigar without 25 people officially telling him not to smoke,” lamented Friedman. “That is true in certain countries and in Las Vegas.” Despite any regrets Friedman might have about his unstructured lifestyle, many students found that to be his most appealing aspect. “He’s an amazing person,” said LL.M. student Thelma Loshkajian. “He’s involved in several fields and he enjoys what he does.” Before waving goodbye to the stragglers who stayed behind after class, making a point to tell them all that they were good Americans, Friedman was asked if he had any parting words of wisdom for the future attorneys. “My general motto of life is find what you like and let it kill you,” he said. “That applies to lawyers as well.”

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