I have been writing this column for five years. As Lawyerland operates in base ten, it appears that this is an anniversary worth commemorating.
My first work appeared on July 28, 2008. It will not surprise anyone that the whole thing started as a joke.
It was a dark and stormy night. Norm Pattis had just taken a hiatus from writing, which, in the offing, did not last long. The Trib made a fatal mistake — soliciting other writers to take over the space, in a tiny, colored blurb on page 2. If it had been in black and white, trust me, I would never have seen it, but I was coasting merrily along in a state of chocolate-induced euphoria, and opened the paper, where it caught my eye.
Observing my custom of anti-disappointment aspersion, I ruminated that even if I put my hat into the ring it would make someone laugh, not because my submission was funny. I decided to try anyway.
I was astonished that my pitch was accepted. Probably the partners were more astonished, not to say aghast, but I digress. They acquiesced. I still have the hard copy of the first Law Tribune in which my column appeared.
During the ensuing five years, things have changed in my firm, in the climate of practice, in the type and tenor of the cases I handle. I wondered throughout whether I would run out of ideas. Luckily, there has been no dearth of material, most of it furnished unwittingly by my colleagues and the conduction of business as usual in our litigious state.
On the matter of writing humor, some person, probably an attorney, observed that dying was easier (and perhaps preferable) to creating comedy. I have not found that to be true. Most days, there is something to laugh about, in and out of the office. Writing, too, is a consummate delight. That I might combine the two things: laughing and writing, and receive public recognition for it was something I never dreamed would happen.
But really, after all that premumble, I would like to express my gratitude. I know now that the 11.5 regular readers to whom I occasionally refer actually number in the dozens. Many of you, gentle readers, have gone out of your way to tell me that you liked something that appeared here, or simply that you read the column regularly. On those occasions, you made my day. This endeavor has been motivated by my desire to laugh at myself, and to laugh when I would otherwise want to gnash my teeth, throw my chair out the sixteenth story window, or consume enough chocolate to scuttle an ocean liner. If you laughed, too, that was a double bonus. On occasion, I have dared to make a serious comment about something. Some of you liked those columns, too. So, thank you for the compliments, for the acknowledgment, for the recognition. You helped me more than you know.
Big thanks go out as well to the members of my firm, who have had to endure the embarrassment of employing such a quirky and irreverent individual. They had my back on the occasions when my benign efforts to tempt a smile backfired. I am deeply indebted.
Most importantly, I thank my editor, Paul Sussman, who has been endlessly encouraging. He invites me to write more! Can you imagine? Best of all, he sometimes sends email to tell me that he has laughed so hard at a humorous column that Coca-Cola came out of his nose. Over the years, he has never rejected a column, or changed more than a couple of words. I am incredibly lucky to have him on my side.
I trust that all of you whose antics, acts and omissions, as we say, have delivered ample subject matter will keep right on misbehaving, because I have no intention of giving this up. You have made me very happy. •