Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Some Motherfuckers Are Always Trying to Skate Uphill

In the later part of last year, I unentertained you with my Paxil-starved posts about the plateau and fall of my legal career. Last I left you I had walked out of a dressing-down/interview with a temp agency, depressed and debilitated, only to be offered a reprieve from an ex-colleague, who was looking for some contract attorneys to review documents -- what I like to call white collar bedpan cleaning, except without all the actual hard work and poor compensation. Anyway, I seized on the job, and have settled into the humdrum of office life, and now it's time for an update.

So, the job sucks. Well, not really. It's actually all pretty hilarious, but more on that in a second. We -- the other three contract attorneys and I -- sit in an open office plan, amid the permanent worker bees of the organization. They are, to my understanding, in charge of gathering from the client the potentially relevant documents in the case, scanning them, and uploading them onto the document review program. Logic dictates this is what they do. Except they don't really talk to us, so we don't know for sure, and the two worker bees-- let's call them Abigail and Ira -- who are in charge of liasing with us are bizarre and incomprehensible for separate reasons. Ira is fairly nondescript, except for two things: 1) he hates Colin Farrell, as I learned the hard way and 2) he listens to Black Sabbath on his iPod in the break room. Also, he thinks he works in some sort of real professional organization and so insists on wearing neckties, and he likes to telephone coworkers IN OUR OPEN OFFICE PLAN, who are within voiceshot, and talk to them. On the phone.

Abigail, more important, is my new mortal nemesis. (As for my old mortal nemesis, there is not room enough in this post to recount the Benjamin Button-style epic hate story I have going with Sara Burnstein. Alas...)

Abigail's a raging megalomaniac who shuns personal conversation, saying hello or goodbye, and prefers to dress in a variety of perplexing styles. Here are my favorites: 1) Justin Timberlake fedora with knee-high boots and capri pants; 2) sailor outfit with beret; 3) Sigourney Weaver's business suit from Working Girl, though with enhanced shoulder pads. She also likes to bitch about our "metrics," but then makes us wait hours on end for new batches of documents. She's self-serious and ambitious and lusts for victims to throw under the bus in her singularly focused climb to the top, to the top of what I am not sure. I know I should just let it go. But assiduous readers know, I let nothing go. I hope and plot for Abigail's downfall, even as I've stopped communicating with her directly and relay all messages through Ira.

But hate is just one kind of medicine -- the affliction being boredom. The boredom of a job that has no future, no worth, no point. A job where one can make mistakes with almost zero possibility of consequence. I suppose I could inadvertently authorize the disclosure of an otherwise privileged document, which could then be the basis of opposing counsel's potential waiver of privilege claim. But that would take some serious fucking up. Mainly I decide if documents are relevant or irrelevant, and even the relevant ones are totally unenlightening.

Now, there's another kind of medicine for boredom. It's called distraction. This is why an innocent conversation I had last week with a co-attorney about his visit with friends in Venice Beach (obviously) led to a discussion of White Men Can't Jump, especially Wesley Snipes' outfits in the movie, and our sincere hope that one day Abigail will come to work dressed as him, painter's cap with the brim flipped up and all. This in turn led to another distraction. I challenged my co-attorney friend -- let's call him Adam -- to a shrine-in-Wesley-Snipes'-honor-off, and now our cubicles, once barren, save for a phone list of all the people who sit IN OUR OPEN OFFICE PLAN, within voiceshot, none of whom talk to us anyway, but whom we could telephone, well, now our cubicles are things of beauty. I have a blown-up picture of the interlocking hands (one black, one white) from Jungle Fever in my shrine; a healthy serving of Wesley armpit hair as he reaches for his blade in Blade; Wesley in drag; Wesley doing a funny dance with his wife; Wesley with a gold chain and medallion, looking all hard and matchy- matchy, in New Jack City. But that wasn't enough. Now we photocopy all official correspondence to include Wesley's image and distribute it to our two baffled fellow attorneys. Adam even found the letters of reference Woody Harrelson and Denzel wrote to the judge in Wesley's tax evasion case and put them up -- Woody Harrelson is a man who knows what kind of impression good letterhead can make. Also, I now subscribe to a "Wesley Snipes'" Google news alert.

All of this may seem like the stuff of, if not legend, then at least the subsidiary plot line in a mediocre episode of The Office, I am fully aware, but this is my medicine. This is what keep me not necessarily sane, but at least sane enough not to unload invective on Abigail for questioning my "commitment to serving the client's needs."

Thank you, Wesley Snipes.

Adam and I will be there to break you out of jail, should you finally be made to go there. And we are planning your comeback vehicle -- if Spike Lee doesn't beat us to the punch. Our movie poster is above. In the film you play a mild-mannered temp attorney, just trying to fill a discovery request so you can buy asthma medicine for your son. But little do you know you work in an office staffed by alien robots. You uncover a hot doc, which the evil supervising attorney tries to suppress. You review diligently and you deploy karate chops fiercely. In the final battle against the attorney controlling the alien robots, you snap his neck, and as his body falls to the ground, you say sternly, "Motion denied." I will be famous for putting these words in your mouth, and you will be famous once again.

This could be huge, Wesley. Call me.

Save me from Abigail.

And if you know Colin Farrell, tell him I've got a part for him.

ps -- Everyone should read this article on The Way of the Snipes. Do it for the children.


Molly said...

I can see the judge's thought bubble now:

"OMG, Wesley totes has ALMOST the same birthday as Woody! I shall show lenience!"

Molly said...

you know what else would be awesome? If wesley snipes said to the evil partner: "How about i teach YOU some ethics!?!????" and then blows him up or karate chops him in some totally badass way.

E said...

dude, you can't pitch this movie w/o a thorough description of the supervising attorney's wardrobe.

let's get real here.

Collin said...

Double (low cut) tank tops! Ahhhhhh

Alex said...

My favorite post ever.

Alex said...

Two quick follow-up questions:

1) You write that you learned "the hard way" that "Ira" hates Colin Farrell. Could you be a little more specific? How did this come up? Do you have a separate shrine?

2) You said that you "photocopy all official correspondence to include Wesley's image" . . . how, exactly? Did you copy the WS image to the back of the page? Or did you copy a light version of the image as the background and then copy the official stuff on top? Just curious . . . excellent either way.