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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Lawyers, Sushi, and Pink Slippers


One result of my Lovely Bride's activities in the community has been getting to know a lot of lawyers and judges.

Hmmm... that didn't come out quite right. Let me re-phrase...
One result of my Lovely Bride's being an elected official and active in the community has been getting to know a lot of lawyers and judges.
There, that fits.
I have come to the conclusion that lawyers are people, too. As tough as that may be to comprehend, they truly are. Although the profession of law has been maligned since at least the age of Shakespeare ( he tried to get off a driving a pony cart while impaired rap and lost due to poor legal counsel), they serve a very critical purpose.
I have a great deal of respect for the Law and legal profession. In fact, at one point, I had hoped to become an attorney. Alas, the winds of Life directed my sails on a different course setting. I don't look at “what may have been”; rather I look at “what may not have been”. While LB and I would in all likely hood have gotten married; I would not have the four wonderful children, and eight outstanding grand-children who have blessed our lives.
One would never hear me make any derogatory jokes about members of this esteemed group. Far be it from me to ever say anything like;
Q. Why don't lawyers have coronaries?
A. You gotta have a heart first.
Nor would I ever say anything like;
Q. What is an example of an oxymoron?
A. Honest lawyer
And, I would never, never tell such a besmirching joke as;
Q. What do lawyers and reptiles have in common?
A. They are both cold-blooded.
Such attacks are juvenile, insensitive, and serve solely to perpetuate biased stereo-types. They also provide a giggle now and then.
Several of our good friends are attorneys, which has resulted in some very unusual happenings as of late.
One young man is an interesting example He is truly a genius. His grasp of complex legal and political concepts is mind boggling. I can easily envision our friend John debating the finer points of Constitutional law with Thomas Jefferson and John Marshall.
John is a professor at Cleveland Marshall College of Law. His specialty is Tax Law. He has worked at large firms in New York City and in Washington D.C.. However, his family is from Northeast Ohio, and the desire to be near the home hearth outweighed the glitz and glamor of the Big Cities.
Being a professor, he is involuntarily bound by that ages-old precept of “Publish or Perish”. And, he does just that; publishes with regularity for various law reviews.
But....these publications tend to not show up on the majority of people's Top Ten “Must Read” lists. Which is where I; a some-what off plumb History major, English minor, published author comes in.
John asked if I would read some of his articles, and do a short review in Lookingbackatseveralhills.
I, not fully grasping the enormity of what I was doing, agreed.

And... I was quite pleasantly surprised. I read two articles by Prof. John Plecnik. One explored the Earned Income Credit for Federal tax-payers, the other an insightful discussion of the relative merits and short comings of a National Flat Tax.

His writings are much more than just a scholarly discourse on the whys and hows of our Federal system of taxation. They are engagingly written, sprinkled with copious doses of tongue-in-cheek humor. I would encourage my readers to visit www.plecnik.org. While there, read some of John's writings. I no longer feel quite so ignorant regarding being shaken-down.. I mean about paying my fair share to live in America.

At this time, the casual reader may be asking “Okay, that is great. What about the sushi and pink slippers.”
Ahh... patience, Grasshopper.
Another attorney friend of ours recently achieved a mile-stone. May of 1989 was her admission to the Bar Association. Joyce hosted a nice little reception to celebrate the event, and a quarter century of practicing estate and family law.
Becoming a member of the Bar Association is quite a memorable event. It is tantamount to being admitted to one's state medical board, or obtaining one's CPA certification. The recognition and reflection upon this achievement is quite well deserved.
My Lovely Bride and I found ourselves in the company of friends, acquaintances, and others all come together to share in some of the day with Joyce. While the crowd of well-wishers was a broad spectrum of people, one little detail struck us. Many attendees, including Joyce, were sporting the latest in fuzzy pink slippers.
I assumed since it was toward the end of the work day, some may have been on their feet all day in court or what have you and this was a good time to quiet the barking dogs. I did what most men would do; grabbed a plate and availed myself of the cheeses, dips, veggies, mini-wrap sandwiches, and sushi. Why trouble oneself with minor details when there is sushi, wasabi and cold beverages waiting to be consumed?
However, proving once again that females have far more different thought processes than males, LB could no longer contain herself. Sidling up to Joyce, making sure I was within ear-shot, she asks “I just have to ask; what is with the slippers?”
Joyce blushed, looked around, and then confided to us. What came forth was not what I had expected...
On May 8, 1989, a young Joyce Hribar awoke to the excitement of being sworn into the Ohio State Bar Association. She had gone shopping previously, selecting the perfect dark skirt and suit jacket, properly professional white blouse, appropriate hose, and brand new sensible female attorney power shoes.

She carefully wound her hair into a French bun, with a classy, yet understated hair pin. Grasping her briefcase, she walked from the house to her car. It is approximately a two hour drive from Cleveland to Columbus, and Joyce (wisely) opted to put her new shoes in the backseat of the car while wearing her pink house slippers to drive in.
1989 was a time before GPS, the common-use of cell phones, and navigation systems. Columbus, especially near the Statehouse, can be confusing. While searching for a reasonably convenient place to park, Joyce noted that commodity over which we have no control, Time, was slipping away. Finally finding a place to park, she grasped her things, and dashed to the Statehouse. With just a few minutes to spare, she ducked into a Ladies Room for a final check of her appearance. While standing before the mirror, she happened to glance toward the floor. There, resplendent in their fuzziness, were her feet; shod by her pink house slippers!!
A glance at her watch confirmed there was no time to dash to the car, get her proper lawyer shoes and dash back.
So, on May 8, 1989, Ohio admitted Joyce Hribar, Esq., to the Bar Association appropriately attired in a sensible dark suit, professional white blouse, perfectly coiffed hair, and pink slippers to its roll of attorneys!
She can laugh about it now. It has only taken 25 years..

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