Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Diaster Before Becoming An Attorney

I think the forces of this universe tried to prevent me from becoming a lawyer.  I don't think it's too over dramatic of a statement because it happened, even until the end.  But you know, I'm stubborn and I was going to be an attorney even if the universe was trying to stop me.

First - there was getting into law school.  That was really tough because I sucked at standardized tests.  (I think I'm a lot better now though and am thinking of retaking it.)

Then there was my moral character.  One of my employers made a false accusation against me.  When she realized what she had done, she was way too arrogant to admit she was wrong.  She didn't check the facts and I didn't do what she thought I did.  It was so bad she still didn't want to exonerate me for the bar moral character.  I, against the advice of those who said that the system would support her, wrote a letter to her boss.  He reversed her immediately - as she actually lied to him about the whole fiasco.  She eventually ended up upsetting enough people that she got booted from her office.  Hallelujah and amen. I think the incident cost me a few shots of whiskey.

Then there was the professor at law school who wanted to steal my research.  As a result of trying to get published, she tried to accuse me of unethical behavior.  Can you believe it?  I tried to apologize to her, but the sad part of the whole thing was that she couldn't replicate my work.  She couldn't do the hard wired statistical work.  I thought once again my moral character was going to be dinged.  But to my surprise, again it worked out.

I had thoughts about dropping out of law school.  Bluebooking, which is the painful process of checking pagination and citations gave me a headache.  I remember thinking I never thought being a lawyer meant doing this kind of work.

Then there was the bar - at which time my cat had to have cancer.  And I devoted a lot of my time.  The cat still died.  I failed the bar.  All of it was just one awful procedure.

Then I passed the bar, with a MBE score in the top 20%.

So, all that was left was that I had to get sworn in by a judge I knew at Pasadena.  Usually, most people get sworn in at the Los Angeles Convention Center.  It's large and impersonal.  But I chose a judge who knew me and shared similar values.

Getting there should be no problem, right?

My mother's family decided to run late.  I wanted to go without them.  But she said, "NO!  I CAN'T GET TO THE COURTHOUSE WITHOUT YOU."  And this was a family event.  So, how could I go without my mom.  And how could they show up late.

In fact, everyone was late because my swearing in was at 4pm.  The Los Angeles traffic was clogged and prevented people from coming.

I took the 1967 mustang.  My mother told me not to take it.  But I had a number of friends to take and my two seater BMW couldn't fit them.  Later, she would tell me she had that woman's intuition not to take it.

So, I drive my car in the Friday traffic.  I'm running late to the courthouse.  My father calls and says, "HEY!  Where the hell are you?"

"I'm trying, Father.  I'm trying to get there.  But I'm late."

"You're such an idiot!  You know that.  They're going to close the courthouse."

My other friends call and ask me why I'm not there.  My mother calls and asks for directions.  My dad calls again.  My friends call to tell me they're running late.  I'm driving.  I'm late too.  I feel stressed.  I can't even talk to my passengers because I'm under so much stress.

Then I knew something went wrong.  I could smell the freon.  Why does it smell like my radiator busted?  It should be ok, no?  The heat gauge doesn't say my car is overheating, though it is getting a bit hotter.

And then it red lines in the temperature.  I pull over immediately to the right shoulder.  The white smoke rises from the engine.  The engine is frozen.  I busted it.  The car overheated.  My high school friend and my boxing coach are worried.  What do we do?  I'm stuck.  I'm not going to make it to my own swearing in.

I do think (&^(*##.  What do I do now?

I call my friend and tell them what happens.  The judge wants to talk to me.  He says if I can make it work within the hour, he'll wait for me.

I call my head boxing coach.  He agrees to rush over and take us from our stuck location to the courthouse.  My other friends also agree.

I see a car pull behind me.  I see a tow truck come too.  Oh, this tow truck is going to charge me.  I wonder how much.

But he doesn't.  He says, "It's a free freeway service.  We'll take you to the nearest side street."  Oh that's good.  I can get the car tomorrow.

I walk on the shoulder to the car that's behind me.  It's a silver car.  The cars are zooming by me and honking.  If I got hit, I would've died.  It wasn't that close, but close enough for you to feel the pressed air zoom across your face.

A guy gets out of the car.  An Asian guy.

"Scott?!"  It's my younger brother.

"Hey stupid, get on the other side.  You could get hit."

It is Scott.  How did this happen?  What are the odds he saw me?

Scott said, "Grace saw your car overheat.  She said look at that poor mustang.  But I knew it was you, right away."

What luck?!  I mean what are the chances that your family member randomly sees you on the freeway too.

I arrange with the tow truck to take us to the nearest side street.  Scott and his wife take my friends and I to the court house.  Everyone's waiting.  I made it.

I get sworn in.  Everyone cheers.  It's finished.  I'm an attorney now.

We celebrate at the Korean restaurant. The food is cooked over charcoal.  We drank the night away on champagne and toasts and ate the smoky meats.

My car got towed back home.  Yes, the engine is busted.  I don't have the money to fix it now.  Am I worried about it?  Not really.

I was just grateful my friends were safe in that car.  I was grateful my judge was gracious enough to wait for me.  I was thankful I got sworn in by him.  I'm appreciative and relieved I'm finally an attorney, although my mother had to remind me that it was the beginning of a new life not the end of this journey. 

If there was any time in my life that I knew for certain that God existed, it was then.  Maybe it was his angels who protected us from harm that day on the 210 West on the shoulder of that freeway.

PS: My mom told me later she had a bad premonition about the car.  Why don't women tell you those things up front?  Yes, I could have listened to her.  But she's always being a naysayer.  So how am I supposed to know when her nays are actually real nays?

PSS: Why are Korean families so demanding?  At dinner, my father made the request I now become famous.  My mother said I had to become wealthy.  And me being a good son, want to make them both happy.

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