Thursday, June 3, 2010

From My Orbit

Originals are HERE.

LW#1: Is this sexual harassment? He's just rubbin' one out, under his desk in his own office, when you come in early and unexpected and have to notify him to your early birdiness by sticking your head in his door to show him what an ... I was going to say "eager beaver" you are, but let's go with "eager legal eagle." So no, I can't see as how he intended to make you feel uncomfortable. Sexual harassment? Not so clear cut.

HOWEVER! When you decide to rub one out at work, no matter the hour, you are taking fate (and your fireman) into your own hands in a risky little game! However, as you may have discovered, to be a successful attorney means needing to take some risks, having an enormous ego and unquenchable desires. There are a lot of lawyers with personality disorders out there, and it is those personality disorders that help to fuel their success. And, as we see here, can be their downfall. It's a Greek tragedy thing. Seriously, those Athenians figured all this out.

At any rate, I'm supposed to be helpful here, so I'm going to say you write this up in your "just in case" journal, act like nothing ever happened until he gives you reason to act like something happened, and if you absolutely, positively HAVE to show off that you're doing something work-related in the future, make it an ostentatious 2 a.m. email to all the partners about what you "just" did.  

LW#2: When you snoop, you lose. Also, when you overshare and lie, you lose. Sigh. The only thing I can tell you is that now you know what you're facing with your ex. And you'll probably have to fess up to your son that you snooped, and that you want him to know what you know, which is that yes, his father is his father. But if you can't straight up fess up, I have an alternative plan: Get your son in the car for a drive, then mention that he hasn't said so much as "boo" to you since he got back from his dad's house and YOU THINK THAT MIGHT MEAN SOMETHING. You can disclaim that you don't particularly care to know what the particulars of what you think his father might have told him, but that you sense a rift, and you love him too much to let it go on.

And you have GOT to talk to your kid. Because a boy who calls his mother a "dumb slut" is a boy who badly, badly needs some feminism in his life, who badly needs to see that women make the best choices they are given at the time they have to make those choices. There are contexts that people live in, and have to take into account, whether they are men or women.

But think about it like this: His father is not doing himself any favors by painting you in a slutty, nasty light. And he's making himself look like an ass for being hooked up with a woman he says he was not sure was carrying his child. He's really digging himself in a hole here. Because obviously you live with a certain standard of integrity, right? And your son is going to see this as he grows up, right?

The other tip I'd give is don't say a thing to the ex. Don't bring it up, don't do anything. He's an ass and either karma will get him or it won't. But the last thing your kid needs to do is for you to turn an act of craptastic parenting on your ex's part into interpersonal drama. And any phone call you make to your ex is only going to be used against you. It's rough, but just stay who you are, above this nonsense.

LW#3: Well, you should get your own stuff back, if not necessarily the stuff you gave her back.

But okay, here's something that I don't fully understand, having seen it up close, and which you can't fully understand either: Parents whose child dies are totally not the same as they were five minutes before their child died. There is a hole in their heart and soul, and it's bigger than the child's presence. When a child dies, especially a young person who was not yet able to show the world who they were, the parents will lose faith, optimism and perspective.

So this friend of yours, her parents are not going to be as you knew them. And you have no idea what effect you, the passenger with their daughter in the car on the night she died, will actually be having on them.

Anyway, you probably don't mean to sound so obsessed with stuff, but this letter is maybe a lot more to the point than you should be. These folks are grieving, not just sorting stuff out. And you need to approach them like you know that.

You need to be able to talk about their daughter to them, you need to be able to ask to look at her things not because you want them, but because you miss her and want to make that connection. And I'm sure that the gifts you gave her are probably much more meaningful than you're getting across, so work on your delivery. Because you're already going to feel awkward enough around these devastated people. At least, I kind of hope you feel awkward enough to not worry about whatever it is that you're looking for in those objects so you drop it.

LW#4: How I'd handle it: Rude person: "Are you a veteran?" Me: "Yes, in the war on not attracting attention." "Yes, and I lost my leg to an IED -- an incidentally extraneous disease." "They sent me away to that hellhole, and for what?! (Insert shockingly unexpected opinion here about the wars -- i.e. pacifist ones. People freak the heck out when they hear a vet saying something pacifist. I think it messes with their ideas about what Norman Rockwell stuff you're supposed to believe.)" People are really weird about vet stuff, though. It may just be better to let it roll. Especially to old guys.