I heard it moments before the manager called me into his office. Tom had been walking around, and heard the gossip, soon to be confirmed by the manager. He informed me that Bertha and Billy had had a big fight the night before, and Bertha informed Billy that she was in love in with me. SHE WAS IN LOVE WITH ME!!!
I was floored by this revelation. A wet noodle could have knocked me over. A feather duster, a sombrero, a dishrag, hell even a drop of water could have knocked me on my ass. I did not even like this woman. All I did was give her a passing acknowledgment when words passed through her lips. Not to mention the fact that she was a solid 15 years older than me. I would not have given her the time of day had she passed me on the street. I don’t think that I was even that nice to her. I just said the occasional, “yep,” “uh-huh,” or “that’s great.” Was she so starved for attention that this was all she needed to fall in love with someone?
As I said, moments after I found out that I had unwittingly broken up a marriage, the manager called me into his office, and basically confirmed the rumor. Bertha had broken up with Billy because she was in love with me. The manager then proceeded to tell me that what I did on my own time was none of his business, just so long as it did not interfere with work. Had I not been so shell-shocked, I would have made it clear that I never so much as touched Bertha (OK, so maybe I brushed up against her tits once, but it was an accident). Still numb, I left his office with the knowledge that it does not pay to be nice.
The story is not done there though. All this happened within the first two and half hours of my shift. I still had half of it let to go. The rest of the day was filled with Kroger employees from every department casually walking by, peering into the Deli to see who had caused the latest drama. I wanted to hold up a sign saying, “I HATED BERTHA. SHE IS AN IDIOT. I NEVER DID ANYTHING. SHE IS READING INTO THINGS THAT ARE NOT THERE.” I did not get a chance however, as there were a lot of people asking for Lorraine Swiss Cheese that day.
The coup de grâce came about 20 minutes before closing time. A man and woman walked up to the Deli counter. Trying to put the whole thing behind me and be a cheery Kroger employee, I asked if there was anything I could help them with. They said, “Do you know [lawschoolrules]?” I said that was me. The man said, “Well its nice to see who that bitch left my brother for” and walked away. “Oh Fuck,” was the only thing I could think. That brief exchange taught me a very important lesson.
The next twenty minutes were anxiety ridden. The only thing I could think about was how many guys would be hiding behind my car waiting to break my legs. Would it just be Billy? Billy’s Brother? Both? Does Billy have more friends or brothers or uncles or nephews or bothers-in-law? They knew what I looked like. I had one saving grace though, Tom. I figured Tom would be there to help me out, he was a good guy, he would certainly escort me to my car.
Nope. As soon as the clock hit 10 he was gone. I don’t think he even said goodbye. Just punched out and left. As I wrapped up the corned beef I began thinking about how much a tire iron to the knee would hurt. I wondered if I had the balls to scream, “RAPE!!” But I sucked it up; I left the store with no escort, no gun, no brass knuckles, no nothing but my own fear. I walked out of the automatic doors and saw no one waiting in the shadows. I pressed on, my fists clenched ready to start swinging at anyone who came near. I made it to my car without any trouble, but knew that there was still a chance for violence. I got, started the car up, and drove away without incident. I was relieved, after all it had been the second time in my life I had been presented with the fact that I might get my ass kicked in a parking lot (the first time required sweet talk since the angry people were actually there).
The repercussions of this day were few. I quit shortly thereafter, partly because of this, and partly because of something else, which I cannot talk about (the Bar would have my ass). I occasionally ran into some of my other co-workers (at the time this happened my friend had already quit), and learned that Bertha and Billy had worked things out. So, officially I did not unwittingly break up a marriage, I just nearly unwittingly broke up a marriage. It was close I am sure, but God has plenty of other reasons to send me to Hell. I did see Bertha about a year later. I was doing some late night shopping at the Kroger and she was working the register. She did not acknowledge me, and I did not acknowledge her. But she looked pretty much the same, and it was at that point that I decided to never be nice to anyone ever again.
Sunday, February 25, 2007
Friday, February 23, 2007
I wrote this a long time ago, and am just posting it now, so do not judge it too harshly.
There are probably several stories from my younger days that are worth telling. However this is the one I want to tell. Just as Mike from Barely Legal Blog worked at Kroger, I did so too. However, I do not have ten stories to tell, just one (though I was wearing the polo that Mike instituted).
It was so long ago, I cannot even remember what year it was. I think it was the fall semester of my sophomore year in college, when I came to be employed by the Kroger in my college town. A friend of mine had recently begun working in the Deli there, and told me it was an easy job and they were hiring. Me needing money to pay those older than me to procure beer for me, decided that the Deli at Kroger’s was the perfect job. I quickly set about filling out an application and was hired (I think there may have been an interview, but who knows). I naively figured that this would be a good chance to hang out with a friend of mine, and getting paid to do so. This assumption turned out to be erroneous quite quickly. We both worked at night, but since we were both part-time, we were generally paired with a full-timer, and thus worked on different nights. Apparently there were some people in town who felt that working in the Deli at the Kroger was a career. After all, there were Union benefits (biting my tongue).
I generally spent my three nights a week working with Bertha. Bertha was a regular townie. She looked the part and acted the part. She was maybe a hair over five feet, but weighed a good 150 lbs. (a solid two ‘poons). She also had a nice pair of coke bottle glasses. In other words, the three-month old honey ham was more appetizing than her. While we worked together, she talked incessantly, not really to me (or so I thought), but at me. I usually grunted a reply, but because I was too nice a guy I could not tell her to shut her hole. She would yammer on, and I would say things like “yup,” “MMM-Hmmm,” “that’s interesting,” “wow,” “huh,” and “cool.”
To this day, I have no idea what she was talking about 90% of the time, but in the three months I was there, she told me one story twice; How she found her husband. From what I could decipher, one day Bertha decided she needed a husband. To accomplish this monumental task, she set up three dates. The details of the first date escape my memory, but it probably involved the guy seeing her, excusing himself from the table, and fleeing through the bathroom window. At the second date, the guy did not show up, even though Bertha was to pick him up at his home. But, as Bertha told me, she had a great time with his parents. Apparently, this guy still lived with his folks, and then skipped out to prevent meeting her, and his parents were forced to deal with her. According to Bertha, they were very nice folks (which I do not dispute, there were some folks around these parts that are salt of the earh), and she proceeded to hang out with them for a few hours.
Fortunately, on the third date Bertha struck gold. She met her soul-mate, Billy. Three dates was all it took to find love. If only that could work for us white-collars. Anyway, when Bertha met Billy sparks flew and they each knew that the other was the one. After all, Bertha worked in the Deli and Billy worked in the Meat Department, both at Kroger. It was a match made in heaven, or at least a recipe from the Kroger Bakery. After what was probably an exciting and eventful courtship, Bertha and Billy got married.
However, shortly after I began working in the Deli with Bertha, they began going through some problems. Unbelievably the marriage began to fall apart. This of course, was completely unknown to me, because I never listen to what people have to say. Had Bertha said something to me, I probably would have grunted. Of course, that may have happened, and Bertha found my grunt to be the sexiest thing ever. Because I came into work one day, and Bertha was scheduled, but no where to be seen.
With Bertha gone, a kid my age, (but not in school, though a cool guy nonetheless) named Tom was forced to stay late and work with me. As I recall, I was scheduled to come in an hour before Bertha, so after about an hour and a half of hard Deli work, the word began to trickle down. Bertha and Billy broke up. They had a huge fight the previous night, and no one knew where Bertha was. I, of course, did not care, I was more concerned about who would help me close up the Deli that night. I spent the better part of an hour convincing Tom to stay and help me close up. I talked him into staying until closing time, though not until closing procedures were completed, but that was good enough for me. Then the bombshell came.
To be continued….
Monday, February 19, 2007
So I am taking Tax class this semester, which is important I suppose because I will have a tax related job this summer. I was excited to take tax class. I recall one of the 3L’s telling me that [Tax Prof] is a fucking tax god. So you can see why I was excited. I had had [Tax Prof] for a differently similar class my first year, and he spent half of each class talking about the tax code, so I thought that this class would be great.
Of course, two things should have tipped me off. First, I took Federal Income Tax as an undergrad, and it nearly turned me off tax forever. There was a 90 year old guy teaching the class, who did not seem to care about anything. Tenure to the extreme. This class was also held at 8 a.m. on Wednesdays and Fridays. Yeah, this was not a good time for me. I was a sophomore living off campus, in a kick ass house (not a frat house, a normal house) in a town that delivered beer without asking for I.D. Needless to say, sophomore year was when I learned that Thursday was the first day of the weekend. Aside from skipping half of my classes, I learned that Tax did not appeal to my analytical brain.
Oh as an aside, a funny story about tax. There was a kid in my undergrad tax class, let us call him Pete, who skipped class more than I did. I happened to be in class the day that groups were assigned for our big end of the semester group project. We got to pick our groups so I got stuck with the other two kids who had no friends, well they were not that bad, but who am I to complain? Anyway, we set up a time to meet on a Saturday morning to go over the big end of the semester project, which in actuality was the preparation of a tax return according to all the rules, none us learned because the Prof’s false teeth made it difficult for him to enunciate. Anyway, the Friday night before the group meeting, I am out on the town, getting shit-faced and I run into Pete. We start talking about Tax class, and I learn that he has no group. Fucked up as I am, I tell him he should join my group. I tell him we are meeting at 10 am on Saturday, at [Address of this kid in the group]. He says thank you, and I continue on with the over-indulgence. I wake up the next morning to a throbbing in my head, that turns out to be half the hangover and half the alarm that has been going off for 45 minutes. So I throw on the clothes I wore the night before, after all they were at the foot of my bed, and head on out. I get to Steve’s apartment (the kid in my group whose apartment we agreed to meet at), and knock on the door while smoking a cigarette. He answers the door and says that I cannot smoke that inside, I understand, and fling it out into the street and enter the house (he had a little porch). I walk into Kevin’s apartment, and get an immediate sense of déjà vu. This was the first time I realized that all the apartments in the same complex looked exactly the same. Same layout, kitchen, counter, fridge, stove, carpet, and poorly laid out load bearing walls. It made me a bit disoriented, but not as disoriented as when I saw Pete sitting on the couch.
“Whoa, do you live with Kevin?” Was my first thought, that I did not say. Pete could not live with Kevin. What the hell was Pete doing here? I could not figure it out. Surely you can, because you have read this story, but my poor memory combined with enough booze to kill a midget had caused me to forget completely that I had invited him here, and without anyone else in the group even knowing. “You told me to come,” Pete said sensing my confusion. My bloodshot eyes took a glance over at Kevin (I had worked with him on a group project for another class and he knew that I was a bit of a wildcard) and he just kind of shrugged at me, as if to say, three minds are better than two, even if two of the minds are you and Pete.
So we sat around for a while, actually waiting for the fourth member of the group, who was not so much of a fuck-up as he was stupider than a pile of manure. However, it was a great excuse to put off getting started on the work. So I went out to smoke, and Kevin, not a smoker, came out too. I am not sure why Kevin came out, maybe so I would not burn his plants. But anyway, I get halfway through my smoke when the fourth member of the motley crew shows up. Realizing that it is time to get to work, I flick the half-smoked cig into the street, or at least I thought so. As we head inside, we hear this chick yell, “The Cigarette Is Burning the Shrubs.” What, I think. Who cares, there is fucking snow on the ground, and it will not burn shit. But Kevin gets a little paranoid, and heads back out the door. The girl yells out again, “It is still burning!!” Whatever I think, but look into the shrubbery to see if anything is burning. I see nothing. Suddenly a girl appears, and stamps out my cigarette as it lies in the street burning next to the sewer drain I had aimed for. I am tempted to yell out something about how she is a hippie, but alas, I am too hung-overly drunk to be witty. After all, it is tax time.
So we go through the problem, finish it, and turn it in. A few classes later, the old man hobbles up to the front of the room to let us know how we did. Every group, there was probably ten, had come up with a different answer. And only one group got the “right” answer. It was not my group. I was pissed. What the fuck kind of law is this shit where 45 different college educated students could get a different answer based on the same fact pattern? And more importantly, how could I have not gotten the right answer? To be fair, our groups Gross Income was less than the correct answer, and based on the frequency of IRS audits (<1%) I would say that my group’s answer, while not right, was the better answer.
And then I took the final, and apparently the old man did not agree with me about having a better answer than the right answer. I got a B-, the second worst grade I had ever received in my life (Once I figure out the difference between macro and micro economics I will tell you why I got a C (including an F on the midterm) for one and a B+ (because I got nothing less than a 92% on any exam, but I skipped so many classes that it drove my grade down so far that the Prof said that if I got a 95% on the final, I could get an A. I decided it was not worth it) for the other).
So if undergrad is the first reason I should I have been apprehensive, the second reason is the sheer size of the Tax class in law school. I was pretty much the last person eligible to register for any class this semester and I got into it. Needless to say, Tax is a popular class. There are 200 people in there if there is one (didn’t I learn anything about this cliché?). The sheer enormity of it makes it impossible to care. When the Prof is willing to cater to the lowest common denominator, then there is not much to do but surf the web in class.
I may have gotten a B- in undergrad tax class, but I still know the basic concepts. And Law Tax is based solely around basic concepts. Because you do not have to be an accountant to get tax law. You have to be a lawyer. All that tax class has become is a guide through the code and the regs. The only thing I am learning is where to find the particular law. It is pathetic. I was so excited about this class. I had hoped it would change my life; reinvigorate my interest in accounting (which was my major), but it has utterly failed to do so.
But on the bright side, well . . . I do not know, fuck the bright side. I am a pessimist. Once I get an A in the class I will worry about whether or not I learned anything.
Of course, the Prof is always pointing out that his accounting students never do as well as they think they will. This sounds like a challenge to me. Ahhh, if only I cared.
Thursday, February 15, 2007
I was debating whether or not to post here ever again. I am still in law school and still have one year left, after I finish this semester. So I should still have at least 18 months of interesting stuff to tell (at least in theory). The problem was, would I tell it? It has been almost two months since my last post. I do not know where to go with that, it is just fact. No genuine issue there. I could easily just forget about this blog and all the irrelevant things I have had to say to the people that never read this thing. So the question is, have I lost my desire to write? The answer is a resounding no. Shit, I have spent the last two months writing (and editing and revising and researching and editing and writing and checking my galleys and reading and then reading some more and then doing more research and then writing some more and then editing a little bit followed by editing some more, though it really was not much editing; my wirting is perfect as is).
But it is not just my public that has been neglected. I looked through my cell phone. My last out-call before today was to the Chinese place for food delivery on Jan. 25. Before that (minus some calls to my parents about some legal troubles (fyi my troubles), stay tuned) was a call to accept a job offer on Dec. 29. That is pretty pathetic even for me. But on the plus side, I did write a kick ass comment for law review. So I got that going for me.
So why did I start writing again? (bear in mind, this is one entry and further entries are not guaranteed). I don’t know. Call it a compulsion. Call it nothing better to do now. Call it now that I am done with my comment, I have no idea what to do with myself and I need a reason to get out of bed because going to class just ain’t cutting it anymore (though I am fond of cutting class, though they do not really call it that anymore).
I do have some trepidations though. I do not want to shut down for a few months again. It seems that ever since my third semester started, I stopped writing. There was a post here, and another one over there, but never as regularly as when I first started. So just know, I am not guaranteeing any number of posts a week, but hopefully, it will be regularly.
So, enough with the boring disclaimer, let us get to what you all came for. Stories about me being a retard. So without further ado:
You may recall my last post. I think it said something about how it was the last day of finals and debauchery would soon ensue. I have said some prophetic things in my day, but that probably takes the cake. I wrote that post just before I went out for the night (I had internet in my house then, stolen or borrowed, whatever, I had it).
So I went to this party. I am not the most social person, but when I have had a few I can interact with most people, so long as I do not have to talk to them for too long and I can take a break every now and then. So the party was going along swimmingly, there was a keg, which is nice, and then suddenly, a bunch of cop cars show up outside. There was 8 if there was a dozen (hmm, bad cliché, there was maybe five or six cop cars). They just sat there, and we continued to have a good time. And of course, good times mean loud times. Add 20 minutes and several more beers equals louder times.
From what I can gather, cops do not like noise, even though they have those sirens on their cars. Apparently, the cops stormed the porch, and people stampeded inside, leaving a few unfortunate souls outside to deal with them. I was inside at the time, and quite inebriated. I got the gist of what was going on when the host said, “Shut up and get inside everyone, the cops are here. Be Quiet!” I asked the esteemed drunken host what the hell was going on, and I can only assume that he gave me an unsatisfactory answer.
Had I received a satisfactory answer, I surely would not have done what I did next.
Pissed off that some ornery cops would ruin the good time of a bunch of law students who had just suffered through two weeks of hell (first semester of second year still means something, I suppose), I decided to figure out what the hell was going on. I first tried the front door, but it was locked from the inside, and when I unlocked it, a cop on the porch told me to go back inside. This, of course, infuriated me. Why did it infuriate me? Probably for the same reason that I felt the need to defend my fellow students who were being subjected to the tyranny of the city police. I was drunk. There is no rational reason. In retrospect, I should have stayed inside, after all, the meek will inherit the Earth. Right? No, even now I would do the same thing that I was about to do. Was it a bad idea? Sure it was. I do not deny that. Were those folks on the porch capable of standing up for themselves? Probably, but even Mike Tyson had people in his corner when he boxed in the Olympics. Can you turn a blind eye to injustice? Most of the people at that party did, but I did not (or they were not so fucked up that they did not see an injustice or conversely, they were so fucked up they did not see an injustice).
So, because I am so damn altruistic (this is not the word I want to use, I need a word that says I believe that there is good in everyone (even Darth Vader, but I do not think believing in the force helps with the vocab situation going on here), help please), I figured that once I got on the porch and explained everything to the cops, they would see that they were being unreasonable and leave us the hell alone. But the front door was blocked, so I needed an alternate route. Thankfully, I had spent much of the party wandering around the house getting to know the lay of the land (people do not bother you much when you are walking around during a party if you look like you know where you are going). From my wanderings, I knew that I could exit out the back door, head around the house, and climb up onto the porch. So I did, and with a full cup of beer. Here is what happened (as best I can recall):
ME: What is going on here?
Cop#1: We have it taken care of.
ME: No, I want to know what is going on out here.
Cop#1: Just go back inside, this does not concern you.
ME: No, look, I am just curious what is going on out here, I want to figure this out. Ok, Ok, I know, wait, let me just do this.
[I pour my beer out over the porch railing into the shrubs]
ME: Ok, can we have a dialogue here now?
Cop#1: Go. Back. Inside.
[I see a cop in an intense conversation with a law student on the porch. The student looks upset]
ME: Are you charging anyone with anything here?
Cop#2: [gives me a look of contempt] Yes, public intoxication.
Cop#2: Public Intox.
ME: Are you kidding me?
[I give Cop#2 a mixed look of pity and contempt for not understanding the law]
ME: Public Intox? They are on a porch.
Cop#2: Yeah . . .
ME: This is private property.
Cop#2: See that house over there [points across the street]. They can see you. That
makes it public.
ME: Are you serious? [I have lost all composure] We are on a porch. So wait, you are telling me, that if the people across the street . . . [I point to a window bordering the porch] If the shades were up on this window, and the people across the street could see me . . .
Cop#2: [Icy cold stare]
ME: inside the house and I was drunk, that would be a public intox? That does not make sense. There are . . .
[Cop#2 springs into action. He takes two steps, spins me around, and puts my hands behind my back. Smooth to, he must have practiced. He pushes (not really pushes, I do not know how to describe it because he is leading me, but he is behind me, guides maybe?) me down the stairs. My mind starts racing, more so than before. “He has not read me my Miranda Rights, so he cannot be arresting, but he is surely restricting my free movement. Actually, he does not need to read me my rights, because if he is right and I can be publicly intoxicated on a porch, then he has all the evidence he needs, except for a breathalyzer to prove I am in fact drunk, though I know I am.”
He pushes me off the stairs and towards the direction of a cop car. He leans me against the trunk, and frisks me. “Is this a Terry stop? No it is not, he has probable cause to frisk me, so I cannot argue that in court,” I think to myself. He takes my phone and my wallet, and opens the back door of the cop car and asks me to get in. I do. “Ahhh, you cold hard plastic seats, it has been six years since I felt your cold emotionless essence on my ass. By the way, you seats are very uncomfortable,” I say to the seats after Cop#2 closes the door.
So there I am, in the back of a cop car, again. My mind starts racing through what I learned from Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure. Unfortunately, none of the cases focused on Public Intox on a porch. I think to what is “public.” Curtilage comes to mind, but I think that cops can search it if they have probable cause. Nothing like a crisis to fuck up the head. Hell, I got my second worst grade in Crim. Pro. and now here I am. Fuck Karma. Two deep breaths, I am not going anywhere for a while, make the most of it. I take out my pack of cigarettes and rip off the top. I pull out my pen, the cop did not take that, and start making notes on the cigarette box top. “Porch, Public? Look Into. Intox? No proof. Breathalyzer—not yet. Porch, not public area. § 1983, unlawful detainment. Lost Liberty. No Movement. Stuck in Cop Car for ___ min. Sue the Fuckers.”
After I finished my notes, roughly ten minutes or so after I was denied my freedom, I spied another officer walking by the car. I started to knock on the window.]
ME: [knock, knock, knock]
Cop#3: [opens the door] Do NOT pound on the window.
ME: But I was just . . .
[Cop#3 slams door shut]
ME: wondering if I was under arrest. Asshole. I will have your badge. You cannot hear me, but you know you are fucking up as we speak. You cannot arrest me for this shit. I did nothing wrong. A porch is not a public place fucker. Your actions have just confirmed that I am under arrest. You know what that means right asshole? Section 1983. My rights have been violated and they will be vindicated by a court allowing me taking your badge and shove it up your ass. You think you know what you are dealing with? Fucker you don’t have a clue. This will be the end of you. [Yes, I am a little drunk.
Now, I am stewing on the hard plastic seats. It does not seem so romantic anymore. I start investigating the cop car. There is a shotgun in the front seat, but alas, the plastic guard is closed, besides it would be a bad idea to take the gun. A very bad idea. Like you will end up dead bad idea. I check out his computer. Seriously, I have been here 20 minutes and the fucker has no screen saver? Even flying toasters would bring a smile to my face right now. I check back seat, nothing here but a receipt. That is not exciting, but makes me wonder who else has been in this back seat. Was an alleged murderer here before me? Would that receipt prove that he did not do it? I fucking hope not, because it is lost now.
Cop#2 enters the car. I try to look contrite. I am failing.]
Cop#2: I am writing you a ticket for public intoxication.
ME: Yes Sir. [“Now is not the time.”]
Cop#2: [writing, writing, writing] So what did you learn from this?
ME: [That cops are dicks. That cops do not know the law. That I will be a millionaire once I sue this fucking city] Ummmm . . .
Cop#2: Don’t butt in when the cops are dealing with a situation.
ME: Yes Sir.
Cop#2: Here you go, any questions?
ME: Is your badge number on that?
Cop#2: Yes it is. [overtly smug]
ME: Ok, great.
[Cop#2 lets me out of the car. I head back inside the house where the party was held, and find it mostly deserted. Apparently, a lot went down when I was locked up in the cop car. Not really though, most people just left. If only I was that smart.]
So, that is pretty much the end of the interesting part of the story. The rest of it confirms my retardedness.
So you are probably wondering what happened? Did I fight the law and win? Did I file my § 1983 action and receive damages for my unlawful detainment? I am sorry to say, I did none of the above. Public Intox is a criminal misdemeanor, on par with driving without a seatbelt, and a lesser offense than driving under 20 mph over the speed limit (at least according to the fines).
So I did nothing, the ticket did not require a court appearance, though I could have appeared in court on Jan. 2. I spent my winter break in the Chicago area, and had plans after the 2nd, so it would have cost me more to go back to [law school town] to appear in court, when I would just have to head back to Chicago. I did not even take the chance to plead nolo contendre. So I paid the $70 fine by mail. And possibly fucked myself in the process.
The other kids that got tickets that night all appeared in court and plead not guilty. The prosecuting attorney dismissed (or refused to prosecute really) all the cases, saying something to the effect of “are these those damn porch cases again?”
The funny thing (at least to me), is that in my cost benefit analysis of showing in court, I researched the law in this state, and found two cases from state appellate courts explicitly stating that a porch could be a public area, as well as a United States Supreme Court decision implicitly stating that a porch could be public (I will not get into the specifics, but the state court decisions seemed pretty definitive in regards to my situation, and they were appellate decisions, not State Supreme Court, and I do not know what district I am in, so if the court had to follow those decisions is something I will never know). However, it appears that the DAs in this town do not consider a porch to be a public place. That is good to know. Or would have been good to know anyway.
So to reframe Cop#2’s question, what did I learn from this? Eh, probably nothing.