A few years ago, I met a friend for lunch. He was working for a TV station as their consumer affairs reporter. You know, the one who reports on stories from a title like “37 on your side”. He would always complain that his voicemail was always crammed with complainers, but that he had to listen to all the messages; because occasionally, he found a nugget for the news.
I walked over to his car at the restaurant parking lot and noticed something missing. “Why doesn’t this have a seat belt?”, I asked as I leaned in to look at it. There was something odd because I could see where the seat belt had been. “Oh, I took it out. It always wrinkles up my shirt and I have to be ready to jump out of the car and get on camera”.
I guess reporters think about things that you and I don’t have to. We all worry about the “teeth lettuce” but not the shirt wrinkles. “Have you ever been stopped by the police for not wearing your seat belt”. He grinned, “No, but I guess I’d just tell them that the car doesn’t have one”. I told him that he should just admit….. He liked breaking the rules!
I thought I might get your attention a bit, with the title of the blog. Most people have heard some version of it and may know that it’s Shakespeare. The entire line was “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers”.
Most people recite that line and then go on to tell some lawyer joke. They think it’s Shakespeare agreeing with the majority regarding the ills of the legal profession.
It comes from the second part of the play “King Henry VI”. The line was uttered by Dick the Butcher, who was a follower of the anarchist in the play, Jack Cade. Shakespeare portrayed Cade as a character who was the “head of an army of rabble and demagogue pandering to the ignorant”. It was Cade’s intent to overthrow the throne.
Shakespeare was paying the legal profession a large compliment. He was acknowledging that the best way for a tyrant to replace freedom with anarchy, was to “kill all the lawyers.
Most occupation surveys put lawyers near the bottom of respectability; Somewhere a bit above politicians and used car salesmen. Many have had a bad experience with lawyers; and, like other professions, it does have its “bad apples”.
It reminds me a bit of the current Governor of South Carolina, when she was running for office. She was giving campaign speeches on how she was going to be good for the business community, if elected.
One of her goals was to replace the Worker’s Compensation Commissioners and appoint only non-lawyers to hear the claims of injured workers, at the Worker’s Compensation Commission. Her reasoning was to appoint business people to hear the claims, because they were more capable to understand what these claims were doing to business.
Maybe lawyers would do better to just worry about how they treat people individually, instead of worrying about whether someone is telling a lawyer joke. The profession still can make a difference. Even Dick the Butcher knew that .
I told my buddy that he should put his seat belt back in the car, and not sacrifice safety for a pressed shirt. I know that doesn’t change his thinking on lawyers. But, as he has said to me many times, he’d call me if he needed one. I just don’t want him to call for a seat belt violation!
And now pic o’. I can’t help it. It makes me smile to see boxing cats.