“Hey, Vito…”

I was thinking this morning of how many lawsuits are going on right now over stuff in DC over the past few years. It’s a good time to be a lawyer, I guess. That said, I’m not going there no no no no…. I came within inches of law school, well closer, really since I WORKED at a law school for a few years when I was a grad student. Great job, too, doing PR and fund-raising for the law school. I liked it. Smart people all around me and I met one of my life-long friends there. BUT…as I didn’t know then and certainly know NOW things change all the time…

New Dean, new administration, my immediate boss asked to leave over something, going for his job, being turned down, yada yada yada that’s a life-long chorus, I think. SO… got a job at one of Denver’s largest law firms. THAT was weird at first because they thought the young associate who’d recommended me was sleeping with me. They wanted him SO badly (judge’s son) that they hired me as if I were a condition. That was the late 70s/early 80s ladies and gents. When it became apparent I WASN’T this guy’s main squeeze, they were kind of stuck with me. I worked there for three years, becoming the paralegal (!) to the city attorney(s) for Lakewood, Colorado’s second largest city. It was a good job for me because that kind of law encompasses about everything there is in law. I didn’t work in the cop shop — well I did, later — so I wasn’t dealing with the court docket, etc. but all the other stuff. We had more than 2,000 active paper files.

I kind of liked the job, but I had the Wanderlust. Also, it didn’t pay great. One day one of the clerks — a friend of mine with whom I went skiing pretty often — said, “So what do you think? You’re not going to get promoted to lawyer.”

I signed up for the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). Stuff happened between my signing up and actually sitting for it. (Wanderlust; ‘luv’). I signed up for the Peace Corps. I signed up for the Foreign Service Exam. I passed the written Foreign Service Exam. The Peace Corps? That was weird. I was ready to take the ONLY opening they had at that moment, in Thailand, but when the person interviewing me didn’t know where Bangkok was, I backed off. What if I wanted to come home? And luv’. OH well…

So I showed up for the LSAT early one Saturday morning in a classroom kind of thing at Denver Muni. Halfway through or so I realized if I passed, I would go to law school. I realized I didn’t want to go to law school or be an attorney. I got up, turned in my exam and left. Oddly, I still passed. How I have NO idea.

The most fun part of my life as a paralegal was during Denver’s penny stock fraud in the early 80s. My main boss was tired of being City Attorney and wanted to do something more exciting and was slowly moving out of our office. This was one of his earlier ventures into the big wide world that was not the City of Lakewood. I got to take depositions of some of Denver’s mafia figures, the best was the deposition of an elderly lady from the Smaldone Family. Her lawyer pleaded that she was too old and too frail to come to our offices to do a deposition in person. The judge agreed and she was allowed to depose herself (great language in law, anyway) over the phone. I took that deposition.

The Smaldones were Denver’s mafia family, centered in North Denver in what was historically the “Italian Section” sometimes called “Little Italy.” I’d lived in that neighborhood for a year in a carriage house behind an old mansion. It was in that neighborhood I discovered I loved teaching.

Mrs. Smaldone was full of Italian charm, and I liked her, but I asked the questions I was supposed to and pushed her when necessary to give me straight answers. Some of my attorney colleagues thought she was the brains behind the whole thing, but I’m not sure that was true. Maybe. It would have even easier to judge if I could have seen her in real life, but I couldn’t. If the phone deposition hadn’t worked, I would have been sent to her house, but the phone depo worked.

The day after our deposition a dozen long-stemmed roses arrived for me from Mrs. Smaldone. My boss didn’t know if that meant I’d done well or done badly, but they were beautiful. She also called him to tell him what a treasure he had in me and that he should hold onto me. I still don’t know if that was good or bad. I hope it just meant that I treated her with, you know, respect.

26 thoughts on ““Hey, Vito…”

  1. Interesting — at various points in my student loan career I was asked why I hadn’t gone to law school! It would have been a good fit, but I was simply not interested at the appropriate time!

    • It’s funny how these turnings go — I would not have been a good lawyer and I guess I realized that during the LSAT. Of course, law is an immense profession from the most tedious and mind-numbing to Robert Kardashian etc.

  2. I like those decisions that come to us in moments of clarity at seemingly inopportune or random times – like your decision to walk out of the exam. For years I thought I would serve on the board of directors of a local organization when I retired. As I was telling this to someone (just after retiring), I realized, mid-sentence, that meetings were the least favorite part of my job and there was no way I would volunteer for a job that primarily involved going to meetings.

  3. I had a law student for a roommate one year while I was in med school. He was a fine roommate–he paid his rent on time, and was usually gone, either at the law library or his girlfriends. But it also became clear to me in our conversations that law wouldn’t ever be for me, as it was about winning arguments rather than doing “the right thing”. Glad you got roses from Vito’s mom.

  4. I just googled as I have forgotten: “….Trump’s 4,095 lawsuits we’ve found so far! Reporters continue to review state and federal court files.” And I wouldn’t be able to sleep with only one case pending. If you look at it that way, this guy is pretty cool 🙂

  5. Other countries other manners., sure. But 4000+ ? If you take all the politicians in Europe together, they don’t bring that number. You have to include the Mafia in the calculation. Unexpected earning potential opens up

    • I don’t see Trump as a politician. I see him as a mob boss.

      That said, some of the lawsuits are — however much I hate Trump — probably frivolous. Civil law suits — what I saw in my short tenure at the law firm is that most of them settle. I think they’re a way to make money.

      The ONLY lawsuit regarding Trump that interests me hasn’t been pressed yet. It would be the The People of the United States against Donald Trump. It would be a criminal suit over the Top Secret documents found in his basement at Mar a Lago.

      While I think there’s probably cause to indict him for inciting an insurrection, and there is probably evidence to support the allegation, I don’t think that will ever happen.

      • I’m sure you’re right about the nature of the court cases. We’re still pretty old-fashioned here and limit ourselves to criminal offences. I don’t think there will be a big showdown either. That would shake the system.

        • The way I see it, Austria — all of Europe — has experienced things directly that we have not. People in my country (overall) tend to think of the US as special and don’t connect themselves at all to world — especially European — history when they should. They are not interested in context, and their idea of “specialness” makes them blind to the possibility that things that happened in other countries could easily happen here; it’s human nature. Our two major political parties are pretty awful. It’s what Yeats wrote in “The Second Coming” — “The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.”

            • Very true. It’s funny when illusions start to fade that a huge phalanx of people are ready to kill in order to maintain the illusions. That is what’s behind many of the shootings here in the US and the passion for guns that have no purpose other than killing people. That question, “What’s real?” is so dangerous.

              • “What is real” is undoubtedly one of the most interesting aspects in our societies. In the last c. 2 decades, the world of illusions has accelerated rapidly. Just think of the spread of “Positive Thinking”. That generally sounds very good. But it gets interesting when we can only hide unwanted aspects in life in bubbles like metaverse.

                • I was thinking about that yesterday reading something in one of my favorite magazines. It was an article about how people “climb” the highest Himalayan peaks these days and how it is for them just something they post on social media. There’s a little more to it than that, but that’s the bottom line. It’s as if an experience isn’t real unless it’s shared with “followers”. (This blog?)

                  I think of positive thinking as focusing on what’s possible (like I want to run, but I can’t. I CAN walk) but that isn’t the general understanding of it.

                  When (20 years ago?) “The Secret” came out and people started to “manifest” success, wealth, happiness, etc. in their lives by not thinking about the alternatives, I knew it was over. I thought about that, about happiness, and how I don’t see it as getting what I want necessarily but being peaceful with what I have? I think The Rolling Stones had something to say about that 😉

                  • Ha, just a few days ago I was chatting with a friend and he was telling me about the many hushed dead in the Hamalaya peaks. People, often in poor health, who then no longer manage to share their recklessness with their fb friends.

                    As for the realization of wishes, I have developed my own technique, which I have been doing well for many years and which is essentially based on Daoism. I almost always get what I really want. However, I have also been accused of wishing too little 🙂

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