The Other Side of History

There are two sides to every story.  Of course, there is the story you read about in the news, history books, and Wikipedia.  However, to get to the real story, you need something else.

You need a rap video.

The History of the Supreme Court

It’s time to tell you a story.

The History of the Supreme Court

Here’s the good news:

(1)  I didn’t get fired.
(2)  I have two rookie co-workers who I persuaded to join me in this rap video.
(3)  I didn’t get fired.

Enjoy!

Some of the lyrics are pretty dope, in a dorky lawyer way, so I wanted to include them here.  Please do not cite these in a brief or research assignment. You will probably be disbarred…

In East Philadelphia, 1787,
America was born, the Constitution was written,
We won the war,
Now we were free,
Supreme Court was created in Article Three.
But a couple of guys,
Who were up to no good,
They said the power of the courts was misunderstood,
If Congress passes an unconstitutional law
What can the courts do?
Court said in Marbury to strike it down under judicial review.

The party didn’t stop,
McCulloch came next,
The states said their powers were greatest under the Constitutional text.
C.J. John Marshall, he took a long pause,
Then he ruled that the federal government is top dog under the supremacy clause.

For 100 more years the feds were feeling so good,
Then President Truman showed up in the neighborhood.
Seizing steel millz and cruising along,
Rapping bout how the President be so strong.
SCOTUS stepped in said – “Whoa, Truman, hold on,”
We got a three part test that gonna prove you wrong.

In 1954 Chief Justice E-Dub started laying down the law –
Civil rights for all the people –
Brown v. Bd. said separate is not equal
The Court didn’t stop there, civil rights couldn’t be ditched,
Loving v. Virginia – all races can get hitched

It’s a new century, Y2K, and Nov. 7, 2000 is election day,
Florida can’t get it straight and it’s a tie score,
SCOTUS said GW’s the winner in Bush v. Gore
2010 campaigns are back and SCOTUS don’t mind it,
Dropping mad cash for candidates in Citizens United.
2012 will healthcare get the constitutional axe?
John G. Roberts says “NO, we’ll just call it a tax!”

Fast-For-Ward a bit to the present day,
You be thinking “What’s the court gonna say?”
Well there’s Noel Canning v. NLRB,
Are recess appointments constitutional?  We’ll have to see.
Obamacare is back with Hobby Lobby
What can the government require of a private company?

That’s the history of the Supreme Court, as told by a lawyer rap band,
Now let’s give it up for the highest court in the land.

Second Chances

I turned 31 today.

I thought about writing a post about how I still feel young, but that would be a lie.

I feel old.  My knees pop when I walk. I have to take knockoff Ibuprofen every day to keep the swelling in my ankles down. My favorite drink is sparkling water. I fall asleep by 11pm on weekends if I don’t have any plans. I’m always tired. Gardening excites me. I turn on the radio and I don’t recognize most of the songs playing on the “hip” stations (but I still know all of Deliah’s jams at night). I am constantly reminiscing about the “old” days of AIM, *NSYNC, and answering a telephone and not knowing who was on the other end.

Honestly, some of that stuff makes me sad.  I miss being able to lose five pounds over a weekend.  I miss the late-night shenanigans of college.  I miss TRL.

But, yo, I’m so thankful to be 31. I’m so thankful to be alive. I’m so thankful for my friends, my family, my church, my job, and my Chihuahua. I’m so thankful for Justin Timberlake.

I’m so thankful for second chances.

Just a few years ago, I wanted to give up on God. I wanted to walk away from my marriage. I wanted to quit on my dreams. I was bitter and confused.

Thankfully, I’ve seen each of those areas of my life restored. I’m undeserving of such a gift. I thank God for His limitless grace, my wife for her infinite patience, and my friends and family for their constant encouragement.  I thank Justin for “Mirrors.”

I’m thankful for second chances.

I’m also thankful for all of you who feel inspired to babysit our twins.

Purpose

I’m a big believer in the ideal that we each have a purpose in life. I think there is a God-designed narrative out there for all of us where we can have the greatest possible impact on this world. It might be something you discover during your teen years or you might be an immature 30-year-old attorney who is still trying to figure out what he wants to do when he “grows up.”

I’ve been trying to discover my purpose for most of the past decade. I’ve desperately hoped for the indisputable answer written across the sky that points me in the right direction. However, God doesn’t seem to work like that. If the answer is quick and obvious, you’ll learn nothing from the journey.

I just wish the journey wasn’t so long.

Of course, there have been months and years during the past decade when I pushed these types of questions to the side because of exams, busy times at work, and episodes of “Flavor of Love.” However, I’ve thought about these issues every single day for the past two years.

This is a challenging issue because stepping into your purpose usually takes a lot of hard work and I don’t have much free time to be running some kind of side hustle.  Additionally, this also gets tricky because I have a number of different passions, including music, fashion, and Chipotle, but I don’t think any of them are my purpose (unless there is a burrito tester job out there).

Unfortunately, I can’t say that I’ve finally discovered my purpose. However, I am getting closer. I’ve recently realized that there are two things in life that bring me the most joy (other than Chihuahuas, gummy bears, and baseball):

  • making people laugh; and
  • standing on a stage with a microphone.

I would have said the exact same thing ten years ago. However, those feelings have been buried by the stresses and to-do lists of life. Thankfully, our church gives me an opportunity to MC services sometimes, where I have an opportunity to (1) stand on a stage, (2) hold a microphone, and (3) tell cheesy jokes. Doing those things illuminates a spark within me that is unlike anything else I’ve experienced. It just feels right. 

Thus, I need to do it more.  I want to do it more.

Oh, back to that whole fear thing.

For the past two years, I’ve wanted to try stand-up comedy. I’m a pretty outgoing guy, but the thought of bombing in some sketchy nightclub is paralyzing. Well, it’s time to get over that mess. I want to try it. I need to try it.

I’m going to try it.

This year.

That’s partially why I’ve been posting lots of random, and hopefully humorous, Facebook status updates in recent weeks:

Old

Toxic

Taco Bell

Ninja Turtles

Target

I love to laugh at life, both the beauty and the awkwardness. And it’s time to sign up for some comedy classes and talk about the wonders of life on stage. Again, I’m terrified about that idea, but now the three of you who are reading this can help keep me accountable.

Thanks.

Dat Grass

I’ve been doing the lawyer hustle for more than three years. A lot has changed during that time, but one thing has remained the same.

My non-lawyer friends keep asking me these two questions:

(1) “Should I go to law school?”

“No.”

(2) “Is your job like the cool lawyers on TV or the movies?”

“HaHaHaHa.”

(weeps)

“No.”

Hollywood usually depicts lawyers as suave supermodels who do thrilling work and make all sorts of awesome “gotcha!” arguments in court.

(still weeping)

In reality, most of us are kind of dorky and we’ll rarely, if ever, get the opportunity to bust out some sweet Atticus Finch or Perry Mason game in the courtroom. Rather, we sit at desks and use Microsoft Word all day.  Sometimes we use Excel or PowerPoint if we really want to get funky.

Hollywood lawyer: chasing potential witnesses down the street in a slim-fit suit.
Real lawyer: a telephone call that lasts more than six hours

20131114-080530.jpg

I think a similar perception/reality gap permeates a lot of our thinking.  Being a detective sounds like a sweet job to me based on what I’ve seen on TV.  However, “Law & Order” doesn’t show everyone sitting around doing paperwork all day.  Likewise, when I was single, I wanted to be married.  After I got married, I wanted to be single . . . do everything I could to make my wife happy.  When we lived in an apartment, I wanted to buy a house so we wouldn’t be throwing away rent money each month. Two years after buying a house, I miss those “cheap” rent payments, not paying real estate taxes or mortgage insurance, not having to fix broken stuff in the house I have no clue how to fix, and the life flexibility that renting provides.  When I was in law school, all I wanted to do was graduate and start working.  Now, I wish I could time travel and visit the 2006 version of myself and tell me (him?) to chill out and enjoy the freedom and the bliss of getting home by 6pm each day.

In short, the grass always seems greener on the other side of the fence.

It’s probably not.

So start enjoying and embracing your present place in life.  Then you’ll be ready to move on to bigger and “greener” things.  However, even then, no matter how green your grass may be, someone else’s yard will always look way greener and there will always be some pesky dog peeing in your grass.

napoleon grass

Thankfully Employed.

There are times when I complain about my job.  I probably shouldn’t.  In the wake of the Great Recession, having a job is kind of a big deal.  Yep, it’s too stressful and I work too much, but having a job is better than the alternative.  However, like so many other things, it’s easy to take the good stuff for granted, to constantly think about the next step, and to daydream about the greener grass across the street.

This past Saturday was my three-year anniversary of being a lawyer.  I celebrated by working for ten hours.  Despite an un-awesome Saturday, I’m so thankful for my job.  It’s a place where I can be myself, I get to do interesting legal work, and I still have a life outside of the office.  Because I dwell on the negatives too much, I wanted to make a list of my ten favorite things about my job to remind me of the positive stuff.

(1)  I scored four points at the Verizon Center during a Partners v. Associates basketball game this year.  That’s more than most of the Wizards scored all season.

Thankfully Employed

(2)  My life is never in danger at work.  Sadly, this isn’t true when walking to and from the Metro.  Don’t waste your money at Barnum & Bailey, DC’s Chinatown is the real circus.

(3)  This was a work event:

Work Sucks. Sometimes.

This too:

Work Sucks. Sometimes2

Oh, and this:

Work Sucks. Sometimes3

(P.S. – White guys love throwing deuces.)

(4)  I didn’t gain 50 pounds after I started working.  25 pounds?  Yes.  50?  Nope.

(5)  Once a month, we have a fajita buffet at work.  Once a month, I eat three plates of fajitas.  Once a month, I have an “interesting” bike ride home.

(6)  I work with awesome people.  Lindsay Lohan in “Mean Girls” and pre-Federline Britney kind of awesome.

(7)  Whenever I need a laugh, I can look at my cheesy work website pictures.  Don’t let the movies fool you, no lawyer is cool enough for “action” shots.

work profile picture

(7)  My bike commute is pretty sick.

commute

8.  Although I don’t earn enough to qualify as a “baller,” we’ve paid off student loans, haven’t missed any bill payments, and can buy two car seats, two high chairs, and one giant stroller.  That’s a blessing I should never take for granted.

9.  My job is challenging.  Sometimes that means I’m up until 2:00am doing work, but I’m never usually not bored.

10.  This was a work outfit.

plaid

Rather than getting fired, our Managing Partner said I needed to charge people money to take pictures with me and donate the proceeds to charity.

Thank you, job (and thank you, Bonobos, for making those pants).