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Monday, April 03, 2006

People are Strange

Why is it that there are just some people that we'd like to see fail? Or, conversely, whose success and happiness we resent? A guy I went to high school with was appointed a judge last week. I was flabbergasted. I immediately sent a note to a lawyer-friend, typing, as fast and as hard as my short little fingers would go, "WTF? How the hell did that happen?" (Okay, I didn't say WTF, as my lawyer-friend is quite conservative and would have found the f-word highly offensive. And I didn't say hell either. But I was quite agitated.) The reporter covering the story could only find 2 or 3 attorneys willing to go on record, and then saying fluffy things like, "He's a great guy, and he totally deserves this and I can't wait to plead a case before him." Oh, please. My lawyer-friend said, for the record, "Well, he has parlayed his basic gifts into a success that is beyond the sum of its parts." Isn't that great? Perhaps not a good career move, but it made me laugh out loud.

So, how'd he get to be a judge? Politics, influence, money, hard work? What does it matter? Why does it matter? I don't even live there any more, and I really have no reason to resent the guy. He was in my brother's class, so I knew him slightly. His family came from money and what passed for influence in our little town, and maybe he was arrogant about it. He was kind of a wiener, but he never did anything to me, and so I have no reason to sneer when I think of him as a judge. And yet, I do. I'm sneering now.

Maybe it's because he was Bobby* all through high school. Once he finished law school and returned to the area to practice law, he insisted that everyone call him Robert. "I'm Robert now," he would say, loftily. (Or snottily. Or perfectly-within-his-rights-ly. Take your pick.) But then, when he decided to run for Commonwealth's Attorney, suddenly he was Bobby again. Or rather, Bobby! Everywhere I looked were billboards, yard signs, bumper stickers and buttons that said, "Bobby!" Someone came to my door to campaign for him. "I'd like to tell you about Bobby!" he said. I said, "Oh, I know Bobby!, all right." He's a Republican, so I wouldn't have voted for him whatever name he called himself, but it just made me crazy that he went back to a nickname he'd repudiated just to make him seem for like one of the common people. Or maybe it pissed me off that it worked. At any rate, he's been Bobby! ever since, and now he's Judge Bobby! Pftt.

By the way, I'm quite aware that his success takes nothing from me, that he has the right to call himself whatever he wants and that sneering reflects more poorly on me than on the object of my disdain (not to mention the risk of having my face freeze like this.) Still. I sneer. (Or, as we sometimes say in the south, I snerl up my nose.)

*not his real name


Blogger Christine said...

I sneer brothers used to call it my Elvis look.

Uh huh

Thank ya...thank ya very much...

Mon Apr 03, 08:13:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Hannah B. said...

I can only sneer on the right side, though. The left side of my mouth won't curl up at all. How 'bout you?

Mon Apr 03, 10:25:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Christine said...

Ya me too! But I have a scar on the left side - I got bit when I was a lil'un...teasin' a dog when I shouldn't ought to have been doin' so...learned my lesson. I sure have a healthy respect for them now!

Mon Apr 03, 11:03:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree, people are strange... especially people we don't know, hence the term.
In your list of "39 Things" you included, "Get more people to read my blog." Now I'm reading it, so one more person and you'll have "people" and you can consider that goal accomplished.
Drinks are on me when you do.

Tue Apr 04, 04:15:00 PM EDT  

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