Saturday, November 13, 2004

world's longest fly-back

They say California
Is a recipe for a black hole
And I say
I got my best shoes on
I'm ready to go

Rilo Kiley, Pictures of Success

This time next week, I'll be living the high life in everyone's favorite blue state, California. I can already feel myself getting smarter by association.

Have you ever made plans far in advance, and then as the occasion drew nearer, began to question the reasonableness of going through with them? Like skydiving. Everyone talks about how much they want to go skydiving. But I imagine that when you were actually in the process of strapping yourself to the complete stranger who's about to throw you out of a plane, the second thoughts would start to creep in.

I feel that this is a universal occurrence. At least with me.

The primary reason I'm journeying to the Golden State is to attend a conference organized by my pastor-boss from the summer, the perpetually venerable Thad. It's a conference for quote-unquote "Christian Businessmen", and he suggested I should fly out there for it because ostensibly I will soon be the archetypal Christian businessman. Sounds exciting doesn't it?

When I was growing up, it was always a choice between brain surgeon, race car driver, or Christian businessman. But I sarcastically digress...

Anyway, he suggested this in July, and the conference was (and presumably still is) in November. July to November? That's so far apart! I've had mortgages that ran shorter than that. Because I've had like, a whole lot of mortgages. The point being: in July, jetting away to So-Cal for five days with less than a month before finals didn't seem like such a left-field idea.

Now it's November, and jetting away to So-Cal for five days with less than a month before finals seems like such a left-field idea. One that is teetering on the precipice of being a full-on "bad idea". After all, isn't it a bad idea to leave town for so long so close to law school finals?

It is. At least according to the Law School Culture of Fear.

You're not familiar with the LSCOF? If you've ever spent any time in a law school, you've experienced it. It lingers in the halls and classrooms like a stench. Like a rodent that dies behind the walls, there's no way to remove it, you can only hope that it decomposes sometime before you move.

The LSCOF teaches us four things:
1) You must study all the time, or you won't
2) Make higher grades than the people around you, and you won't
3) Get the big firm job or the judicial clerkship, and you won't
4) Be happy. Because God forbid you have to be a 25-year old law school graduate making less than sixty thousand dollars a year.

You first smell it during first-year orientation. It follows you into every final you take, every paper you lose sleep over, and becomes especially nauseating during on-campus interview season.

Of course the only way to counteract the LSCOF is to trust God. But of course, how does God know what's best for me? And he's so unreliable. What has he done for me lately? I'll handle law school and my career on my own, thank you very much.

And not to mention, if I don't freak out over every last citation, statute, or model rule, then people might think I am a "slacker". And I can't stand for people to think things about me. Shudder.

But I digress again. Basically, I've tried my hardest to spend the past 2.5 years raising a big middle finger to the LSCOF, and I project that I have done so with a modest success rate of 71%. And I'm hoping to make up a few percentage points by taking a vacation 3 weeks before finals. As a practical matter, what could be a better time to take a vacation? Well, obviously, after finals would be better, but 3 weeks prior comes in at a respectable second.

Even though this conference should be a wonderful experience, Center Stage of this trip belongs to Friday afternoon. My boss from the summer, and hopefully the future, has offered to take me to lunch. This is very auspicious. At this point, I am a modest 71% sure that he will allow me to resume my employment post graduation and post California Bar Exam. And the fact that he wants to go to lunch at the very least indicates that I have no reason at present to lower that percentile.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed for P.F. Chang's. Maybe I'll get to see Arnold again. Get to the choppa, Arnold. Do it naaahw.