Re: Reflection

1

When part of your identity is tied to being considered precocious

Yup. I was the youngest in every class, and I got awfully used to the praise of being so ____ for one so young. O Becks, one cannot dine out on precocity forever.

Or maybe you can: what do they say in the nursing home, that you're awfully forgetful for one so young?


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 7:34 AM
horizontal rule
2

All of those "your special"s through my youth and young adulthood were really "your special, when graded on a curve".

Don't worry about those people, Becks. They can't even spell "you're."


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 7:41 AM
horizontal rule
3

Seriously. You're a terrible grammarian, for your age.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 7:42 AM
horizontal rule
4

I was never precocious. Instead I got the "you're so smart, you just need to apply yourself." Eventually I did apply myself, and now I'm approaching a big round birthday and thinking "This was my unrealized potential?" Turns out it was actually quite ordinary.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 7:43 AM
horizontal rule
5

Heh. Yeah, this one was weird -- I lost being 'precocious' in law school, where I was in the group of older students rather than the reverse, and I still have a bit of an empty spot in my self-assessment where it was.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 7:44 AM
horizontal rule
6

I still have a lot of hair for my age.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 7:46 AM
horizontal rule
7

I'm the most precocious thirtysomething undergrad you'll ever meet.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 7:46 AM
horizontal rule
8

Becks, you're so wistful for youth for your age.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 7:52 AM
horizontal rule
9

My hair is precociously gray. Nay, it is precociously near-white.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 7:52 AM
horizontal rule
10

Ha, another shared unfoggedspierence. I had this as well, kind of, especially once I came to the U.S. for school --- I was pretty young as a graduate student even by the standards of home, but way young by American standards. And when I started as a faculty member much the same thing happened. But it's no good getting invested in being the youngest x, for reasons already noted above.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 7:56 AM
horizontal rule
11

young by American standards

You really notice this on lawyers -- what with law being an undergrad degree in the UK, I've run into a couple lawyers in their very early 20s over here on internships or something. Perfectly competent, but it looks funny.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 7:58 AM
horizontal rule
12

You just need to hang out at retirement communities more often, you'll get lots of compliments. That might offset the depression caused by being around old people.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 7:58 AM
horizontal rule
13

Think of it this way, Becks: soon you'll be "fun for your age" and "hip for your age."


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 8:02 AM
horizontal rule
14

That's how all you youngsters think of me, right?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 8:03 AM
horizontal rule
15

The flip side is of course Lehrer's classic remark, "It's sobering to reflect that by the time Mozart was my age, he'd already been dead for two years."


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 8:03 AM
horizontal rule
16

I know I've gotten older when the words I hope to hear garen't "you look so mature for your age" or "you are so smart for your age" but "you've got great cholesterol levels for your age" or "your 401(K) is doing great for your age".


Posted by: KJ | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 8:09 AM
horizontal rule
17

I sitll get those "precicious" comment regularly, and I'm considerably older than Becks:
"Your blood pressure is really high for someone your age!"


Posted by: unimaginative | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 8:14 AM
horizontal rule
18

It is profoundly humbling to watch yourself slip over time from the tail end of the distribution to the bulging middle. My solution is to admit to and embrace contextual mediocrity.


Posted by: Amber | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 8:15 AM
horizontal rule
19

pwned.


Posted by: unimaginative | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 8:15 AM
horizontal rule
20

To the end of her life my mother thought of me as promising. I know a lot of her friends and they still think I'm promising. Lake Wobegon isn't a retirement community, but there's a valley in the the demographic chart where the 18-45 cohort is.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 8:17 AM
horizontal rule
21

I still have a lot of hair for my age.

But are you getting hair in new places?


Posted by: terpbball | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 8:18 AM
horizontal rule
22

"you've got great cholesterol levels for your age" or "your 401(K) is doing great for your age".

KJ speaks the truth. Life's little joys.

Is Becks turning 30? In November, I turn 40 so I am getting lots of grief from people.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 8:21 AM
horizontal rule
23

I've certainly had this experience, but recently discovered that a big new job can make you seem young to everyone all over again.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 8:22 AM
horizontal rule
24

But are you getting hair in new places?

I've pretty much run out of new places to get hair, but it does take quite a bit longer than it once did to remove them.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 8:23 AM
horizontal rule
25

Word, Becks. Wordy wordy word.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 8:24 AM
horizontal rule
26

I don't think the young people talk that way anymore, Cala.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 8:28 AM
horizontal rule
27

This was my unrealized potential?" Turns out it was actually quite ordinary.

Don't give in to this, I say. Even if one hasn't managed to produce an obviously influential piece of work, being a decent and moderately perceptive human being is unfortunately not ordinary. If one has the good fortune to be surrounded by similar people, it's easy to lose track of this. It's the idea of potential and influence, the idea of a life trajectory that is suspect.

I used to take the Mozart/Abel idea more seriously, until I realized that the bona-fide geniuses I knew weren't doing that well in the influence lottery, and that the older influential people I knew, while being very capable and often decent, were in the right place at the right time rather than being truly exceptional in many cases. All a long way of saying that virtue is its own reward, I guess. Plus, Levy did his best work in his 50s, as did Wallace Stevens.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 8:31 AM
horizontal rule
28

Everything new is old again, Becks. When you're 80, you'll be back on the curve. "Wow, you sure are x \in {lucid, mobile, non-cranky} for your age!"


Posted by: arthegall | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 8:33 AM
horizontal rule
29

Academia makes this problem really weird, because everyone "important" is 50-70 years old, so I feel like I have a long way to go, which is technically true. But then I look everywhere else in the world and see that other people are already making their mark, or already have, by my age, and they're doing things far more exciting than any of those older academics. It's not like I'm having a quarterlife crisis, but more like envy about people my age who are getting more living done than I have. I've been so busy getting educated that I've never traveled, or made any money, or published anything that I care about. I keep saying I'll do all that when I've fully ripened.

But fuck it! I'm 28! I'm ripe!


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 8:35 AM
horizontal rule
30

26: I am old and washed-up and not down with the gente/kids these days.

I got into a bizarre discussion a year or so ago with some colleagues about the ages at which early modern philosophers had published their great work. We concluded that Hume made us feel dumb but Locke gave us hope.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 8:36 AM
horizontal rule
31

I think this post is just Becks' subtle way of expressing her irritation at McMegan's "guys who haven't made a million by the time they're thirty aren't worth my time" hypothesis.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 8:38 AM
horizontal rule
32

Yeah, but even Hume got better as he aged. At least, his prose did. The Treatise was kind of a failure as a publication, no?


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 8:38 AM
horizontal rule
33

It's the idea of ... of a life trajectory that is suspect.

Absolutely. It's particularly difficult to hang on to this notion in our society. (In other words, thanks. It's good to hear this.)


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 8:38 AM
horizontal rule
34

Hume, peace be upon him, is so annoying when he tries to make his writing more accessible. The treatise fell still-born from the press, sure, but it's got the big ideas in it. I think the most hopeful case is Kant, who spend many decades writing nothing that exciting and then had one hell of a decade (plus more) toward the end of his life. Davidson was also like this, right?


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 8:42 AM
horizontal rule
35

I was lucky enough to have peers that succeeded beyond their wildest dreams (multi-millionaires, general managers of baseball teams, New Yorker feature writers, directors of hot TV properties, to name a few) relatively early in life, allowing me to regard my moderately successful peers as basically muddling around similarly to myself.

Boy was my ten year high school reunion weird, though. "Oh, you're going for your second PhD as well, are you? And an MD! Isn't that interesting. I'm in community college at the moment, although I swear, I did have a real job at one point."


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 8:43 AM
horizontal rule
36

31- And it gets easier every year with inflation. In a few years millionaires won't be worth her time either, it will be a $2M entry fee.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 8:43 AM
horizontal rule
37

OMG, my grammar! This is what I get for putting up a pre-coffee post.


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 8:46 AM
horizontal rule
38

A decent and moderately perceptive human being

Now you're just trying to flatter Helpy-chalk.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 8:48 AM
horizontal rule
39

You're so young to be that addicted to caffeine.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 8:48 AM
horizontal rule
40

Yeah, I am scared about this phase now being over. In my college, a lot of students were a little bit older (big state school, lots of commuters), and my law school tries very hard to get people with work experience, so even most of the first years were older than me when I was a third year. I'd get lots of "you're only 24?!" Now that I've graduated, I feel kind of giddy about being a 25-year-old lawyer, but I realize that soon I'll just be another lawyer. Sad.

The other problem with growing up is that you have to do things really well to stand out, not just do them. Back when I was 12, writing music and recording my own songs on my boom box made me pretty awesome, 'cause hey, I was 12. But now, well, I could do that, and it'd just make me pathetic unless my music was way rad. It makes it hard to get the motivation to do thing at an amateur level of skill, like playing music, or painting, or taking photographs, when there are a zillion other people your age doing them awesomely.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 8:51 AM
horizontal rule
41

just reinforces my strongly held belief that compliments are very evil.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 8:53 AM
horizontal rule
42

I actually spend a fair amount of time worrying about how not to set up my kids for this one -- it plays into that 'praising kids for being smart is demotivating' thing that people were talking about a while back. But I have no good ideas, other than locking them in dark closets and beating them regularly.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 8:55 AM
horizontal rule
43

The other problem with growing up is that you have to do things really well to stand out, not just do them.

This is making my writing students insane right now. I spent all Monday giving them extremely specific instructions for how to write a professional analysis, and they sat there spluttering, "But I write the way I was taught in high school!" I said, "But I don't want you to write like a high schooler. I want you to write like a professional. You're not 15 and going up for AP tests anymore. You're writing for an audience of your intellectual peers, so step it up."

They all sat there having a tiny version of Becks's crisis for a good hour and a half.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 8:56 AM
horizontal rule
44

It makes it hard to get the motivation to do thing at an amateur level of skill, like playing music, or painting, or taking photographs, when there are a zillion other people your age doing them awesomely.

Easy: do them because you enjoy them, and hell with what anybody else thinks. You'll realize you're better at them than you thought soon enough, which is quite a bit more awesome than being better at them than other people expect. Competency at competency: a hidden benefit of age.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 8:56 AM
horizontal rule
45

Hell, these days I tell myself I am pretty young to have failed so very comprehensively.


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 9:04 AM
horizontal rule
46

My college roommate was 16 freshman year and he was taking junior level classes. He's now a math professor, started at 26. My PhD advisor is only 4 years older than me (also started at 26.) Most professional athletes are now younger than you and I. A-Rod would only have been a couple grades ahead of me in school.
In other words, sometimes the problem is comparing yourself to the best people around (Mozart, the Facebook or Google guys). Compare yourself to the median, you'll feel much better. Unless you're below that, then the rest of us can feel better at your expense.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 9:04 AM
horizontal rule
47

45: say, that's a good one!

I'm awfully young to have abandoned my first career!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 9:05 AM
horizontal rule
48

Most professional athletes are now younger than you and I.

It was a sobering moment when I realized I'm a year older than Brett Favre.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 9:10 AM
horizontal rule
49

Most anyone who is quite successful is also immensely lacking in most other areas. I doubt the google guys are good cooks or able to write poetry.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 9:10 AM
horizontal rule
50

My, aren't you childless for your age!


Posted by: neil | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 9:11 AM
horizontal rule
51

The praise strategy that made sense to me is to praise for effort, especially when the effort doesn't come easily.

A big problem IMO is that as a parent you're obliged to nag (clean up after yourself, don't cover that with stickers) so much that anything else like an admonition is devalued, just being more pointless instruction. This leads to instruction by example, but I don't especially want my kid to internalize the bourgie virtues necessary to keep a stable household in a tolerable neighborhood. His mom won't let me take him on the Budapest-Bamako road rally, claiming that 6 is too young.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 9:12 AM
horizontal rule
52

49: that has not been my experience particularly, but sure, for the sake of our dented egos, let's say so.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 9:14 AM
horizontal rule
53

don't cover that with stickers

So much for a future career managing street teams.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 9:15 AM
horizontal rule
54

Becks, it's time to move into "Aren't you jaded for your age!".


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 9:21 AM
horizontal rule
55

god, tweety, would you take away from an old man his last distinction? Aren't you a bit old for that kind of fun?


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 9:22 AM
horizontal rule
56

Huh. My family has been assuring me that I am "too old" for almost everything since I was in my early teens--ZOMG! you won't be done with your education until you're 26! ZOMG! you should have started working part-time at 14! How can you care about clothes at your advanced age of 21? Why don't you like proper grown-up music, which is of course classical?

I recall vividly that my father once criticized a fairly innocuous pony-tailed hairstyle on the grounds that it made me look "like a high school student"...of course, I was in my senior year of high school at the time.

Only to my parents do I live an exciting, high-risk life.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 9:27 AM
horizontal rule
57

Recently, I've been telling my parents something like, "You know, since I'm going to have work into my 80s to pay for your generation's fiscal incompetence, I might as well fuck-off in my 20s."

They are not amused.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 9:29 AM
horizontal rule
58

You kids!


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 9:29 AM
horizontal rule
59

You're awfully young to have only one distinction left, Nworb!

Well, I suppose you have two, now. That's hardly a rare thing, is it? I mean, who doesn't have two or more distinctions.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 9:29 AM
horizontal rule
60

(Not to start another generation fight.)


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 9:29 AM
horizontal rule
61

Please praise your kids for more than being smart. Because what this translates into is being praised for bringing home gold stars for the refrigerator, and it's a rough transition when there aren't any more gold stars but that was how you understood parental affection. (It's even more fun if you never quite achieved gold stars, and your silver stars looked tarnished compared to your sister's.)


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 9:30 AM
horizontal rule
62

There's gotta be another gold star around here someplace.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 9:31 AM
horizontal rule
63

I'm all out of stars! Bowser took them!


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 9:32 AM
horizontal rule
64

I've heard there's this one way to get one, but it's gonna hurt a hell of a lot.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 9:33 AM
horizontal rule
65

With luck, you realize at some point that most of us are just not going to be superstars. Most of us on this list are probably very good at some things, and a lot of us have probably also decided not to put in the time and effort it would take to be considerably better at them. There are just too many other things to do.

It's hard to say this without sounding incredibly cheesey, but friends, family, and giving a damn about the rest of the world really do turn out to be incredibly satisfying.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 9:37 AM
horizontal rule
66

I also had my 15 minutes pretty early. That's very freeing.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 9:40 AM
horizontal rule
67

40- Insightful passage. But I think it's similar when you're older. I took up Chinese here in my forties and in various Chinese language groups, I'm often decidedly older. Since those in their 20s are naturally inclined to mix with each other, I feel the need to be at a level of competency to be able to fit in. Or at least I use that for motivation.


Posted by: terpbball | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 9:44 AM
horizontal rule
68

My PhD advisor is only 4 years older than me

Yeah this is the position I sometimes find myself in these days. But it won't last long.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 9:45 AM
horizontal rule
69

65: You're so cheesy for your age!


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 9:45 AM
horizontal rule
70

Cheesey too!


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 9:46 AM
horizontal rule
71

Hm, for me all this stuff halted right after college - it is indeed an adjustment to make. But my workplace is all people my age, so I suppose other people could keep getting it all through their twenties.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 9:53 AM
horizontal rule
72

At least I'll always be five months younger than Becks.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 9:57 AM
horizontal rule
73

44, 61, 65- Yeah, what's with all this happy talk. Feels weird here.


Posted by: terpbball | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 9:58 AM
horizontal rule
74

She's talking about turning 40, right?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 9:58 AM
horizontal rule
75

eventually you get to where every compliment is prefixed by 'still'. i'm still pretty sharp; i can still write okay; i can still teach a class.

the exception here is the adjective "spry", which needs no adverb in order to convey the crushing implication that you're older than dirt.

but it's true; i'm still pretty spry.
for my age.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 9:58 AM
horizontal rule
76

It's hard to say this without sounding incredibly cheesey, but friends, family, and giving a damn about the rest of the world really do turn out to be incredibly satisfying.

I was trying to figure out how to say this without sounding cheesey, but it's absolutely right. At some point over the last couple of years I decided that I was never going to be able use my accomplishments as a primary source of pride/identity and that I had to try to be someone I could respect.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 9:59 AM
horizontal rule
77

What Sir Kraab has to say in 65 is what I've been coming to realize and accept. It's just a real adjustment when your whole life you've been pushed to excel and succeed. But friends and family and enjoying life are far more important.


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 10:00 AM
horizontal rule
78

44, 61, 65- Yeah, what's with all this happy talk.

I didn't take 61 as happy talk.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 10:00 AM
horizontal rule
79

74: wait, what? You're awfully young to be that age, heebie.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 10:01 AM
horizontal rule
80

pride/identity

Pridentity!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 10:02 AM
horizontal rule
81

I've managed to continue cultivating the "whoa, you're young" reaction for a few more years by taking an MBA, where everyone is 5-10 years older. Unfortunately, if I do go for a PhD, I'll be smack into the "old" crowd due to having worked and gone to school for 4 years before starting, which seems pretty unusual for finance or econ.

I think what my parents always used to say that really helped is that there are a lot of people who are extremely talented in any field you choose. Many will be better than you, no matter how good you are, and at times you'll despair because it seems like you can never compete. But thankfully no one is really competing for a top spot, since there is no such thing. There are dozens, hundreds, thousands of positions around the world looking for people who are talented in any area, so there will always be a nice place to work for.

'Course, true as that is, it's really cheesey as well.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 10:02 AM
horizontal rule
82

74: wait, what? You're awfully young to be that age, heebie.

I was just kidding. 72 is true, though.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 10:02 AM
horizontal rule
83

Pridentity!

Sounds depressingly like a financial services company.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 10:03 AM
horizontal rule
84

you can use your own accomplihsments as source of pride if you think one's own taste is far superiour to anyone else's, and have a bit of arrogance too.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 10:03 AM
horizontal rule
85

65 and 84 are both paths to self-actualization, with varying likelihood of success.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 10:04 AM
horizontal rule
86

I also had my 15 minutes pretty early.

Same here. Except I experience it as burdensome rather than freeing. Living up to my potential and all.

Maybe I'm imagining it, but people who knew me back then, when I was so young and so full of potential, seem vaguely disappointed with what has become of me: "Oh, you're doing X. That's...nice."

If I *am* imagining it: I guess that's what they call a mid-life crisis, though I am still young for that.

(Also, it should be noted, at least 9/10ths of the population would probably envy my overall situation, so I ain't complainin').


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 10:08 AM
horizontal rule
87

I've managed to continue cultivating the "whoa, you're young" reaction for a few more years by taking an MBA, where everyone is 5-10 years older. Unfortunately, if I do go for a PhD, I'll be smack into the "old" crowd due to having worked and gone to school for 4 years before starting, which seems pretty unusual for finance or econ.

By switching the order of "college" and "career" I've managed to be both younger and older than everyone around me. What fun! I think I'll take up shuffleboard for the next couple decades and then transition into skateboarding.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 10:08 AM
horizontal rule
88

I would participate in this thread, but I'm deathly afraid of killing it with negativity.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 10:10 AM
horizontal rule
89

Hey, this is Unfogged, people! Get whining. I'll start.

The problem is that so much white-collar work today is so damn abstract. If I was a really good auto mechanic or something, I could build a custom car and know I had done something cool when I saw people driving it around. If I was a surgeon, I could fix somebody's leg. But with all this paper-shuffling, there's nothing to make you feel you've done something except recognition.

I think my job is unusually abstract, though.


Posted by: marcus | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 10:11 AM
horizontal rule
90

Taking an MBA, where everyone is 5-10 years older.

Isn't the median age of beginning MBA students like, 28? If you're 5-10 years younger, then I misjudged your age by a fair margin.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 10:11 AM
horizontal rule
91

88: two negatives make a positive, PDF. Dive in.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 10:12 AM
horizontal rule
92

89: that was part of what bugged me about the startups I worked for; it was all about facilitating communication between one business that didn't help anybody in any particularly direct way and another business that didn't help anybody in any particularly direct way. Enabling the middlemen of middlemen to meet in the middle brings middling rewards, self worth-wise.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 10:13 AM
horizontal rule
93

90: PMP is approximately my age.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 10:14 AM
horizontal rule
94

and then transition into skateboarding.

So you can get both "You're awfully young to have broken a hip" and "You're awfully stupid to have been half-piping, you relic".


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 10:14 AM
horizontal rule
95

when you get the precocity compliments, they assure you of a kind of specialness. you're really something.

is that specialness experienced primarily as an end in itself, or as a symbol of things to come?

i think it's hard to hear "you're really smart for your age" without thinking "man, i must be on the fast-track to fame and fortune. i'm off to great places. i'm the object of a special providence: fate has reserved a special place for me!"

so what if none of that ever happened, but you kept on getting the "you're really x for your age," forever? would that be enough?

felt happiness is so often a reflection of our first-derivative welfare rather than our current stock of welfare.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 10:14 AM
horizontal rule
96

91: Speak English, heebie. Quit with all that math mumbo-jumbo.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 10:15 AM
horizontal rule
97

90: PMP is approximately my age.

It's true. That's why I'm still at an age where I find the Economist to be an interesting and informative newspaper.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 10:15 AM
horizontal rule
98

The problem is that so much white-collar work today is so damn abstract. If I was a really good auto mechanic or something, I could build a custom car and know I had done something cool when I saw people driving it around.

This is the comic conceit of an early scene in City Slickers, where the character played by Billy Crystal is plunged into a midlife crisis by his inability to explain to his son's Kindergarten class what he does for a living.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 10:16 AM
horizontal rule
99

felt happiness is so often a reflection of our first-derivative welfare rather than our current stock of welfare.

With having good relationships with family and friends being one big exception to that rule. (Really, there are studies.)


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 10:16 AM
horizontal rule
100

The longer you live, the sooner you'll die. I have to wonder, sometimes, about the relationship between our increased longevity, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, our increased emphasis on a culture of youth. We can now expect to live longer than any previous generation could ever have expected to live, and yet we begin to worry about growing old at an earlier and earlier age. To the point where we can't even enjoy that lengthy middle period between youth and old age that is otherwise known as adulthood.

Something to do with our experience of time, I suspect. We no longer understand ourselves as belonging to, or embedded within the rhythms of, time. Instead, it's something out there outside of us, to be mastered and conquered. We don't so much live within it as against it, maybe. It races by us, and we race to catch up to it, and it's a race we'll never win.



Posted by: Invisible Adjunct | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 10:16 AM
horizontal rule
101

That's why I'm still at an age where I find the Economist to be an interesting and informative newspaper.

In a couple years, he'll realize it's a magazine.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 10:17 AM
horizontal rule
102

95: I think that's dead on, which is why people are talking about finding happiness and self-worth in family and so forth rather than in outstanding accomplishment. I still feel vaguely guilty about not having saved the world by now, which was the clear expectation I got from my family.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 10:17 AM
horizontal rule
103

I'm managing the transition from 'has such promise' to 'had such promise' fairly well overall, but the age issue seems especially pronounced in school. When I went back to Reed to audit a class (Chinese, incidentally, terp), one of my professors was probably around 30. The nagging thought: 'All evidence suggests that you are younger than I am, yet this cannot be, since my being younger than you is inherent in our relationship.'


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 10:18 AM
horizontal rule
104

felt happiness is so often a reflection of our first-derivative welfare rather than our current stock of welfare

I prefer to focus on my second-derivative welfare. Easier to affect in the moment.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 10:18 AM
horizontal rule
105

44, 61, 65- Yeah, what's with all this happy talk.

I didn't take 61 as happy talk.

That's more like it.


Posted by: terpbball | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 10:19 AM
horizontal rule
106

92: yeah. The test is whether you can communicate what your job is within fifteen seconds at a cocktail party. If you can't, there's an abstraction problem. I've had jobs where it takes five or ten minute speech to try to tell people what I do, at the end of which I realize that I don't really know myself.


Posted by: marcus | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 10:19 AM
horizontal rule
107

103: tell. Me. About. It.

Despite the evidence of, you know, everybody here, it is impossible for me to ever believe that the professors in my classes are younger than me.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 10:20 AM
horizontal rule
108

I guess I'm lucky. I can describe my job with four words. I guess three words is about the minimum, but maybe a few professions allow two. Or if you speak Spanish.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 10:21 AM
horizontal rule
109

I haven't been called 'smart for my age' since I was about 12. I hated it, even then. My thought being, 'Smart for my age? I'm fucking smarter than you, you patronising fuck'.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 10:22 AM
horizontal rule
110

I sort of already failed, now I live my life post-failure.


Posted by: marcus | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 10:22 AM
horizontal rule
111

The test is whether you can communicate what your job is within fifteen seconds at a cocktail party.

I always liked "They give me problems, I apply math liberally, then voila! A solution that looks really good and might even work! Then, if I'm really lucky, ten months later they'll get a programmer to implement it."

If you try and dig through the layers of abstraction to the point where your work actually creates something productive or, god forbid, concrete, that's when the depression kicks in.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 10:22 AM
horizontal rule
112

It's true. That's why I'm still at an age where I find the Economist to be an interesting and informative newspaper.

Well then, you sure do make a mature impression for...errrr...someone so young.

As far as the Economist goes: when boys and girls get older, their bodies start undergo changes, and they may experience feelings they have never felt before, and this can be confusing. One of these feelings is the realization that the Economist can be tendentious and downright mendacious sometimes.

Also, get the hell offa my lawn.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 10:23 AM
horizontal rule
113

And about professional athletes, as SP noted, I'm not sure which realization was more disturbing: that the dinosaur Roger Clemens is among the few players older than me, or that Clay Buchholz could be my kid.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 10:26 AM
horizontal rule
114

re: job descriptions;

[day job]

'I do technical stuff that helps a group of photographers turn manuscripts into digital files'

[academic research]

'I'm working on providing a philosophical analysis of the distinction between health and disease'

I'm fairly suspicious of academic research [outside some of the sciences] that can't be described in a couple of sentences or jobs that can't be described in the same way.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 10:27 AM
horizontal rule
115

felt happiness is so often a reflection of our first-derivative welfare

Yes. Our minds tend to detect differences and ignore stasis. You don't know what you've got until its gone, and freedom's another word for nothing left to lose.

Time keeps on slippin, slippin, into the future, and here we are stuck in an amnesiac culture getting demographically older, thus faced with the unrelenting accumulation of personal memory, one more jarring contrast. Best to block the whole business out with television, shopping, and indoor fitness devices. I should post the mp3, but Porter Wagoner's "A Satisfied Mind" is apropos.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 10:27 AM
horizontal rule
116

I had the angst and redemption realization of 65 when I was 19. Does that make me precocious or just fuckin' lazy?


Posted by: dob | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 10:28 AM
horizontal rule
117

I can describe my job with four words

"I make license plates."


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 10:28 AM
horizontal rule
118

I'm fairly suspicious of academic research [outside some of the sciences] that can't be described in a couple of sentences

Can you give me an example in a couple of sentences?


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 10:29 AM
horizontal rule
119

"Gay for pay porn"


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 10:29 AM
horizontal rule
120

"Contract killer" is only two words!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 10:30 AM
horizontal rule
121

Hey, are there any fight fans who live in DC here? Anybody interested in seeing "Great Fights of the 20th Century" at the library of Congress on Friday? Two fights each from Joe Louis, Rocky Marciano, Muhammad Ali, plus Frazier/Foreman and Dempsey/Tunney.


Posted by: marcus | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 10:32 AM
horizontal rule
122

re: 120

yeah, but technically something like:

'Marketing synergies facilitator'

is only three.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 10:32 AM
horizontal rule
123

James McMurtry's song, Where's Johnny, is about some of this stuff.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 10:33 AM
horizontal rule
124

I think I'm going to go with my downstairs neighbors.


Posted by: marcus | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 10:33 AM
horizontal rule
125

However, El DeBarge's song, Who's Johnny, is about none of this stuff.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 10:34 AM
horizontal rule
126

125: well, how would you describe Johnny Five's job?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 10:35 AM
horizontal rule
127

The song issue has already been settled with Porter Wagoner's "A Satisfied Mind". Please, people, move on.


Posted by: marcus | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 10:36 AM
horizontal rule
128

Miranda Lambert:

Are you the man you thought you'd be by the time that you turned 33
Are you still a bullet in your daddy's gun
Don't forget boy you're your mama's only son
She's at home and she's been praying for you
Hey what about Georgia


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 10:38 AM
horizontal rule
129

Are you still a bullet in your daddy's gun

Ew.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 10:39 AM
horizontal rule
130

I thought that was vivid.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 10:40 AM
horizontal rule
131

The test is whether you can communicate what your job is within fifteen seconds at a cocktail party.

Mine can't be described quickly to people who don't know from the labor movement. I mean, "figure out ways to beat the shit out of companies" is technically accurate, but doesn't give any sense of what I do during the day.

So I just say I'm an accountant for the circus.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 10:40 AM
horizontal rule
132

This thread started with a deranged amount of comity. And it was all based on that forwarded email I got about how nobody remembers that basketball-playing astronaut but everyone remembers their aunt who made them fluffernutters. I agree in principle, but seeing it here, I ate my foot.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 10:40 AM
horizontal rule
133

Heebie always knows just what to say.

Hey, here's a song that has nothing to do with this thread, but everything to do with a previous thread about having sex with your clone:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KfDY8XIPuio

NSFW, unless loud, high-speed, explicit descriptions of clone sex are permitted in your workplace.


Posted by: marcus | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 10:41 AM
horizontal rule
134

Comfort, Becks: Kevin Federline is only a few short years away from this same realization. Although in some ways, I bet he's going to have an easier time of it, because I don't think he got a lot of gold stars growing up.

On preview: I can't youtube at work, but I assume 133 links to deleted scenes from The Prestige.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 10:42 AM
horizontal rule
135

how nobody remembers that basketball-playing astronaut

"It's not that he does it well, it's that he does it at all"
- Samuel Johnson on dribbling in zero-gravity


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 10:44 AM
horizontal rule
136

"The test is whether you can communicate what your job is within fifteen seconds at a cocktail party."

I can do this, but it kills the cocktail party....

In general, my accomplishments consist of being the sidekick to very impressive people, which I'm satisfied with at this stage. But I had more of a life in college, law school, & my dead end jobs in between than I do now--it's not sustainable.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 10:44 AM
horizontal rule
137

I can't hear El DeBarge's name any more without chuckling about The Editors' great scheme to replace the Statue of Liberty with a Statue of El DeBarge. Sadly, I can't find a link, because The Poor Man seems to be down.

What's up with that, Sifu?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 10:44 AM
horizontal rule
138

131: I used to have that job! If you say "corporate researcher", people think you either help people do leveraged buyouts or you figure out the unemployment rate. Then you tell them about the time you threw an alarm clock in a dumpster in order to go to the dump at the time of the alarm and find the right trash bag, and they sleep with you. Kinda.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 10:44 AM
horizontal rule
139

133 links to a brilliant young rap artist who wishes to share his fantasy of having sex with his clone. I've been spamming the last couple of threads with it.


Posted by: marcus | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 10:45 AM
horizontal rule
140

I assume 133 links to deleted scenes from The Prestige.

Fabulous idea. Prestige slash should exist somewhere, no? I'm at work, so I shan't Google it and bring it into existence, but it's got to be out there.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 10:48 AM
horizontal rule
141

Which union, Wrongshore? I'm at C/W/A. (Not sure why that needs to be google-proofed, since it also stands for "Christian World Adoption" and "Concerned Women of America.")


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 10:48 AM
horizontal rule
142

137: yes, The Poor Man is down. What, you expected me to know more than that? Like Katherine, I'm just the sidekick.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 10:49 AM
horizontal rule
143

Confederate Women of America?


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 10:49 AM
horizontal rule
144

Or were you one of those eco-terrorists?


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 10:49 AM
horizontal rule
145

133 really is awesome. The video sucks, but the lyrics are great.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 10:50 AM
horizontal rule
146

138: Then you tell them about the time you threw an alarm clock in a dumpster in order to go to the dump at the time of the alarm and find the right trash bag, and they sleep with you. Kinda.

When I was single? Totally; a couple of anecdotes like that and I would have been eating out of your hand.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 10:50 AM
horizontal rule
147

Email me, Kraab. I'm oversnickety on identity stuff.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 10:50 AM
horizontal rule
148

Then you tell them about the time you threw an alarm clock in a dumpster in order to go to the dump at the time of the alarm and find the right trash bag

Well, I think that's pretty clever. Maybe not sleep-with-you clever, but at least handjob clever.

You should explain this to the people you meet at cocktail parties.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 10:52 AM
horizontal rule
149

Then you tell them about the time you threw an alarm clock in a dumpster in order to go to the dump at the time of the alarm and find the right trash bag

I'm not sleeping with anyone until someone explains what this is about.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 10:54 AM
horizontal rule
150

I'm starting to think that 'John Emerson' is a sock puppet for Miranda Lambert.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 10:54 AM
horizontal rule
151

145: ah, gratification! What is this strange impulse to have others acknowledge your internet finds?

We should chip in and hire that guy to perform at UnfoggDCon. We're the right niche audience for him, he's like the thinking person's Weird Al.


Posted by: marcus | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 10:54 AM
horizontal rule
152

and yes, I realize "thinking person's Weird Al" is something of a contradiction in terms.


Posted by: marcus | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 10:54 AM
horizontal rule
153

149: so the security guard doesn't see you rooting through their garbage. Sure, it's allegedly public property, but boy can they get pissy.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 10:55 AM
horizontal rule
154

146: I should have had my divorce much earlier. I never actually pulled the alarm clock trick, but I would have lied for lizard love.

Most of research is actually poring over public documents, but every now and then you do a good lie/cheat/steal. I had to take pictures of a boss's house once. He lived in a gated community. To get in, I found a listing for a $6 million house in his neighborhood, had a poor real estate agent take me into the development, then around the neighborhood taking pictures. "Are you in computers?" she asked, since I was 25 and buying a lot of house. "You guessed," I said.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 10:55 AM
horizontal rule
155

Then you tell them about the time you threw an alarm clock in a dumpster

I once sent an intern to photograph all of the main distribution frames (telecoms switches) around a certain city. I realize that if she did that today, she'd probably land in Gitmo.

Not as clever as the dumpster thing, but I would have slept with her anyway, if she would have let me.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 10:56 AM
horizontal rule
156

I had a high school teacher who told me, in an encouraging sort of way, that no one from our high school had won the Nobel prize yet. I mean, thanks for the support, but talk about setting your students up for disappointment.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 10:56 AM
horizontal rule
157

re: 121

Dempsey's book 'Championship Fighting' is very interesting too, if you are at all interested in the changing mechanics/techniques/tactics of boxing over the past 100 years or so.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 10:56 AM
horizontal rule
158

149-153: Trash on the street waiting for pickup is public property. Trash in a dumpster on company property is private property.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 10:56 AM
horizontal rule
159

Not as clever as the dumpster thing, but I would have slept with her anyway, if she would have let me.

It doesn't work if they only did it because you told them to.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 10:57 AM
horizontal rule
160

So the idea is that if anyone asks, you abashedly say you accidentally threw out your alarm clock and that's why you need to be in the dumpster?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 10:57 AM
horizontal rule
161

Boy, if I'd known you could get a job dumpster diving and/or social engineering I'd have been all over it. Skulking around telecom switches was what we did for fun in high school.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 10:58 AM
horizontal rule
162

Dempsey's book 'Championship Fighting' is very interesting too

I would have expected Tunney to be the one writing books. Falling for the stereotype, I know.


Posted by: marcus | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 10:59 AM
horizontal rule
163

So the idea is that if anyone asks, you abashedly say you accidentally threw out your alarm clock and that's why you need to be in the dumpster?

No, the idea is that no one is going to ask, because you're not in a dumpster.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 10:59 AM
horizontal rule
164

160: The trash goes to the dump. The alarm clock is so you can find it at the dump. (I think this doesn't work so well in major metropolitan areas.) If people ask you what you're doing at the dump, you can say anything you want, because the people aren't the same people from the company you're researching.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 11:00 AM
horizontal rule
165

Apparently no one will be sleeping with Ogged since he still doesn't get it.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 11:00 AM
horizontal rule
166

No, the idea is that no one is going to ask, because you're not in a dumpster.

Ok, then I really don't understand. Can someone explain, from step one, including goals, motivations, etc.? Much obliged.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 11:00 AM
horizontal rule
167

160: no, no. The alarm clock doesn't go off until the trash has been taken to the dump, far from nosy security guards.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 11:00 AM
horizontal rule
168

The trash goes to the dump. The alarm clock is so you can find it at the dump.

Today, one presumably uses a GPS tracker with signal beacon for these purposes.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 11:02 AM
horizontal rule
169

Can someone explain, from step one, including goals, motivations, etc.?

Okay, so there are these things called "corporations" ...


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 11:02 AM
horizontal rule
170

I was just assuming that it was how you found the right bag to root through, in a dumpster full of wrong bags.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 11:02 AM
horizontal rule
171

My homey Mike Gibbons was a scientific boxer whose teaching method was very influential. His brother Tommy lost to Depsey in a tough fight.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 11:02 AM
horizontal rule
172

160: I think the idea is it's okay to look through at the dump, & this way you know which bag to search.

I've done research mainly of the "reading documents & running google searches" variety, but I still find it more fun than legal research or writing.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 11:02 AM
horizontal rule
173

You put the alarm clock in the bag you want to find? Uh, so why are you throwing it out?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 11:03 AM
horizontal rule
174

164: I remember one time my friends got busted going through the dumpster at a New England Telephone CO; the guard asked them what the hell they were doing, so, instead of answering "looking for outdials, yo!" they said "oh, we're looking for... wire."

So the guy helpfully went and got like 15 spools of spare wire-wrap from inside the building, and gave it to them. Thanks, buddy!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 11:03 AM
horizontal rule
175

Apparently no one will be sleeping with Ogged since he still doesn't get it.

Sometimes the laydeez fall for a certain type of charming cluelessness.



Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 11:03 AM
horizontal rule
176

Oy, there goes the handjob too.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 11:04 AM
horizontal rule
177

more fun than legal research or writing.

Is legal research particularly boring? Why? Forgive my naivete.


Posted by: marcus | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 11:04 AM
horizontal rule
178

You put the alarm clock in the bag you want to find? Uh, so why are you throwing it out?

You aren't. They are. You want to look through the bag, but you don't have time to do that with the security guard right there. You do have time to sneak by and drop an alarm clock in the bag, though.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 11:04 AM
horizontal rule
179

The Catholic church in my home town was built with money donated by Tommy Gibbons from the fight he lost to Tunney.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 11:04 AM
horizontal rule
180

Ogged wants to riffle through the trash of ACME Evil Corp. But if he goes dumpster diving at ACME, he will be caught by security guards.

He can get close enough to ACME's trash to throw an alarm clock, set for 11:00 am, into the dumpster. On trash day, he follows the dump truck away from ACME evil, and goes to the dump where ACME's trash is dumped. At 11:00, he is wandering the dump and hears the alarm go off. He finds ACME's trash, loads it into his pickup truck, and back at his rebel base, sifts through all the extra pork rinds from the Christmas Party and finds the Supersecret Evil Memo.

Years later, at a party, he tries to tell the story, and his efforts are so cutely incomprehensible that someone pity fucks him.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 11:05 AM
horizontal rule
181

141: Interesting. My father worked very closely with Joe B/e/i/r/n/e and the C/W/A for decades and decades.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 11:06 AM
horizontal rule
182

Ogged, they're leaving out some of the details, which is why it's confusing.

You get in the dumpster and throw out a smoke alarm. Then when you're at the dump, you light it on fire. Then you wait for the smoke alarm to go off, and then you know where you hid the fire extinguisher.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 11:07 AM
horizontal rule
183

173: okay, so ogged, say that there's some corporation that you would like to research. One way to do that is by reading through the documents they throw out. You could go to their dumpster, pull out a trash bag, and start rooting through it, but this attracts attention. So you set an alarm for (say) 10 hours from now. You throw the alarm clock into the same dumpster as the documents you're interested in. Trash guy comes, takes alarm clock and documents to the dump. 10 hours later, you wander around the dump listening for the alarm. When you find it, you know the documents you're looking for are nearby, and you can peruse them unmolested.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 11:07 AM
horizontal rule
184

170 multiply pwned.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 11:08 AM
horizontal rule
185

pwned by the man himself.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 11:08 AM
horizontal rule
186

Ok, I understand 180. Thanks, Wrongshore. Is it really possible to root around at the dump without anyone saying anything? Aren't some dumps humongous, such that even getting to the bags you want would be impractical?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 11:09 AM
horizontal rule
187

I did try dumpster diving a few times, but I did it in the old school trespassing way. I got some paperwork, a lot of food waste, and learned that the recycling dumpster, which would have had the good stuff, was kept padlocked.

183: That's close, but the whole point of this exercise is to get Ogged molested.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 11:09 AM
horizontal rule
188

o the idea is that if anyone asks, you abashedly say you accidentally threw out your alarm clock and that's why you need to be in the dumpster?

You're trolling aren't you? How many earnest, wide-eyed explanations with just a soupcon of cleverness can you collect? Will you next giggle and say "Aren't you smart"?


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 11:10 AM
horizontal rule
189

Is it really possible to root around at the dump without anyone saying anything?

Sure. Who would care?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 11:10 AM
horizontal rule
190

177: varies. The factual research for my main case is unusually interesting, though: much more fun to read the documents than to argue about whether they're admissible.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 11:12 AM
horizontal rule
191

Sure. Who would care?

I don't know, Teo, I've only been to one dump and that had a little guard station where they checked your ID before they let you in.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 11:12 AM
horizontal rule
192

Aren't some dumps humongous, such that even getting to the bags you want would be impractical?

Yes, hence the parenthetical in 164.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 11:13 AM
horizontal rule
193

Sure. Who would care?

I certainly would. What if I put the winning lottery ticket in my jeans with the red paint on the knee, then my mom threw them out, and by the time I get to the dumpster some mean looking members of the Denim Brigade are there, looking at my jeans? I'd have to lie and say I left my pet scorpion in the pocket to get them back.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 11:14 AM
horizontal rule
194

I don't think I've ever actually been to a real (legal) dump. But it's the sort of place where people just sort of show up to dump their trash, so even if they keep track of who goes in they probably don't care that much.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 11:15 AM
horizontal rule
195

Come to think of it, in the only small town dump I'm familiar with, the trashbags are thrown in a deep trench. Getting down in there would be tricky.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 11:15 AM
horizontal rule
196

187: I was in high school right before the padlocking era really got rolling. Much fun.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 11:15 AM
horizontal rule
197

186: This has been done successfully. But you have to know your dump. I wouldn't go traipsing onto the Islip barge.

A cheap cell phone would be smarter than an alarm clock, I suppose.

The cloak-and-dagger stuff is fun, but my favorite research stories are the perfectly legal ones where companies get broadsided where they least expect it. Back in the 90's, the hotel workers had a long-running boycott against Marriott over a hotel in SF. The Marriott family tried to pull a fast one by doing a stock split that would have left two classes of stock, one of which had all the voting rights and was conveniently controlled by the Marriott family. They woulda got away with it too, but the Kraab types at the union ran a campaign to vote down the split. They brought a couple of institutional investors on board who had no sympathy for the union's goals apart from wanting to stop Marriott from pulling a fast one and brought the whole thing down. The practical result didn't really make a difference to the organizing effort, but it sent a great we're-going-to-be-a-pain-in-your-ass-until-you-stop-busting message.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 11:15 AM
horizontal rule
198

that's why REAL hard core researchers stow away in the garbage truck.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 11:16 AM
horizontal rule
199

I don't know, Teo, I've only been to one dump and that had a little guard station where they checked your ID before they let you in.

Everyone's id gets checked? Or just the Muslim-looking people?


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 11:16 AM
horizontal rule
200

Also a lot of times people will use a particular variety of padlock (the name of which is escaping me at the moment) which is absurdly easy to pick.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 11:16 AM
horizontal rule
201

Come to think of it, in the only small town dump I'm familiar with, the trashbags are thrown in a deep trench. Getting down in there would be tricky.

This is what I thought, too. I thank you all for treating me like an idiot because I didn't understand the union equivalent of how Neville wound up with the sword of Gryffindor.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 11:17 AM
horizontal rule
202

The goal here is to get all of you to put one alarm clock in every bag of trash, in case you ever need to get something back from the dump.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 11:17 AM
horizontal rule
203

peruse them unmolested

Yeah... if you hear banjo music when you're entering the dump... don't.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 11:18 AM
horizontal rule
204

particular variety of padlock

Master Lock. About 100 effective combinations per anonymous lock; known for decades.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 11:18 AM
horizontal rule
205

So how does one get these research jobs?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 11:19 AM
horizontal rule
206

it's the sort of place where people just sort of show up to dump their trash

Ha! Is there anywhere in the US where this is actually free, any more?


Posted by: neil | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 11:19 AM
horizontal rule
207

See, what we did at a very large dump was to put a neodymium supermagnet in the trashbag, and then go to the dump with a credit card swiper, and continually swipe a credit card until we were close enough to the magnet that the card no longer worked. Then onc we were in that perimeter, we would unveil another supermagnet and the trash bag would zoom towards us, or away from us depending on the poles. Then we would activate our jetpacks and get the hell out of there.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 11:20 AM
horizontal rule
208

The dumps are generally closed on Thanksgiving, FYI.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 11:20 AM
horizontal rule
209

208: But do you know of any good restaurants that might be open on that day?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 11:22 AM
horizontal rule
210

The goal here is to get all of you to put one alarm clock in every bag of trash, in case you ever need to get something back from the dump.

There will have to be a system by which everyone sets them to different times, lest a tragedy of the commons develop.

I envision dozens of people wandering around knee-deep in trash - they hear fifteen rings at once and get really annoyed at each other.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 11:22 AM
horizontal rule
211

204: nope, not what I'm thinking of. These are keyed locks, but you can make a universal skeleton key with a bent piece of wire. Brief googling isn't turning anything up.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 11:22 AM
horizontal rule
212

Now, how did Neville wind up with the sword of Gryffindor?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 11:23 AM
horizontal rule
213

So how does one get these research jobs?

I don't care what Wrongshore says, teo; it seems like a pretty roundabout way to get someone to sleep with you. Plus, dumps are smelly.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 11:23 AM
horizontal rule
214

These are keyed locks, but you can make a universal skeleton key with a bent piece of wire. Brief googling isn't turning anything up.

Maybe not for you, but it's turning up a new ISP for the terrorist watch list.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 11:23 AM
horizontal rule
215

212: pulled it out of the Sorting Hermione.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 11:23 AM
horizontal rule
216

lock picking? wow. All I bring to the table is a good memory & the patience to search for the 15 different possible transliterations of every Arabic name.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 11:24 AM
horizontal rule
217

213: Worth a shot, though.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 11:24 AM
horizontal rule
218

All I bring to the table is a good memory & the patience to search for the 15 different possible transliterations of every Arabic name.

Hey, I've got that! I even know Arabic.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 11:25 AM
horizontal rule
219

Not that I'm trying to steal your job or anything.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 11:26 AM
horizontal rule
220

I don't see this investigative dumpster-diving strategy helping you get any girls, any more than actual dumpster-diving would (it's exciting and savvy!). Better to just learn the harmonica.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 11:26 AM
horizontal rule
221

214: I hate to tell you, but consorting with me is likely to get you on all sorts of lists. Although I seem to have finally been culled from the "fly, but verify" section of the no-fly list.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 11:26 AM
horizontal rule
222

219: you wouldn't want it--I'm a lawyer.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 11:27 AM
horizontal rule
223

Yeah, no. Dumpster diving is not, in fact, a good way to get girls.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 11:27 AM
horizontal rule
224

I'm crap at picking locks, but quite a lot off smallish padlocks are incredibly easy to pick. Just with the usual paper clip and a small screwdriver. The sort of padlocks people attach to suitcases or gym lockers.

I picked the lock on a locked box of discs once [for the owner, who'd lost his key] using a piece of cable-tie. A lock that can be picked with a small length of flexible plastic isn't really much of a lock.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 11:27 AM
horizontal rule
225

Have you thought about becoming a private detective, teo? You could have plenty of stories like that.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 11:28 AM
horizontal rule
226

A less smelly but still kind of espionagey activity would be putting cheap watches in front of and behing the tires of some evildoer's car so that later you can later tell what time the car was moved. Surely a story like that is at least worth some footsy or maybe even actual snogging?

I'm even aware of one case where it lead to actual sex, but the whole thing ended badly.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 11:28 AM
horizontal rule
227

Hey Jesus, did you see how the Times published an article deciding that your city is all grown up and has turned into a real boy?

Really I just like starting comments with "Hey Jesus."


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 11:28 AM
horizontal rule
228

222: Okay, so we're good.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 11:28 AM
horizontal rule
229

Teo: it's true that there are swifter routes to poon, but if you're curious about corporate research, drop me a line and scope out http://unionjobs.com/staff.html.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 11:29 AM
horizontal rule
230

consorting with me is likely to get you on all sorts of lists.
One of the guys in my research group was born in Israel (recently gained his US citizenship)... I used to tease him about terrorist watch lists because he was researching a sensor project and had to search for info about explosives, anthrax, chemical weapons, etc.

I told him that late one night I logged onto his computer and googled for some child porn, just to give the FBI something to really think about.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 11:29 AM
horizontal rule
231

Have you thought about becoming a private detective, teo?

Yes, but I don't think I have quite the right personality for it.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 11:30 AM
horizontal rule
232

:A less smelly but still kind of espionagey activity would be putting cheap watches in front of and behing the tires of some evildoer's car so that later you can later tell what time the car was moved.

Or rest them in the wheel well, so they wouldn't get broken.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 11:30 AM
horizontal rule
233

I'm even aware of one case where it lead to actual sex, but the whole thing ended badly.

Sex on top of a broken watch and under a car is not everyone's cup of tea.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 11:30 AM
horizontal rule
234

229: Thanks.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 11:31 AM
horizontal rule
235

The "job you can't explain to a four year old" problem has become especially acute for me (civil litigation) since my four-year-old son has found a bunch of friends with incredibly cool dads:

The dad of our next door neighbor drives a bulldozer on his day job, AND is chief of the volunteer fire department. He gets to drive all the kids around on the firetruck on parade day.

Down the street, another kid's dad is a commercial airline pilot, so he's both totally cool and frequently at home with the kids during the day.

When I met another dad who's an engineer, I figured I was about equal. Then the son explained that dad does does marine construction inspections, so he works in a Scuba suit.

I am a disappointment to my son.


Posted by: unimaginative | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 11:33 AM
horizontal rule
236

228: I just read that &mdash it's all true. Best thing is, restaurant criticism is one of my gigs, so woohoo for me.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 11:33 AM
horizontal rule
237

232: But if the watch doesn't break, then how do you know what time the car left?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 11:34 AM
horizontal rule
238

But if the watch doesn't break, then how do you know what time the car left?

Can't you just ask the people standing around? The ones wearing the nice new watches you bought?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 11:36 AM
horizontal rule
239

237: Ask the driver.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 11:36 AM
horizontal rule
240

235: Can you work out a kind of John Edwardsy superhero narrative? Won't beat a bulldozer, but defending the downtrodden against Scrooge McDuck might light up the child's eyes. If you're working for McDuck, that could be trickier.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 11:37 AM
horizontal rule
241

237: go to a parking lot and listen for a car that's the same time as you are.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 11:38 AM
horizontal rule
242

237. When the car, which started from Chicago, gets to Cleveland you can ask the driver of the train from New York how fast he went. The rest is an exercise for the reader.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 11:38 AM
horizontal rule
243

I, for one, don't feel the need to shoot out the clocks every time I want to know what time it is. Remind me never to respond when Mitch asks me what time it is. He'll break your wrist.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 11:38 AM
horizontal rule
244

240: Every time I describe a case I'm working on to friends, they instantly start making assumptions about how great it must be representing the party they think I'm representing. Then I have to tell them, no, I'm working for the Duck.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 11:41 AM
horizontal rule
245

244- Do they let you swim around in the pool of gold coins, as long as you don't touch the lucky dime?


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 11:42 AM
horizontal rule
246

228: that article alone is going to drive up Portland real estate prices by at least 10%.


Posted by: marcus | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 11:45 AM
horizontal rule
247

Obviously everyone here has jobs where they can post on a message board during the workday, so how bad can your life really be? (Apologies to the unemployed.)


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 11:45 AM
horizontal rule
248

I think corporate law would be more fun if more of the deals involved exchanging lots of sacks with dollars signs on them.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 11:45 AM
horizontal rule
249

246- I hate when the times does stories on "Great Wines for under $10." Well, yeah, not any more.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 11:47 AM
horizontal rule
250

that article alone is going to drive up Portland real estate prices by at least 10%.

Thereby enriching me. Thanks, New York Times!


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 11:47 AM
horizontal rule
251

I think litigation would be more fun if clients tipped their associates as a percentage of the bill. (I have heard tell of an associate working on a deal once, where the client tipped him a Porsche, but that sort of thing doesn't happen often.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 11:47 AM
horizontal rule
252

148: I thought it did. I wanted to go into corporate law, but do you realize how much practice it takes to be able to laugh menacingly while keeping your cigar lit and in your mouth? My dreams were finally dashed when I was told that I could never develop the jowls necessary for smokey room evil.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 11:49 AM
horizontal rule
253

247 to 235, as in, "Yes, Billy's dad flies a plane, but I have the latitude to talk to the friends who live in my computer whenever I want."


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 11:53 AM
horizontal rule
254

I think litigation would be more fun if clients tipped their associates as a percentage of the bill. (I have heard tell of an associate working on a deal once, where the client tipped him a Porsche, but that sort of thing doesn't happen often.)

I thought you represented prostitutes some?

I have received many unusual things from people who ran out of money and can no longer pay their bill. Lawnmowers, 4 wheelers, motorcycles, etc..


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 11:54 AM
horizontal rule
255

And I can show up at work drunk and I'm not violating any laws!


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 11:54 AM
horizontal rule
256

254: Only metaphorically. Oh, you mean the pro-bono stuff: no, the anti-trafficking group isn't a general sex workers organization.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 11:55 AM
horizontal rule
257

Being a researcher for Las Vegas Sex Workers Local 69 could really be an interesting job.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 11:57 AM
horizontal rule
258

255 to 253


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 11:57 AM
horizontal rule
259

240: I do in fact represent the downtrodden, such as a hedge fund that lost $50 million on its En/ron investments because it got careless about matching up long and short positions in seven different kids of En/ron securities for a few days at the worse possible moment. I also represent union pension funds with more typical lsoses, so with grown ups (such as the other dads) I can tell a good story.

For four year olds that just doesn't cut it. Dad: "It's like if you gave someone your candy bar and he aid he'd give you three candy bars next week, and then he didn't, and it wasn't fair, I'd help you get it back." Son: "I'm not that dumb to do that." Dad: "You're smarter than the people I help."

Son does think it's really exciting that I wear a tie most days, since hardly anyone else does these days.


Posted by: unimaginative | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 12:00 PM
horizontal rule
260

Unimaginative is an ERISA lawyer? I did that for a couple of years representing Trustees in Taft_Hartley stuff. Great guys to hang out with.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 12:05 PM
horizontal rule
261

I haven't finished the thread, but some ages are startling me. I thought Becks was closer to my age, and that if she were approaching a round number, it would be 40. And AWB is only 28? You people have nothing to grouse about. The "turning 40" cohort here, we are the ones entitled to be moody and introspective


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 12:05 PM
horizontal rule
262

Rob Helpy-chalk:

I was also shocked about AWB being 28.

Screw those 20 and 30 somethings.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 12:07 PM
horizontal rule
263

The "turning 40" cohort here, we are the ones entitled to be moody and introspective

Nah. I've been those for pretty much my whole life.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 12:08 PM
horizontal rule
264

Other age related stuff: I am still keeping track of the band t-shirts my students wear. Today I saw a Ratt t-shirt.

Ratt? and the kid couldn't have been more than 20.

Ratt?


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 12:08 PM
horizontal rule
265

Why are people shocked about AWB being 28?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 12:09 PM
horizontal rule
266

Seriously, 28 is the new 38.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 12:10 PM
horizontal rule
267

We assume that everyone we meet online is like us until we get contradictory evidence. I assume everyone is white and closing in on 40. I don't assume they're male, but that's only because I hold out for the possibility that they are hott.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 12:11 PM
horizontal rule
268

Ratt


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 12:12 PM
horizontal rule
269

heebie gives good funny today.
182 very, very funny.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 12:12 PM
horizontal rule
270

I'm 28.

I've had a couple people tell me they pictured me as blonde. Don't get where that's from (this is separate from thinking I'm the hottest-in-DC catherine).


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 12:13 PM
horizontal rule
271

261: I must be more sensitive to this stuff -- this is exactly the age gap I was talking about feeling as if I were on the high side of back in the generational rant thread. I'm in the approaching 40 group, but I think a whole bunch of heavy commenters are in their 20s.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 12:14 PM
horizontal rule
272

270: Kotsko made that same guess about me -- maybe there's some lawyer=blonde thing going around? Susan Dey in LA Law?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 12:15 PM
horizontal rule
273

wait, you're not blond?


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 12:16 PM
horizontal rule
274

The Wellesley dump requires a pass and you have to be a town resident to get one, but the trash is of such surpassing quality that a woman I know had a forged Wellesley dump pass. She was busted by a Wellesley cop who had pulled her over (for something else) and wanted to know how it was that she had a Wellesley dump pass and a Boston address on her license. I'm not sure if she went to the big house, or what.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 12:16 PM
horizontal rule
275

so is this whole conversation a reflection of the rising social inequality in our country?
(this to demonstrate the unfunny that heebie is not).

i mean--unimaginative's issues about cool vs. not-cool jobs for dads to have. makes me think that the alternative to "you're so smart for your age! and promising! and on the road to doing brilliant things on tv!" is "you're a fucking loser".

would it be easier for becks to let go of "__for your age!" if the alternative were not "washed up failure"?

it's so damned extreme. it's like a challenge to recover the middle class of accomplishment or happiness.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 12:17 PM
horizontal rule
276

273 cracked me up.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 12:17 PM
horizontal rule
277

I assumed Mrs. Breath was brunette bc she went to MIT.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 12:18 PM
horizontal rule
278

I now understand that Becks trying to be a trapeze artist was simply a desperate grab at her youth.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 12:19 PM
horizontal rule
279

Wait, I'm a guy?


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 12:20 PM
horizontal rule
280

You can get all kinds of stuff at the Nantucket dump- it's in the village of Madaket, people often refer to it as the Madaket mall.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 12:21 PM
horizontal rule
281

Susan Dey in LA Law?

The youths arent going to understand that one.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 12:21 PM
horizontal rule
282

279: Dude, if you're going to cross-dress, people will fail to catch on. Commenters named Hamlet or Mercutio are assumed to be male until otherwise identified, commenters named Portia or Gonerill female.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 12:22 PM
horizontal rule
283

I went to a dump in Nantucket...


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 12:22 PM
horizontal rule
284

Why are people shocked about AWB being 28?

Because all her blog posts are about being a professor?


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 12:23 PM
horizontal rule
285

LA Law? I remember my parents watching that when I was a kid.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 12:23 PM
horizontal rule
286

The Needham and Wellesley dump-as-civic-institution thing is so weird (&, when you don't own a car, so annoying. But I was actively thankful every time I used my apt. building's garbage disposal for the next year).


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 12:24 PM
horizontal rule
287

Because all her blog posts are about being a professor?

I thought they were about being a grad student.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 12:24 PM
horizontal rule
288

285--
cold, man, really cold.

but it's worse than that--i think of la law as susan dey's retirement job.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 12:24 PM
horizontal rule
289

I guessed AWB was 30/31, based on the forensics discussion. Sorry, AWB.

I'll be 28 after Thanksgiving. Oh, lord. It seems just yesterday I started college.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 12:25 PM
horizontal rule
290

I thought they were about being a grad student.

They're about teaching classes. She hardly ever wrote about the research she was doing for her degree, or having a thesis advisor, or dealing with other grad students. I read her blog for months and thought she was probably around 35.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 12:26 PM
horizontal rule
291

Er, not 35, 32. Definitely one of the youngest professors in the department.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 12:27 PM
horizontal rule
292

They're about teaching classes.

Which is what grad students in English do most of the time.

She hardly ever wrote about the research she was doing for her degree, or having a thesis advisor, or dealing with other grad students.

I believe this was largely for identity-protection purposes.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 12:30 PM
horizontal rule
293

Also, most of the boyfriend anecdotes were about boyfriends much older than her, which was not obvious.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 12:31 PM
horizontal rule
294

Commenters named Hamlet or Mercutio are assumed to be male until otherwise identified, commenters named Portia or Gonerill female.

Ah, so that's the problem. Fuck.


Posted by: Desdemona | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 12:31 PM
horizontal rule
295

While I can see how AWB's blog could easily give someone an impression like Ned's, her comments here over the same period addressed most if not all of those issues.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 12:33 PM
horizontal rule
296

Also, there are some usernames which, while not strictly male- or female-identifying, might send the wrong impression.


Posted by: Fluffy Bunny | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 12:35 PM
horizontal rule
297

cold, man, really cold.

but it's worse than that--i think of la law as susan dey's retirement job.

Kid Bitzer, I think I love you.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 12:50 PM
horizontal rule
298

297--
thanks, i'm deeply flattered.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 12:53 PM
horizontal rule
299

There was a student coop at MIT with a geometric mural -- apparently it was traditional to ask new members to identify it so as to sort them into people for whom Mondrian was more or less salient than the Partridge Family bus.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 12:53 PM
horizontal rule
300

I'm at C/W/A. (Not sure why that needs to be google-proofed, since it also stands for "Christian World Adoption" and "Concerned Women of America.")

And don't forget Crackaz With Attitude.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 12:56 PM
horizontal rule
301

Unimaginative is an ERISA lawyer? I did that for a couple of years

My sister-in-law is an ERISA lawyer, and before I because a crusading corporate researcher, I paralegaled at a labor law firm that does a fair amount of ERISA work. Also a lot of fun to explain at parties. ("No, seriously, it's interesting and important work.")


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 1:00 PM
horizontal rule
302

300: You mean Crackaz With Aptitude, M/tch.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 1:02 PM
horizontal rule
303

Obviously everyone here has jobs where they can post on a message board during the workday, so how bad can your life really be?

I reiterate: "At least 9/10ths of the population would probably envy my overall situation, so I ain't complainin'"


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 1:03 PM
horizontal rule
304

299: You know, Mondrian couldn't carry a tune to save his life.

He was a really good painter for his age though, really good at staying inside the lines!


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 1:06 PM
horizontal rule
305

302: I'm not sure I like your tone, whiteboy.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 1:07 PM
horizontal rule
306

I tried to write MC Paul Barman-style songs once. The best couplet I came up with rhymed "Mondrian" with "get her laundry on".


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 1:08 PM
horizontal rule
307

303: Only 90%? Are we talking worldwide here?

That same thought depresses me unspeakably -- how dare I be discontented given the whole easy access to potable water, nutritious food, etc. lifestyle.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 1:10 PM
horizontal rule
308

I assumed Mrs. Breath was brunette androgynous bc she went to MIT.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 1:11 PM
horizontal rule
309

181: Interesting. My father worked very closely with Joe B/e/i/r/n/e and the C/W/A for decades and decades.

Cool. What did your dad do?


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 1:12 PM
horizontal rule
310

I wish to retract 308. I have nothing but goodwill for Mrs. Breath, and I'd hate for her to think otherwise


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 1:13 PM
horizontal rule
311

308: I like to think that, because you're calling her Mrs. Breath, we should be calling her husband Buck Breath, which is one mighty porny name.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 1:13 PM
horizontal rule
312

307--
it's simple, my dear: it's because you were led to expect so much more, by the constant iteration of "aren't you__for your age!"

after you beat your children and put them in the closet, make sure that they have to drink from the gutters for a while, in order to gain the proper appreciation of potability.

(my, what a lot of contusions for your age! and cholera, too!)


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 1:14 PM
horizontal rule
313

I think litigation would be more fun if clients tipped their associates as a percentage of the bill.

I thought you represented prostitutes some

This approximates the punchline of the joke that begins "What did the leper say to the prostitute?"


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 1:15 PM
horizontal rule
314

308: At the time I was pretty darn androgynous. But time and childbirth feminizes us all.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 1:16 PM
horizontal rule
315

314--
which is hard on the dads.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 1:17 PM
horizontal rule
316

My sister-in-law is an ERISA lawyer, and before I because a crusading corporate researcher, I paralegaled at a labor law firm that does a fair amount of ERISA work. Also a lot of fun to explain at parties. ("No, seriously, it's interesting and important work.")

Important, maybe. Interesting, no. I will never get back the years of my life I spent ERISA lawyering.

It's really kind of charming how hopeful and optimistic you all turn out to be when you get introspective. Makes you all seem, I dunno, dewy-eyed and precocious and shit. Me, I get a little more convinced all the time that the only choice we really have is whether to be Emerson or McManus when we grow up.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 1:25 PM
horizontal rule
317

314: For proof of said androgyny, see here. I'm the one who looks like a fourteen-year-old boy standing on the porch railing -- moving to the right of the '69' sign, it's sunglasses, then beard, then me.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 1:27 PM
horizontal rule
318

childbirth feminizes us all....

which is hard on the dads

Ain't that the truth.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 1:30 PM
horizontal rule
319

I really like 306. But I'm still seeking forgiveness for rhyming "oleaginous" with "now imagine us" in a song, so I'm going to be in feminine rhyme jail for a while.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 1:30 PM
horizontal rule
320

wow LB, you were not kidding.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 1:35 PM
horizontal rule
321

I self-deprecate only with the utmost of accuracy.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 1:38 PM
horizontal rule
322

OT: Do folks know that Tavis Smiley is moderating the GOP debate on PBS tomorrow night? Other panelists are Ray Suarez, Cynthia Tucker, and Juan Williams (punk). I usually avoid the Rs, but this could be fun.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 1:39 PM
horizontal rule
323

Wow LB, you were not kidding

For the record, 308 was intended solely as a knock on MIT. I had no idea LB was really an androgyne.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 1:39 PM
horizontal rule
324

A cute-as-a-button androgyne!


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 1:40 PM
horizontal rule
325

For proof of said androgyny

Michelle Shocked!

max
['Weren't you supposed to be a folk singer?']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 1:40 PM
horizontal rule
326

Good call, Max.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 1:41 PM
horizontal rule
327

And I was listening to her that year, too.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 1:42 PM
horizontal rule
328

That same thought depresses me unspeakably -- how dare I be discontented given the whole easy access to potable water, nutritious food, etc. lifestyle.

Good point and initially made me feel like crap. Then I realized that within that scheme, I could still hate Republicans, World Bank, etc for policies that help sustain those lack-of conditions.


Posted by: terpbball | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 1:43 PM
horizontal rule
329

317: Dude, you were cute!


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 1:43 PM
horizontal rule
330

317, that picture makes you look like I imagine the androgynous head of our clinical flow cytometry lab looked 30 years ago.

Headshot


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 1:43 PM
horizontal rule
331

Do folks know that Tavis Smiley is moderating the GOP debate on PBS tomorrow night

Tavis Smiley bought Bush's Social Security bamboozlement ("Social Security shortchanges African Americans because whites live longer") hook, line and sinker.

I happened to hear this while in a taxi in the Deep South, and the (Black) taxi driver asked me what I thought. I said "It's a scam. Social Security is the best thing that ever happened for poor people, and Bush is trying to take it away." He said, "Yeah, you're right, it's a motherfuckin' scam." That was my contribution to society for 2005.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 1:44 PM
horizontal rule
332

329: Hrmphf. Where were you in 1989?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 1:46 PM
horizontal rule
333

327--
really? and did you turn the country music station louder than you oughter?


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 1:47 PM
horizontal rule
334

332: Just out of frame, working out how drunk I would have to get to find the nerve to make a pass at you.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 1:51 PM
horizontal rule
335

Didn't know that about Social Security, but I'm not necessarily Tavis fan. And Juan Williams needs to get off his sanctimonious "black people are to blame for their own misery" schtick which largely minimizes structural issues.

But I still think watching the republicans in a debate centered on race should produce some entertaining convolutions and gaffes.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 1:51 PM
horizontal rule
336

Just out of frame, working out how drunk I would have to get to find the nerve to make a pass at you.

Say, that's some family reunion! Where did you say you were from again?


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 1:52 PM
horizontal rule
337

Not literally MIT, I don't think. But all you kids, pay attention! This is why serious, albeit not incapacitating, drinking is absolutely key at all social events.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 1:54 PM
horizontal rule
338

336--
aww, i thought it was sweet.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 1:55 PM
horizontal rule
339

"Alcohol has been a social lubricant for thousands of years. What do you think, you're going to sit here and reinvent the wheel?"


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 1:56 PM
horizontal rule
340

Some of us went through our undergraduate years with a combination of bashfulness and cluelessness that even heroic quantities of alcohol couldn't fix.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 2:01 PM
horizontal rule
341

I wouldn't remember anything about what that was like.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 2:04 PM
horizontal rule
342

Inside lawyer note: I'm actually more a PSLRA lawyer than an ERISA lawyer. We PSLRA lawyers can't even pronounce the statute that rules our lives. [it is googleable and it isn't Puget Sound Labrador Retriever Association]

Re: 248, 254: my firm's consumer class action practice often involves in-kind settlements. There are constant jokes about taking the legal fees if the form of what the clients receive. For example, we have a big case involving defective dog food going at the moment . . .

247: Complete agreement. I also hope I don't comae across as mocking bulldozer/firefighter dad, who has a crappy job with mediocre or worse pay and nevertheless makes an enormous personal investment in keeping his neighbors safe.
I wouldn't trade my life with him, but I have a huge personal debt.


Posted by: unimaginative | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 2:05 PM
horizontal rule
343

Well, LB, sorry that you weren't a teenager today, when cute 80s-style androgyny is quite popular with some circles. I know some parties where you could have cleaned up.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 2:06 PM
horizontal rule
344

PSLRA lawyer: Sexy!


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 2:06 PM
horizontal rule
345

i thought it was sweet

In truth, I did too.

I would not have had the nerve to make a pass at the fourteen year old LB, but I surmise we might have discovered a common interest in math puzzles or something, which might have led us to stay out late together in the lawn chairs in the back yard sneaking a couple of our parents' wine coolers, possibly leading to some drunken under-the-shirt-over-the-bra fumbling.

But alas, this is all counterfactual speculation.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 2:07 PM
horizontal rule
346

hate to tell you this, kr, but sometimes sweetness is inversely proportional to detail.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 2:09 PM
horizontal rule
347

That one lost me at the wine coolers. If you're not old enough to like what alcohol tastes like, you shouldn't be drinking. </curmudgeon>


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 2:13 PM
horizontal rule
348

OT: Apropos the academia discussion the other day: nice to know that America's universities have their priorities straight:

Over the next few years, big-time athletics programs hope to raise an additional $2.5-billion for new buildings, the survey found. And many programs are expanding their fund-raising staffs to solicit big gifts.

But the sports fund-raising success has come at a cost: While donations to the country's 119 largest athletics departments have risen significantly in recent years, overall giving to those colleges has stayed relatively flat, according to an article in the April issue of the Journal of Sport Management, which analyzed fund-raising figures reported by colleges to the Council for Aid to Education.

Among the surveyed institutions, athletics departments brought in an increasing share of the colleges' overall donations. In 1998 athletics gifts accounted for 14.7 percent of overall gifts. By 2003 sports donations had reached 26 percent.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 2:13 PM
horizontal rule
349

I got a fair amount of this "for my age" until I took some time off before grad school (and then slowly dropped out of that). The bigger change for me was the switch from math/sciences to humanities early in college. No longer did people make assumptions about smartness based on subject area like they did in high school and little things like being asked to do some everyday math thing like split a check for a group went away. It was great.

My new goal is to set my sights lower than they've every been before. And fall short.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 2:13 PM
horizontal rule
350

My neighbors: deep sea fisherman, social worker, locomotive engineer, sales rep, coach, pre-school teacher, retired cop, watchmaker, and one guy I'm not sure about but might be a serial killer.

(I live in the most working-class part of a decidedly non-working-class town.)


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 2:14 PM
horizontal rule
351

342: Hey, I've been on the other side of some of that. Safe harbor for forward-looking statements, dude!


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 2:16 PM
horizontal rule
352

That one lost me at the wine coolers.

Hey, do you like vodka then? My older brother's got a bottle hidden with his cassette tapes. We could mix it with orange juice!


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 2:16 PM
horizontal rule
353

PSLRA lawyer: puppies!


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 2:17 PM
horizontal rule
354

Yeah, still not so much with the successfully wistful tone here.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 2:17 PM
horizontal rule
355

I'm not sure about but might be a serial killer

So you've only confirmed one victim so far?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 2:21 PM
horizontal rule
356

349: Well, that misspelling is a good start.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 2:26 PM
horizontal rule
357

So you've only confirmed one victim so far?

None, so far, but he keeps odd hours, keeps his blinds drawn all the time, carries large unidentifiable objects back and forth between his house and his car late at night-- that kind of thing.

It's a running joke in our neighborhood that we will all be on the evening news one day saying, "He was always kind of quiet, kept to himself mostly..."


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 2:29 PM
horizontal rule
358

KR: the response to people bitching about others not appreciating what alcohol tastes like isn't vodka, for god's sake. A mason jar with three fingers of whiskey, maybe.


Posted by: Jake | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 2:34 PM
horizontal rule
359

that's why REAL hard core researchers stow away in the garbage truck.

Like in Soylent Green! That was corporate research.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 2:43 PM
horizontal rule
360

KR: the response to people bitching about others not appreciating what alcohol tastes like isn't vodka, for god's sake

Jake, that was the voice of the 14-year-old KR speaking. And the n-year-old KR was pretty clueless with the laydeez, for arbitrary values of n.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 2:48 PM
horizontal rule
361

watching the republicans in a debate centered on race

Given that McCain, Thompson, Giuliani, and Romney have all said they won't be there, there's going to be a whole lot of crazy missing.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 2:48 PM
horizontal rule
362

Tancredo & Hunter are all the crazy they need, I think.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 2:49 PM
horizontal rule
363

Don't forget Ron Paul! But can there ever really be *enough* crazy at these things?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 2:57 PM
horizontal rule
364

Perhaps this is too identifying along with other info upthread, but my brother works for a ticket broker, which is somewhat different. Involves a fair amount of travel to places like Vegas, a lot of transactions involving large amounts of money, but also a lot of sitting at computers. Totally unrelated to anything he learned in formal education, of course, so when he first got into it as his formal job (he'd done it on the side of a while), a lot of people had the usual response. The owners of the business make a killing- it's quite a lucrative industry.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 2:59 PM
horizontal rule
365

But can there ever really be *enough* crazy at these things?

The last eight years say...YES.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 2:59 PM
horizontal rule
366

Are any of the corporate researcher people still reading this thread? Is lack of a background in financial/economic analysis a huge problem for someone applying for one of those jobs for the first time? (Which is to say that I can learn, but haven't yet.)

My dissertation, had I chosen to accept it, involved a lot of corporate research, but of the 19th century American history variety. You don't have to go to the dump when the trash has been microfilmed and archived.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 3:00 PM
horizontal rule
367

Just after 5 PM eastern. Another hard day of commenting has come to a close.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 3:12 PM
horizontal rule
368

In fairness, eb, some of us will stay late at the office doing the work we should have been doing all day.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 3:14 PM
horizontal rule
369

366: No. You can learn that stuff. It's nice to bring it with you, but IME they want people who can write clearly.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 3:40 PM
horizontal rule
370

Thanks, this is something I should really look into.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 3:48 PM
horizontal rule
371

Don't forget Ron Paul!

Lay off Ron Paul, man. He speaks truth to power. I'd gladly trade a gold standard for no more national security state.


Posted by: marcus | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 4:00 PM
horizontal rule
372

Kid Bitzer, I think I love you.

But I wanna know for sure!


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 4:36 PM
horizontal rule
373

But I wanna know for sure!

Wrong song, youngster.

I think I love you so what am I so afraid of
I'm afraid that I'm not sure of a love there is no cure for
I think I love you isn't that what life is made of
Though it worries me to say that I never felt this way

I don't know what I'm up against
I don't know what it's all about
I got so much to think about

Hey, I think I love you so what am I so afraid of
I'm afraid that I'm not sure of a love there is no cure for
I think I love you isn't that what life is made of
Though it worries me to say I never felt this way

Believe me you really don't have to worry
I only wanna make you happy and if you say "hey go away" I will
But I think better still I'd better stay around and love you
Do you think I have a case let me ask you to your face
Do you think you love me?

I think I love you
I think I love you
(I think I love you)


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 4:41 PM
horizontal rule
374

You mooove me.

But wait: Which Bitzer is this?

We're headed toward one of those Shakespearean mistaken identity comedies.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 4:42 PM
horizontal rule
375

Wrong song, youngster.

will, I fear I have you on the years, if not the musical catalogue. Besides, our true Elder agrees with me.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 4:44 PM
horizontal rule
376

Which Bitzer is this?

Quite: Thomas "Kyd" Bitzer? Cpt. William "Kidd" Bitzer? "Billy the" Kid Bitzer?


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 4:46 PM
horizontal rule
377

It's cute when the old people bicker.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 4:47 PM
horizontal rule
378

Also, where'd play bitzer go, and where's my invitation to the bitzer house party?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 4:48 PM
horizontal rule
379

It's cute when the old people bicker.

You made me admit to knowing about Falco. Get off my lawn.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 4:49 PM
horizontal rule
380

Slolernr is older than 40? Wow. You people are like strangers to me.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 5:05 PM
horizontal rule
381

older than 40?

OK, not quite. But not so far off, neither.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 5:08 PM
horizontal rule
382

I hate the PLSRA, though I no longer remember why, because I've forgotten the details. One of the reasons I disliked Ke/rry from the get-go was that he voted for the PLSRA.

My sister-in-law is an ERISA lawyer, and before I because a crusading corporate researcher, I paralegaled at a labor law firm that does a fair amount of ERISA work. Also a lot of fun to explain at parties. ("No, seriously, it's interesting and important work.")

My trusts and estates professor told me to go into this, and my pens/ion and emp/oyee benefits professor wrote co-wrote the standard textbook. He didn't deal with the fiduciary stuff, so we never covered that--tax and pre-emption issues mostly. Learning about welfare plans did more to convince me of the importance of universal health care than anything else. I'm pretty clearly in the, "get all employers out of the business of managing your healthcare" camp at this point.

Is it true, that you can be a total weirdo and a bad schmoozer as an ERISA lawyer? Is it true that you don't have to bring in clients, because your expertise is arcane?


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 5:08 PM
horizontal rule
383

You aren't even 40, slol? Sheesh.

I hereby submit that anybody who is less than a decade older than me should be cracking jokes about what a decrepit geezer they are. I mean, dammit.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 5:11 PM
horizontal rule
384

My trusts and estates professor told me to go into this

OT: At my law school, the class was called "Wills and Estates." It was a large class. As we are about to take the final exam, a blonde woman walks up to me and says "Why are you here? I thought you took this class last year."

When I asked her why she thought that, she said that she had been studying from my outline - "Will's Outline".

It made me happy that the professor graded on a curve.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 5:12 PM
horizontal rule
385

anybody who is less than a decade older than me should [not] be cracking jokes about what a decrepit geezer they are

I'm in an occupation that forces me to acknowledge on an annual basis the increasing distance between oneself and the actual youth. One of us, Sifu, is in denial.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 5:13 PM
horizontal rule
386

Slolernr is a porn star?


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 5:14 PM
horizontal rule
387

One of us, Sifu, is in denial a college student.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 5:16 PM
horizontal rule
388

I hate the PLSRA, though I no longer remember why, because I've forgotten the details.

Because it's ridiculously restrictive on the rights of private individuals to sue for securities fraud. It makes defense easy, and that's the side I've been on, but it's a terrible awful lousy law.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 5:17 PM
horizontal rule
389

The best statute name is certainly LUST.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 5:18 PM
horizontal rule
390

388: Well, yes, and now my brain is remembering that the standard of pleading was super high or something, that you pretty much had to prove your case before you had any chance to do discovery. The upshot was that if a plaintiff got over a motion to dismiss, he'd pretty much already won and was guaranteed a good settlement.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 5:20 PM
horizontal rule
391

Years don't make old, Tweety. Children do.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 5:21 PM
horizontal rule
392

391: once you go gay, you never go gray!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 5:22 PM
horizontal rule
393

Is it true, that you can be a total weirdo and a bad schmoozer as an ERISA lawyer? Is it true that you don't have to bring in clients, because your expertise is arcane?

Yes and no. Yes, you can maybe/probably make a living as an ERISA lawyer with those qualities if you're technically strong. But no, you can't be as successful as someone who's better at the non-technical stuff, and no, ERISA isn't particularly different from any number of other practice areas that way. IMHO.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 5:24 PM
horizontal rule
394

It's like a baby frenzy among my LA friends at the moment. I'm trying really hard not to feel like the douchebag with the stubble on thirtysomething.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 5:25 PM
horizontal rule
395

It's like a baby frenzy

Once you pop, you can't stop.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 5:26 PM
horizontal rule
396

394: So knock somebody up already.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 5:28 PM
horizontal rule
397

Damn, DaveL, you've destroyed all of my illusions.

Now the funny thing is, I could totally do the kind of "female" schmoozing that trusts and estates lawyers do. I remember everything about people, and I'd be great at asking people where their grandkids are going to college or how their summer on the Vineyard was. But I'm not sure that I'd respect myself.

Planned Giving is the place for me, really


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 5:28 PM
horizontal rule
398

Sure, send her on over.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 5:28 PM
horizontal rule
399

I'm not sure that I'd respect myself

Overrated.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 5:29 PM
horizontal rule
400

394: Clock ticking? Bummer.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 5:32 PM
horizontal rule
401

400: mine? No, I think menopause is quite a ways off for me. Or did you mean more generally, in terms of getting with the baby-making program?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 5:33 PM
horizontal rule
402

401: I'm pretty sure LB is doing her best imitation of the girl in the video in the post above this right now.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 5:34 PM
horizontal rule
403

402: on a hot dog?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 5:35 PM
horizontal rule
404

A purely psychological clock, given your gender.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 5:36 PM
horizontal rule
405

397: Planned giving is not what you're looking for if you're averse to schmoozing. If you look at nonprofit or college and university job ads, you tend to see about as many development positions as everything else put together (excluding faculty), and I suspect that says something about the professional rewards of shaking money loose from rich people.

I actually meant 393 to be somewhat encouraging. It's perfectly possible to make a decent living as a technically strong but excessively geeky lawyer in any number of practice areas. You don't need to ghettoize yourself into ERISA or estate planning or whatever. You do need to attach yourself to people who are better at the schmoozy shit, and you won't get the kind of strokes (or bucks) that the Chets do, but if that's what you really cared about you probably wouldn't be in the excessively geeky demographic to start out in.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 5:37 PM
horizontal rule
406

now I am all confused. IS Sifu Tweety multi-gendered like Kid bitzer?


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 5:40 PM
horizontal rule
407

(Also: I could explain why I don't think setting out to be an ERISA lawyer is a great career move outside of fairly particular circumstances (one of which, admittedly, could be "wants to practice in Boston"), but there's probably enough gouge-your-eyes-out boring stuff on this thread already.)


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 5:41 PM
horizontal rule
408

DaveL:

what are do you practice in?


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 5:42 PM
horizontal rule
409

IS Sifu Tweety multi-gendered like Kid bitzer?

No, but this is how I picture Jesus McQueen.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 5:43 PM
horizontal rule
410

406: just confusing, will. Just confusing.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 5:43 PM
horizontal rule
411

404--
probably false.
there's a fair bit of literature about increased risks of marfan's, proportional dwarfism, other birth defects, associated with advanced paternal age.
your balls shrivel up and your sperm gets old, too.
old geezer sperm, wheeling itself around in flagellating wheelchairs, with nasal canulae up its nose.
dsquared can tell us whether any of the research is good, but i don't think we can just say that the male clock is merely psychological.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 5:44 PM
horizontal rule
412

In-house, doing a pretty broad range of stuff.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 5:44 PM
horizontal rule
413

412 to 408.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 5:45 PM
horizontal rule
414

ERISA lawyer

on the basis of no more knowledge of American pensions law than one needs to get by in talking to pension fund managers, I'd suggest that it is always a bad idea to base your entire career on one particular set of loopholes, because entire regulatory industries can and do get wiped out with a single stroke of the legislative pen. The father of a mate of a mate was the Ozymandias of Advanced Corporation Tax, and the desert winds blow dust around the wide open desert of his practice these days.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 5:46 PM
horizontal rule
415

look on my works, ye mighty, and dsquared!


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 5:47 PM
horizontal rule
416

405: I'm actually okay at schmoozing, though I do feel, most of the time, that planned giving and trusts and estates schmoozing can be kind of debasing.

My grandmother's trustee/lawyer was eventually richer than she was, but he wound up being managing partner of the firm, did corporate work and started a mutual fund, so he wasn't sucking up in quite the same way that someone who works for the Vanderbilts is.

I'd be pretty good at a certain kind of trust-type non-legal stuff. You can really get to know families and develop long-lasting relationships with them. And it's not divorce! (no offense, will,--just not my cup of tea). This seems kind of female, and it doesn't seem like real work to me, because it deals with stuff in the domestic sphere rather than in the public one of commerce. (I'm not trying to diss housework or caring for children, though I probably) But it seems that it's a bit like being a psychotherapist, and you have to be really good about dealing with people's feelings about really personal stuff. You have to find out that the son-in-law is an alcoholic so that you can try to plan accordingly. These are things that it's often hard for people to talk about. But it's all female relationship stuff. It's not making an original intellectual contribution which is what I really wish that I were capable of.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 5:48 PM
horizontal rule
417

BG:

Are you a lawyer?

I think the estate planning are runs the risk the Dsquared just mentioned.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 5:50 PM
horizontal rule
418

You can really get to know families and develop long-lasting relationships with them. And it's not divorce!

You say this like it's a good thing. From what I've seen of trusts and estates practice, it ain't necessarily so.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 5:52 PM
horizontal rule
419

You can really get to know families and develop long-lasting relationships with them. And it's not divorce!

no! it's estate planning! everyone knows that people dealing with who gets what in the will are much, much nicer and more sensible and grown up than divorcing couples ... aah


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 5:57 PM
horizontal rule
420

Divorce lawyers hear the best stories.

Although in-house counsel gets to read all the emails and finds out who is gettin' it on with whom.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 5:58 PM
horizontal rule
421

I've got a good friend who's a private banker -- the sort of person who interfaces with T&E lawyers -- and I really wouldn't worry about it's being soft or domestic, if it's the sort of thing you wanted to do. (Heck, if what you wanted to do was soft or domestic, there's nothing wrong with that.) While it's been an easier area for women to operate in, it's not gooey fluffiness.

And I wouldn't worry about either ERISA or T&E going away in the near future.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 5:59 PM
horizontal rule
422

ERISA isn't going away any time soon, but the amount of interesting work is decreasing and getting more concentrated in a few firms in a few cities.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 6:02 PM
horizontal rule
423

418: Oh, it could be terrible. Depends on the family. Mine would have been hell to work for.


419: Point taken. The distinction isn't about rationality.


The father of a friend of mine does trust and estate law in Georgia. He has great stories (identifying details omitted) about infidelity. A couple will come in together, btu then the husband comes in later, on his own, and says, "I've got a couple of illegitimate children I need to provide for."


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 6:03 PM
horizontal rule
424

trusts and estates are here to stay - I don't see how anyone would be able to do anything to the concept of a trust short of us being conquered by the Chinese. But ERISA is at its heart part of the tax code and a young person starting out on a career is surely going to see at least one major overhaul of the tax code before they retire?

private banking is a jolly good job but from what I can see, they're only really interested in people who already have the contacts among the veddy veddy rich, so it's not an avenue open to most.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 6:05 PM
horizontal rule
425

#414: I mean "Advance" corporation tax of course, not "advanced". I am vomiting with disgust at myself right now.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 6:08 PM
horizontal rule
426

423: So that's why rich people always leave millions to their 'pets.'


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 6:10 PM
horizontal rule
427

Some rich people have "pet banks."


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 6:30 PM
horizontal rule
428

423: Actually, you can't do that. There are people who want to set up trusts for the benefit of their dog or whatever, and they actually have to be for the benefit of a person (legal or real); but a dog isn't a person.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 6:38 PM
horizontal rule
429

417: Nope, will. But I spent some time in law school and think that I want to find a way to finish my degree eventually, and then, maybe, I'll try to practice law.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 6:39 PM
horizontal rule
430

Get over yourself.


Posted by: Louis | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 8:11 PM
horizontal rule
431

430 to 430?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 8:12 PM
horizontal rule
432

BG, I have one word for you, and that word in not "plastics."

Tax.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 8:29 PM
horizontal rule
433

I will say that the tax lawyers I know seem very happy. It's a great spot for someone whose skills are best at devising cunning plans, not so much with the time pressure or crisis managment.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-27-07 5:42 AM
horizontal rule
434

309: He was the director of the C/I/O and later the A/F/L-C/IO C/S/C. J.B. was the chairman of the committee. As I got it, the C/W/A was years ahead of the rest of the movement in its thinking.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 09-27-07 7:15 AM
horizontal rule
435

I will say that the tax lawyers I know seem very happy

Tax geeks are their own species. The kind of person who really enjoyed working whole books of logic puzzles as a kid. Fortunate is the tax geek, for they will always make money and enjoy themselves.


Posted by: marcus | Link to this comment | 09-27-07 9:25 AM
horizontal rule
436

I will say that the tax lawyers I know seem very happy. It's a great spot for someone whose skills are best at devising cunning plans, not so much with the time pressure or crisis managment.

Is it like accountancy, 11 months of placid boredom followed by one month of time pressure and crisis management?


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 09-27-07 9:31 AM
horizontal rule
437

CharleyCarp, I liked tax a lot. I took 4 course: Federal Incoem, Partnership, Corporate and Gifts and Estate. I don't know anything about local or cross border stuff.

Everyone says that partnership is really hard, but I thought taht it was easier than corporate, because it seemed to have an underlying theory.

I'd need a graduate degree eventually though, wouldn't I?

My dream was to work in comparative law and conflicts of law, but that's an academic specialty. And I'm not good enough to be an academic.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 09-27-07 10:50 AM
horizontal rule
438

Is it like accountancy, 11 months of placid boredom followed by one month of time pressure and crisis management?

no, no. you devise elaborate, cunning plans to minimize tax liability. You don't prepare tax returns.


Posted by: marcus | Link to this comment | 09-27-07 12:38 PM
horizontal rule
439

437: Huh. You know, if I were planning out your life from here, I'd head for a legal temp agency immediately, get back to law school and finish up when you can, and find a tax job where they'll pay for your LLM. (I'm not sure if that last step is realistic -- do you need the LLM if you take enough tax for your JD?) If you've got the mind for it, and it sounds as if you do, my impression of tax is that it's a very chilled out specialty. (I shared an office as a first year with a woman who'd been a litigator for eight years, got sick of it, got an LLM, and was now a first-year tax associate. She seemed very happy.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-27-07 12:44 PM
horizontal rule
440

There are people who want to set up trusts for the benefit of their dog or whatever, and they actually have to be for the benefit of a person (legal or real); but a dog isn't a person.

I've never taken trusts and estates, but I've taken that stupid bar exam course which I better not have to redo, and this is not the case under New York law.

trusts and estates are here to stay

Not if Jeremy Bentham ever gets his way.

So let's say my friend is a very junior attorney at a law firm which is about to double in size in a merger of equals. What, if any, worries should my friend have about how the effect this will have on him or her?


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 09-27-07 12:53 PM
horizontal rule
441

how


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 09-27-07 1:15 PM
horizontal rule
442

What, if any, worries should my friend have about how the effect this will have on him or her?

I don't think any that s/he has anything effective to do anything about, and not much overall if she's really junior. The fungible cannon-fodder should mix fairly easily into a common pool.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-27-07 1:18 PM
horizontal rule