My lord, I have remembrances of yours,
That I have longed long to re-deliver;
I pray you, now receive them.
- Ophelia, Hamlet
It’s strange the things from law school that you remember, and the things you don’t. The morning after the Halloween party (dubbed the Fall Ball, because it never fell on Halloween) we had torts. I can’t even remember what day of the week it was. My best guess is Friday, since Thursday is a fairly common night for drinking and rabble rousing. But, it could have also been Monday.
I don’t even remember what the lecture for that torts class was. The only reason I remember having a torts class that day is because a student two rows in front of me vomited in class.
He didn’t even try to get out of the room. He just sat in his seat, and emptied the contents of his stomach onto the laptop and text book of the kid sitting next to him. If it had been any other student, I might not have remembered who it was, just as I don’t remember the victim in the incident. But, our classroom vomiter always had this sickly paleness about him. The way he looked, it’s amazing he ever made it through any class without blowing chunks.
The kid whose thousands of dollars of personal property had just been ruined was the one who had to stop class and explain that a fellow student was sick. It took the professor telling him that it was okay to leave to finally get him out of the classroom.
Not enough good sense to simply stay at home and sleep it off. Not enough good sense to leave the room when things turned south. And, not enough good sense, or human decency, to go get something to clean up his mess.
I’m sure this kid describes himself as “Type A.”
Some time earlier in the semester our Lawyering class did an exercise where half the class would play as lawyers interviewing a witness, played by the other half of the class. I was a witness.
After the lawyers were divided into plaintiff’s counsel and defense counsel, they left the room to review a printed background of their case. We witnesses stayed in the room and watched a two minute video shot in the school’s courtyard that we would then be questioned about. We knew we were going to be asked about it, so everyone was paying careful attention.
“Do you recall seeing a man carrying a box into the school?” I was asked.
“Are you sure?”
“Pretty sure. I remember two people sitting on a bench, and then someone walked by with a bike, but no, I don’t remember anyone with a box.”
“You’re sure you don’t remember someone carrying a box across a courtyard and then tripping near the stairs?”
“Yeah, pretty sure I didn’t see that.”
After the interviews, the class discussed how the incident was described by different witnesses. The box varied in size, from one foot cube to three feet cubed. Some said he tripped on the stairs, others said he tripped on a wooden dolly, and someone said he tripped on a bicycle.
I was the only one who said I didn’t see a man with a box at all.
The witnesses had all been in the same room, had all seen the same video. So, I threw out a theory, that my account of the events was true, and the memory of the man with the box had been planted by leading questions. The attorneys all had read the account by the man who tripped, and helped their witness fill in the blanks.
A bit of a wild theory, yes, but we knew the point of the exercise was to demonstrate how unreliable eye witness testimony can be. So unreliable as to create a person and a box out of thin air?
One other student said that he was now unsure of what he’d seen, and thought my theory was plausible.
We watched the video, and sure enough, a man carrying a box walked across the courtyard and tripped on a dolly. But, the fact that I’d convinced another witness that he maybe hadn’t seen it proved the point of the exercise.
The night of the Fall Ball a bunch of students from my Lawyering section met in one of the nicer dorm rooms for some pre-gaming. And by “pre-gaming” I mean choking on a beer when the hot girl walked in wearing just chaps, a cowboy hat, and a tiny bikini.
The Fall Ball was of course a costume party, and I guess her costume was “Daddy Issues.”
I don’t really remember many of the other costumes. There were two Hunter S. Thompsons a la Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, one of whom looked far more the part than the other, but nothing else really stands out in my memory. And I don’t just mean costume wise, I mean for the whole evening. There were kegs, I think wine, some crappy food, and even crappier decorations.
The last thing I remember from the party was peeing on myself a bit as I got back home (I blame the elevator for being too damn slow). But, the second to last thing I remember was making out with some girl on the balcony. I had no idea who. Couldn’t describe her hair color, costume, anything.
There were other people around, and law school is a gossipy place. So, on my way to class I found one of the more social guys in my Lawyering section and asked if he knew who I’d made out with the night before.
“Not a clue,” he said. “Was she at least cute?”
“I don’t know.”
“That’s a very brave answer.”
I am a very bad witness.
Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio: a fellow
of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy: he hath
borne me on his back a thousand times; and now, how
abhorred in my imagination it is!