I don’t wish to be indelicate (gotcha; those words guarantee an audience as surely as “Viewer Discretion Advised”), but it’s increasingly difficult to venture out of your house and not step into a pile of . . . lawyer droppings.
Neither can you drink a cup of coffee; buy a garden hose, wheelbarrow, or power tool; install a computer program; take a pill; or breathe—without encountering what might more politely be called “lawyer litter.”
Maybe it could just as easily be called “jury junk.”
Don’t you find it desirable that your McDonald’s coffee be hot? Good. Me, too. But, famously, that most fatuous of juries awarded a pile of fool’s gold to a woman who should have taken her coffee cold. Now every cup of McDonald’s java, and most other brands, has lawyer droppings on its side.
It never occurred to me when I bought a garden hose months ago that it might be invigorating to jam that thing down my throat and turn the water on full blast. No, but the lawyer litter printed on the tag seemed to indicate that somebody must have done just that—and then won a lawsuit. What’s more dangerous? A hose or a fool?
And surely you’ve heard the recent story about the stylish dingbat who ran out of hair spray and decided to use Gorilla Glue® spray adhesive—with predictable results. Could anyone be so dim-witted? Oh, yes! And I hear that she’s considering suing the company. Everyone’s a victim; even if we’re our own victims, somebody should pay, right? Don’t count the jury out; they may turn out to be more dense than the adhesive in the dimwit’s hair.
Journalist—and attorney— Catherine Crier once wrote an entire book about this sort of idiocy: “The law must be fair,” she writes. “It is not. A cigarette smoker gets cancer then collects billions of dollars because he can’t kick the habit while some pathetic drug addict goes to prison.”
She goes on: “The law must be reasonable. It is not.” And she mentions the label on a 13-inch wheelbarrow wheel: “Not intended for highway use.” Hmm. Or even crazier, the label on an electric router: “This product not intended for use as a dental drill.” Hmm. Dewalt® toothpaste?
To install a computer program, you’ve got to click “I accept,” referring to lawyer litter nobody reads and everybody, with a single mouse click, lies about reading.
I’d love to be able to watch TV and not spend half of the time enduring commercials about drugs designed to fight, well, some alphabet malady like PBL (Persistent Belly-button Lint). Moderate to severe. I guess I’m supposed to rush to my doctor to beg for anti-PBL drugs. I liked it better when he just prescribed what he thought best. But at least I’m warned about side effects such as itching, rash, oily discharge (my favorite), etc. I’m that under no circumstances should I take a drug I’m allergic to, though I’m left wondering how I can initially find that out. And I might die a terrible death because of this stuff, but the folks in the commercial seem incredibly happy—yea, verily, perky—in the midst of their maladies and the medicines that sound even worse.
I don’t wish to make fun of misery, but is anyone’s life complete these days without some three-letter-abbreviated malady and its corresponding and incredibly expensive medication, usually with three syllables, usually with the em-pha’-sis on the second? A book I recently read said that we have enough rare diseases—I think it said about 117 well-catalogued maladies, at least on that particular pernicious list—that any individual’s sad chances of coming up with a rare disease are actually pretty darn good. Or bad. And I figure the chances are about 90 percent that if I get a rare disease, it’ll be an XYZ three-letter malady.
Anyway, I once made a list of 25-30 trendy drug names from those annoying commercials (it didn’t take long to hear about dozens, along with their ghastly side effects), wrote them on cards, cut up the cards, divided them into three piles of first, second, and third syllables, and then reassembled them at random. They still all sound the same. Sensdistra. Litavtor. Alvanpril. Eljanztix. Trexlicort. Viliquin. Remdaxia. (Apologies if I’ve actually appropriated some company’s actual snake oil name.)
I have some great friends and family members who are lawyers. Good ones are great. I like them. And when you need one, you really need one. But not the litter.
Ah, well. We might as well admit to having more in common with our news-making dim-witted fellow humans than we’d care to recognize. Still, it’s probably best for us not to waste much time shaking our heads at pandemic-level MBF (mind-boggling foolishness) and the attendant lawyer litter.
Instead, let’s focus on that which is good and true and beautiful. God’s love and joy and delight are everywhere if we’ll keep our eyes open to look.
Lawyer Litter: Copyright 2021 by Curtis K. Shelburne. Permission to copy without altering text or profiteering is hereby granted subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.