Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Interlude: PKSD (Post-Kingsfield Stress Disorder)

"Snakes. Why did it have to be snakes?" 
                -- Dr. Henry Jones, Jr.

Or in my case, Contracts.

The Magnificent Seven (yes, there are still seven of us, surprisingly) are rounding the corner into the home stretch of paralegal classes. All that's left are a few huge, galumphing assignments, a smattering of final exams, and we will be crowned, not with laurels, but with Certificates. Yay. Go, us. Having conquered  Torts and Texas Procedures, we next take keyboard in hand to slay the beast known as Contracts. And I'm having flashbacks.

Some of them are pleasant enough. Widgets, for example. In Contracts hypotheticals, if there is a product being bought or sold, it is generally widgets. I always imagined them as looking like wing nuts (hardware, not political). Shiny, silver-colored, and always purchased in great numbers. Something one might fish out of one's pocket and fidget with during a boring lecture.

In addition to the widgets, I'm seeing old friends in my Contracts textbook: the Zehmers, who thought it would be fun to write a "joke" sales contract for their farm on the back of a restaurant guest check. Fairmount Glass which couldn't tell the difference between a price quote and a contract. The Minneapolis & St. Louis Railway, which needed to read offers from iron mills, not just answer them. Oldies but goodies, one and all.

But some of the flashbacks have been not so pleasant. My Contracts professor at Western California State School of Law at Swami's Point was a real pri- ahem -nce who said to me not once, but twice in the same meeting about my midterm exam, "This is Law School. I'm not going to spoon-feed you." Well, no risk of that with margin comments of "No," "Bad rule," and "Did you even read what you wrote?" in my bluebook. And that was, as they say, all he wrote. Those ten words. And more than that would have been "spoon-feeding?" I still can't decide whether he took a personal dislike to me, or was he merely continuing his contemptuous treatment of mere staff members. (I was one, and I had the temerity to try to rise above that lowly station and take law classes! Imagine!) Seriously, I tried to drag more information from him about "bad rule" by telling him that my review of my class notes, the textbook, my outline, and (horrors!) a purchased outline all agreed that that was indeed the rule. Clearly, I told him, if I was so far off, I must have a fundamental misunderstanding somewhere, and need help getting it corrected. That's when I was told he was not a delivery system for pablum.

Despite his best efforts, I did pass Contracts. With a nice, mediocre "C," but I passed. And when I dropped out of law school, I cheerfully threw away my Contracts notes. I neither peed on them nor wiped my ass with them, but either would not have been out of line with my feelings. And now giant, rusty, fanged widgets,  zombie Zehmers, and evil, smoke-belching 19th-century factories are all back. Laughing at me.

Is it just coincidence that the law school abbreviation for Contracts, "K," is the same as the baseball scorecard symbol for "strikeout?" I think not.


  1. "I always imagined them as looking like wing nuts (hardware, not political)."

    I always thought they looked like ball bearings, also silver and shiny, with a tendency to escape and roll all over the place. You know, like beads. Course a lot of things look like beads to this Jen.

  2. Weirdly, I also had the wingnut image in my head for widgets! Surely this must be traceable to something...