Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Get This Man a Client!

My husband is a litigator, which can be hard on a marriage. Litigators tend to get into litigation mode and have trouble getting out of it, and have a tendency to grill their relatives as if they're witnesses on the stand. What makes it worse is that I'm a lawyer too, and it's all too easy for me to get sucked into legal arguments - and anything can turn into a legal argument. I remember one of the first big arguments of our marriage was something about housecleaning, and we were having an extremely heated discussion (at the tops of our lungs) about whether failure to wash the dishes four weeks ago was within the statute of argument limitations, and, if so, whether by analogy failure to empty the litter boxes was also within the statute. And by introducing bad facts, was one opening the door to other evidence? Could one's character be rehabilitated by introduction of nice spousal deeds, or were those irrelevant to the argument at hand?

The house didn't exactly get clean, but by God did we apply the rules of evidence to every tiny detail of housekeeping and marriage.

Typically litigators are harder to live with when they're actively litigating (that is, in trial) because they're in litigator-mode all day and have trouble turning it "off" when they get home. My husband, however, is much harder to live with when he's not litigating. It's like he has a daily quota of litigation he has to get through, and if he can't take it out on clients and opposing parties, he takes it out on me.

So this past week, he's mostly been drafting pleadings and memos, not deposing clients or in court. I'm ready to run away, I swear. This is how most of this week has gone:

"Hey, sweetie, I heard this great joke - Why did the chicken cross the road?"


"To get away from Colonel Sanders!"

"That doesn't make sense. Did the chicken belong to him? If not, why was he chasing someone else's chicken? Aren't there chicken enclosure laws? Isn't the owner breaking municipal regulations by letting his chickens run free? What kind of chicken was it, and what was the value of the chicken ...." Ad nauseum. Very nauseum.

I can't tell a joke without having it litigated into the ground. I can't tell a story about my day without having it litigated into the ground: "I talked to Allison today." "In person, on your cell, or on your landline? Did you call her? Did she call you?" It takes twenty minutes to get to the important part of the story ("She's taken a job with a consulting firm.") because we spend the first twenty minutes with him questioning me to establish the background of this line of questioning. By then I usually forget why I started the story in the first place, or else I'm so mad I no longer want to tell him what I was going to tell him, just to be perverse.

If he doesn't go to court some time in the next week, I'm going to lose my mind. I keep thinking of that line from Clueless, "Daddy's a litigator. Those are the scariest kinds of lawyers. ... He's so good he gets paid five hundred dollars an hour just to fight with people, but he fights with me for free 'cause I'm his daughter."

Indeed. I'm so lucky. I married a litigator, so I get to fight for free.

It's a good thing he's hot.


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Angela said...

Oh Gawd do I feel your pain! I also married a lawyer. Our fights always dissolve into useless sidebars about past grievances. Wait until you have kids! I'm hoping battles with my hubby will serve me well during their teen years. When my oldest hit the "Why" stage - you know, they ask a question, you answer, they ask "Why?" over and over- I was actually able to gain hubby's sympathy. When he start to cross examine me regarding the productivity (or lack thereof) my day, I said, "Babe. Leave me alone. Your daughter DEPOSED me all day long." The guy poured me a glass of wine, drew me a bubble bath, and vacuumed the living room! On those rare occassions when my husband asks, "What did you DO today?" (Imagine a chaotic, sticky house strew with toys and kid debris.) I like to retort, "How many hours did you BILL today? When my hubby is aching for an oral argument and I'm not in the mood, I tend to say something to the effect of, "Honey, I don't feel like arguing now. Go argue with someone you can bill hourly for the privilege of being exposed to your superior intellect." That usually shuts him up. For a little while anyway. Good luck. Although, since you're both attorneys I think you might be hosed.

Eyebrows McGee said...

Oh, Angela, we're like soul-sisters.

I'm storing up your kick-ass retorts for future usage!

firefly said...

Ouch, I can just imagine. Patsfan is nowhere near as bad, though he does get into "ask questions about too many irrelevant details" mode. He also tends to *give* too many irrelevant details, when people ask him questions. Maybe he should've been a litigator. I think craps dealers must have some sort of weird ability to keep way too much trivial shit in their minds all at once, though, which is probably part of his issue. No brilliant suggestions here, just empathy.

ErickaJo said...

Jeesh, I'm glad mine is just computer geek.