Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Not Every Day?

My law clerks are cuter than all the kittens and puppies on the internet.  Every semester I get a new wide-eyed student to help me in the self-help center.  The students sit in on client interviews and then help clients navigate the computer to draft their own court documents.  The students provide needed support to sort documents and make copies.  The students come from a variety of backgrounds and there is a period of adjustment as they interact with low income clients with limited literacy, addiction or abuse issues, homelessness, religion and ethnicity.
A new clerk started Monday.  She is kind, smart and enthusiastic.  She sat in on several very difficult interviews – crying, anger, confusion and helplessness were quickly the theme of the day.  We had several different language and cultural barriers to deal with.  Our waiting room backed up as we met with clients and helped them as best we could.  We had computer technology issues.  It was a day that left me exhausted, but I am used to this sort of thing.  Finally all the clients were helped and we closed the doors until the next time.  We were wrapping the afternoon paperwork up as I checked in with her about her experience that afternoon.  “It’s not always like this,” I assured her.  “It’s sort of like MASH.  The helicopters land and the wounded come out and we don’t know if we’re going to deal with shrapnel in the head or the belly until we literally get in there.  Our job is to patch them up with our limited resources and get them back out on the street as best we can.”  Her sweet face smiled at me in a patient way.  “You’ve never seen MASH, have you?”  She shook her head.
My more experienced clerk stuck his head in the door.  “Hey, since I wasn’t here at the holidays because of finals I brought in a gift for everyone now.”  He pulled a giant bottle of tequila out of his backpack and we laughed as I high fived him.               
“Sometimes we have margaritas on Fridays,” I explained.
“Not every day?” she asked.
Yeah, she’s going to do just fine.  
I once dressed up as Radar O'Reilly for Halloween.  It occurs to me that I have become Hawkeye Pierce.  I am ok with that.