Monday, April 29, 2013

So What's Not To Love?

A number of years ago I had a client who was a lawyer with the City Attorney's office. I'll call him David C.

David and I got along very well. He was a commodities trader. We spoke numerous times throughout the trading day and we would meet nearly every afternoon after the market closed for a five mile run through Balboa park.

We would speak right at the close of the market, then I would hustle over to the San Diego Athletic Club to change into my running gear. I'd then jog up to our meeting spot and we would set off on our run.

We shared many stories and conversations during those hour long runs. The topics of our chats ranged from Seinfeld to Sisyphus.  One day we were sharing war stories about our fathers. Mine was getting on in age at the time. His had passed away a few years ago.

Both of us had what you might call temperamental Jewish fathers. My dad, for example, had on a number of occasions lost patience with waiters in restaurants. I shared with David that I had many memories of following my dad as he lost his temper and stormed out of any number of eateries. The issue was always the same. My father would request his beer be served at the same time as the main course. Any time the waiter would bring the beer early my dad would get pissed and we would all follow in tow as he stormed out. It was his contention that this was the establishment's way of trying to sell him more liquor.

Now David told me his own story of his father's crotchety ways.

His father was a short stout man. Retired from owning and running parking lots in Los Angeles. In his later years of retirement he'd purchased a meal card at a local restaurant, also in LA. He paid $100 for ten meals. Half way through the allotted number of meals the restaurant owner, who was also an attorney informed the elder Mr. C that due to his rude and abusive behavior he was no longer welcome to eat there. The owner refunded the balance of the unused meal card, $50.

Mr. C demanded not only the amount offered, but the entire $100. The owner refused. Offended by this action Mr. C called his son, my friend and client, David in San Diego. Remember, David too, is an attorney.

David, knowing all to well his father's ornery ways curtly dismissed his father's claims and told him to drop it, he didn't have a case.

A few years later Mr. C passed away. The matter was all but forgotten.

That is until one night David was home watching TV. He happened to be watching The People's Court. You know…Judge Wapner and Doug Llewellen.

Dave sat there casually watching this cheesy show when all of a sudden his jaw dropped and his eyes bulged. To his horror and disbelief, like watching a slow motion train wreck out comes the now deceased Mr. C and the attorney/restauranteur for the next case.

David could not believe what he was seeing.

Judge Wapner proceeds to hear the case, first from Mr. C's side then from the proprietor's. if you've ever seen The People's Court you may recall Jydge Wapner always held a soft spot in his heart for the elderly. And so it went. The judge heard out Mr. C's side of things patiently then he turned to the younger defendant for his side. This guy starts going on about how rude and abusive his customer was and why he booted him from his place. The judge became irritated saying this had no bearing on the case and quickly awarded the case to Mr. C.

Upon exiting the court room Mr. C was met, as was the custom by the ever friendly Doug Llewellen. "So, Mr. C, congratulations. What would you like to say about this case and the verdict?"

My friend is sitting with his mouth wide open there in the darkness of his den as his now deceased father looks at the camera and says, "my son is a big shot lawyer in San Diego. He told me I didn't have a case and I should forget it."

I'd say David easily had me beat with this one.

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