Teach me a Lesson: Lie to me…I’ll Try Even Harder

Play this — it is soooooo silky smooth and sexy:

I am sorry but I am gonna say it. Tyrone lies to me.  He does.  He is faking me out.  He says ten more when it is 20 more. He tells me I have 10 more seconds when I have already done a minute.  He fakes me out, right and left.   It reminded me today of a great story from when I was first law clerking…about being faked out and how it makes you try even harder.

I worked in this office in a big city with a mean scary boss who everyone was terrified of. I was waiting for everyone to figure out that my acceptance to law school was some freak of nature, an accident and that I was indeed a fraud who should not have this clerkship.  I worked in this office along with a humorless girl named Betsy who was intense, serious and competitive.  What this translates to is she never laughed at any of my jokes, invited me to lunch with her — or even talked.  She worked seriously.  She took herself seriously. She wasn’t a bud. Or an ally.

I was given a reasearch assignment early on.  Off I went into the bowels of the law library to try my hardest to answer it fast.  But to no avail.  There simply was no law I could find on this issue.  Of course, I assumed it was my incompetence.  I must be seeing this issue wrong.  Looking in the wrong spot.  Framing the issue incorrectly.  I would find something slightly on point and xerox it and head back to the boss’s office.  There was Betsy (it would be more fun to call her “Bitsy” for this story) working her ass off. Never looking up at me.

I would march into the partner’s office and meekly knock on his door jamb.. and he would hardly look up from his desk. “Excuse me – but could this be what you are looking for?” grumble mumble something from under his breath — and a quick look at my mound of case-law.  “No.  Not it.  Keep looking.”

This went on for some time. Back in would go into the law library and desperately try to find the case-law that would mean the answer and my job.  Back I would go to the office, run into Bitsy and have the partner basically hurrumph mumble something about “nope not it”.

This pattern was peppered by many trips to the bathroom where I would cry.  How could I be so dumb and incompetent and why couldn’t I be a good little associate like Bitsy and why wasn’t I able to do this — and when wold they bust me on being a fraud??????

One day — after emerging from a particularly teary visit to the loo, Bitsy finally looked up at me and said “What are you working on” — No. It wasn’t from any kind of camaraderie or sense that I was suffering and she wanted to help me — let’s be straight about this.  It was her competitive beyotch-ness (love that new word, eh?).

I finally told her about this research project and guess what — humorless Bitsy laughed. Then she said “Oh, they make everyone do that assignment.  You are a first year associate so you are cheap and they can’t really bill your time anyway — there is no answer to that.  No one has been able to find it.  They get everyone to do it hoping someone will find it.”

All those tears for nothing.

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