Dear Mr. Schaeffer:
I hope you think this is a problem, because I sure do. The senior partner of our firm, Mr. G-----, has taken to arriving at the office in shorts and an old t-shirt. Even worse, he looks and smells like he hasn’t showered in a month. Now I’m not a snob, but it sure gets on my nerves the way I’m expected to keep myself in expensive suits and nicely-polished shoes, while no one says a word when the senior partner arrives each morning dressed like a bum.
Actually, my problem is even worse than I’m letting on. It just so happens that my office is next to Mr. G-----’s, and two weeks ago, he told me with great enthusiasm that he’d taken up turkey hunting as a hobby. As he moved closer to explain, I backed up. But Mr. G----- followed me into my office anyway. He wanted to show me his “turkey call.” It’s very small, but it’s also very loud. I should know, since he’s been practicing it in the hallway in front of my office all day and night. Meanwhile, I’ve been trying to finish a memorandum in support of a motion to dismiss that’s due in just two weeks.
Two weeks! With all that racket, not to mention the horrible old-man smell, I’ve been making no progress at all. I don’t understand why no one at the law firm seems to care that a lunatic is roaming the halls. What do you think I should do?
Signed, Desperate in Detroit
Let’s be honest: all senior partners are quite eccentric. Short of hatching a plot to have Mr. G----- “snuffed out,” which is probably underway already at higher levels in your firm, I don’t see any way out of your quandary. But you have an even bigger problem of which you're not even aware: you’re using the senior partner’s eccentricities as an excuse not to finish an important writing project.
Why are you doing this? The reason is obvious. You are suffering from an intractable case of writer’s block.
Fortunately, the cause of writer’s block is always the same: a mistaken notion of self-entitlement, a touch of self-pity, and perhaps a lack of sleep. How can you cure your condition? Simply take your head and bang it on your desk until you either lose consciousness or come to grips with the fact that you, and you alone, must write the next sentence. Continue in this fashion, sentence by sentence, paragraph by paragraph, page by page, until your memorandum is complete.
Once it is, I guarantee that your senior partner’s eccentricities will cease to bother you. Meanwhile, his failure to attract a turkey in the office might cause him to venture out of your building and into the streets. With any luck, he’ll be struck by a delivery truck. All you can do is keep your fingers crossed.
Your friend, Evan Schaeffer
1. Advice to Young Lawyers #2 (Cheap Sunglasses)
2. The "Advice" Category--all previous advice posts