Dear Mr. Schaeffer:
I’m writing using a pseudonym, but even if I were to use my real name you probably wouldn’t know me. And that’s a shame. For years, I’ve slaved away at my law firm, virtually building it from the ground up with my own hands. Now we have more than 300 attorneys. In a firm with at least fifty senior partners, I’m the most senior. I’ve been able to create this vast institution and still have time for my favorite hobby, which is building tiny ships inside of glass bottles.
Recently, some of the other partners and I were sitting in my office after work, complaining about the way that we are virtually unknown even though we’re some of the most tenacious attorneys in our part of the state. We came up with an idea: a monument. It doesn’t necessarily have to feature our likenesses, but it should capture the essence of what it means to be extremely successful attorneys. We’re going to set it up in front of our law firm. Do you have any ideas about what our monument should depict? And if you think I should be in it, do you think my likeness should be chiseled out of marble or granite?
Signed, Waiting to Sit for an Artist in Atlanta
Dear Waiting to Sit for an Artist:
I remember being in Chicago a few years ago during its wonderful cow-decorating contest. A number of artists started with the same statue of a cow, then painted the cows according to their own personal style. The decorated cows were then scattered all over downtown Chicago. I had quite a time looking at them.
I’m thinking of a similar idea for the monument you plan for yourself and your partners. But I don’t think a cow is quite appropriate. I’m thinking more along the lines of a donkey, which in many parts of the country is called an “ass.” But not just any ass will suffice. I’m thinking of a giant ass at least three stories tall. Around its neck you can hang some of those ships-in-a-bottle you have sitting on your mantle. When the wind blows, they will make a pleasant chime-like sound.
As for granite or marble, either will do. Be sure to spend plenty of time with the artist so he can get all the details right. Once he is finished making an ass out of you, purchase a plaque to set at its base. Inscribe it this way: “A warning for all lawyers: When you begin taking yourself too seriously, this is what happens to you.”
Although I don’t expect you and your partners to like my idea very much, the rest of the world will love it. In fact, it might finally bring you the fame you deserve. Good luck.
Your friend, Evan Schaeffer
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