Dear Mr. Schaeffer:
I've lost faith in our country’s system of legal education. What's to blame? I blame the “non-traditional” law student, and specifically, a certain 1L in my contracts class who goes by the name of “Wheels.”
Wheels must be pushing sixty. But once you get past the long hair, dark sunglasses, and body piercings, Wheels is one of the most interesting people I’ve ever met. According to the stories Wheels loves to tell the rest of the class during my lectures, he was once friends with many of the motorcyclists featured in Hunter S. Thompson's book Hell’s Angels. Personally, I’ve never read the Thompson book, and that’s part of my problem. After getting to know Wheels last semester, I’m starting to realize there are lots of things I haven’t yet experienced.
Here’s the rest of my problem. For the past few months, Wheels has been bringing in tins of homemade chocolate-chip cookies that he passes out during my lectures. Although the snacking really makes it hard for me to control the class—recently, a group of students has even taken to bringing in coolers of milk—I must admit that all of my students are much more relaxed, happy, and open-minded when eating the cookies, which Wheels says are made from a recipe he learned from a “dope-peddling bike wench” back in the 1960s.
None of this would matter very much, except that as soon as we started the second semester, Wheels announced to the class that he’s had enough of law school and is quitting to become a ski lift operator. Much to my surprise, he asked me to go with him. Would I be insane if I said yes? The more I think about it, I just don’t think contracts is where it’s at. Why not tell my students—non-traditional and otherwise—that all they really need to know about contracts is that they should learn to share? After that, I’ll head off to the mountains with Wheels and his chocolate-chip cookies. Although my wife might miss me, I think I’ll finally be fulfilled. What do you think?
Signed, Finally Digging It in Delaware
Dear Finally Digging It:
Fulfillment is very important. I remember a time in my life when I was sitting on a plush, mauve-colored sofa sometime very close to New Years Eve, pretending that I was an astronaut who had just lifted off for the moon. Thinking back on it, I’m pretty sure I’d just eaten some of the same chocolate-chip cookies you described. Either that, or it was a tab of acid. As I felt the G-forces take my breath away, I started to make loud wooshing noises just like the astronauts themselves must experience shortly after lift off. Next, I slowly lifted my feet off the floor and held them there. They were floating in the air. I had reached zero gravity. As I began to let my arms float freely in the same manner as my feet, I thought about how sad it was that our country had missed out on having T. Evan Schaeffer fly one of its supersonic experimental spaceships. It practically made me cry.
After that, I don’t remember much of anything. I guess I fell asleep. And it’s a good thing I did, because if I’d kept it up, I might have gone on to hurt somebody. Let’s be honest. In my more rational moments, I realize that my navigating a spaceship is entirely out of the question. In a similar way, I don’t think that you should be operating a ski lift. I mean, you’re just a law professor. Stick to what you know and the rest of the world will be better off.
In summary, I don’t know how your wife is going to feel about my advice, but I strongly suggest you decline the invitation from Wheels. Although I must admit, he does sound like a very interesting character, and I would love to try his cookies.
Your friend, Evan Schaeffer
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3. The "Advice" Category--all previous advice posts