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So I was invited to a rock concert in California with a couple of young, “normal” partners. Presumably it was because I expressed interest in the music (and would have attended anyway).
What is the expected protocol for concert attendance in this type of social setting? Am I expected to pre-party with them or offer to drive? I don’t want to be known as the office Bogart.
– Rolling Another Billable
Dear Rolling Another Billable,
Make no mistake, these junior partners invited you to this “rock” concert to see if you have that je ne sais quoi it takes to make partner. After all, any schmuck with a pen can draft a purchase agreement, but only a true partner-track associate knows all the lyrics to The Scientist and can ROCK OUT to Ants Marching. This concert is the most important night of your law firm career thus far, and if you’re not going to screw it up, you’re going to need a few pointers…
Why should you take my advice on concert etiquette? Let’s just say that a few weeks ago I suffered a concussion. By falling off a stage. While headbanging. To Slash’s guitar solo. In Sweet Child O Mine. During karaoke. AND I GOT BACK UP AND FINISHED THE SONG. Um, yeah.
When you’re going to the concert, it’s important to start off the evening on the right foot. Offer to drive the partners to the show in your Jeep. Make sure stock the trunk with Bartles & Jaymes, Sparks, Ed Hardy Energy drinks and other high-end beverages that partners like. Show them you’re thinking ahead by bringing condoms for everyone and empty Poland Spring bottles to fill with Crystal Skull vodka and sneak into the show.
You should, of course, wear a concert t-shirt from five years ago to make it seem like you’re actually there for the music and not just desperate to hang out with partners, and then purchase a new concert tee at the show and switch into it halfway through. It goes without saying that during the show itself you should: text the entire time, call your college roommate during a power ballad and hold up the phone, pass around naked pictures of your girlfriend/wife on your Blackberry, bitch about what a dick your officemate is, wonder aloud why your dealer isn’t getting back to you, talk about the time you went on Phish tour, and call the managing partner “a total herb.” The next morning, send a follow-up email to the gang recapping the set list and attaching blurry pics and asking people to indicate which ones they do NOT want posted on Facebook.
Congratulations, you’ve successfully navigated the minefield that is a law firm social outing. Now all you’ve got to do is sit back, refresh your browser, and wait for the partnership offer to roll in.
Yeah, I’m not going to let that karaoke thing lie. I was at said karaoke event (Elie + Better Man = pure gold), and Marin is underselling the sheer hilarity of what took place. First of all Marin is, max, two feet tall. She’s a pixie. She looks like she should be singing Tori Amos or Jewel or something. So watching this little white girl hop up on stage to sing Crazy Train (her first song) and Sweet Child is kind of amazing. And she belts these numbers out, it’s awesome. But she can also dance really, really well. And you’ll note that both of those songs feature long guitar interludes, great for Rock Band, but usually a karaoke killer. But since she’s attractive and can dance so well, she’s got like full routines up there, and the crowd gets really into it.
So she’s up there, doing her thing, and half the bar is up near the stage dancing with her (which usually doesn’t happen during open mic karaoke) and I can barely see her (I’m seated at this point). And then, whoosh, Marin just disappears, head first off the stage, like there was a trap door or something. And everything stops except for the face of the karaoke MC who kind of goes into a flurry of CHECK YOU LIABILITY SHIELD facial contortions. Nobody helps her up (least of all me; for about two seconds all your could hear was Slash and me laughing), and Marin, who I now refer to as Super Trooper, gets back up and goes right back into her dance as if nothing happened.
She finishes the song, sits back down, and spends the next 20 minutes swearing to me that she didn’t have a concussion. She was wrong…
So, the lesson from this story for our questioner is: don’t pull a Marin. Unless you pull a Marin. In which case you simply must respond to it like Marin.
You follow me?
You should do everything in your power to avoid an embarrassing situation like falling off a stage (pre-concussion Marin), groping a bouncer (post-concussion Marin), or getting into a fight with a Wachtell associate about how Above the Law is the most important running legal dialogue since the Talmud (I wasn’t exactly what the doctors call “sober” on this particular evening).
But, if you do find yourself in an unfortunate situation, you simply must power through. The partners will respect your tenaciousness. Feel shame on your own time. When you’re with the partners, you can’t let them feel uncomfortable because of your mishap. There is no embarrassment but thinking makes it so.
If you boot, you must rally.
– Eddie Vedder
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