Ed. note: This post is by Will Meyerhofer, a former Sullivan & Cromwell attorney turned psychotherapist. He holds degrees from Harvard, NYU Law, and The Hunter College School of Social Work, and he blogs at The People’s Therapist. His new book, Life is a Brief Opportunity for Joy, is available on Amazon (affiliate link).
Two guys from my high school. One year apart.
Hipster… and Lawyer.
Hipster plays in jazz band with Lawyer. They have the same academic advisor, and fall into a casual friendship.
Hipster has trouble in school. He plays drums and guitar, but struggles to maintain the grades. It’s nothing to do with behavior – everyone likes him. The academic advisor does his best, but after failing a few courses, Hipster’s expelled. He ends up bouncing from school to school, and manages to graduate, then heads to a halfway-decent state university known for partying. He spends most of his year there jamming with his buddies and soon drops out. They start a rock band, smoke dope, wear tie-dye, collect Grateful Dead tapes and call each other “dude.”
Lawyer thinks it’s a shame Hipster got kicked out of school. His own grades are A’s. He wins academic prizes, a scholarship to study in England, and advanced placement at Harvard, where he graduates magna cum laude. He heads to a first-tier law school, and places near the top of his class. An offer arrives from a white-shoe law firm.
Stop the tape…
We know what happens next:
Hipster grows a beer belly, loses the tie-dye and winds up working in a call center. He moves into his old bedroom at home and turns morose. His parents mumble excuses about dyslexia.
Lawyer makes partner and earns a million six. He purchases a loft in SoHo, a little country place upstate, and a vintage Porsche. His parents seek opportunities to smugly mention his doings to their friends, who hate them for it.
Here’s what actually happens.