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, Way Worse Than Being A Dentist, is available on Amazon, as is his previous book, Life is a Brief Opportunity for Joy (affiliate links).
I participated recently in a panel discussion at a conference, speaking with other lawyer/blogger types in front of an audience consisting largely of people from law firms and law schools. After we finished, I did the decent thing and sat and listened to the panel that followed mine. I happened to choose an empty seat next to a woman who introduced herself to me later as a dean at a law school, in charge of career placement, or whatever the euphemism is for trying to find students non-existent jobs. The law school was a small one — yes, one of those dreaded “third tier” places.
She confronted me afterwards. “I guess I’m the bad guy, huh?”
I was startled by her candor, but I knew what she meant. This was one of those people from a third tier law school — the greedy cynical fraudsters signing kids up for worthless degrees, then leaving them high and dry, unemployed and deeply in debt.
Despite her participation in crimes against humanity, I had to admit she didn’t seem so bad, in person.
Then I snapped back to my senses — and went on the attack, assuming my sacred role as The People’s burning spear of vengeance….
“At very least, you have to admit the tuition is too high,” I vituperated.
“Don’t talk to me about tuition,” she rejoined. “It’s the tenured faculty — that’s where that money’s going.”
She took a step closer and lowered her voice, taking me into her evil confidence.
“I’ll tell you what I’m looking at. I’ve got to find kids jobs — that’s it, my assignment. Here’s how bad it’s gotten. Someone called the other day and said, ‘I’m getting evicted — you have to find me something, anything.’”
Her face looked dead serious. She wanted The People’s burning spear of vengeance to hear this.
“I called in every favor — I called everyone I knew. What more can I do?”
I acknowledged her point, grudgingly. Maybe this was a lesser villain. Perhaps some vestige of good remained in her corrupted, blackened soul.
“The best thing,” she continued, “and it’s going to happen — will be a bunch of schools shrink their class sizes or close down completely.”
She paused while we mutually processed the implications — namely, that she’d lose her job.
“That would be the best thing,” she repeated for emphasis, as though daring me to believe her. I did.
I left the conference chewing over the big question: If that lady I’d just met and chatted with was Lucifer herself, then she failed to convince. In which case, who’s left? Who is the Great Satan?