Ed. note: Gradenfreude is a new series chronicling a recent law school graduate’s life after attending an unranked school. Feel free to email the author at TristanTaylorThomas@gmail.com, and he’ll respond ASAP. After all, it’s not like he has anything better to do.

When you are unhappy with your job, you have to take joy in the simpler things in life. For me, sometimes that’s just kicking back and enjoying a relaxing evening of good television. Yes, I have a television, but I also live in my parents’ house, so technically, it’s their television. Whatever.

I planned on watching TV on Sunday night, but unfortunately, something that was said at work stuck with me. During one of my breaks this week, where I sat in a windowless back room with less natural light than a prison, I met a new employee who recently graduated from college, and we were exchanging job-search horror stories. A fellow coworker walked in and overheard me talking to about how much my current job sucked, and he retorted, “Oh, the plight of a law school graduate in 2012.”

That completely ruined my night — so much so that, when at the end of the latest episode of “The Simpsons” the characters asked viewers to submit their own ideas for the opening “couch gag,” my mind instantly went to Lisa reenacting the quest of going to law school, and the life that it can lead to in today’s economy.

This is what I submitted….

After Homer flies through the door, we open on adult Lisa getting her treasured acceptance letter from law school, but unfortunately, it is from “Springfield School of Law,” a law school that ranks itself as the second-best in the nation. She has Bart and Homer pack up her car and move her into her new place. She reads all the assignments on every syllabus during orientation week. Lisa goes to her first class, and begins gunning before the professor can complete her first sentence.

Lisa walks the halls of the school, and her classmates all gossip about her as she passes. She spends all day in the law library, getting pulled out by security each day. She develops a Jessie Spano-esque addiction to caffeine pills and Adderall, but it pays off and she gets onto law review. Her article gets published, and Homer and Marge get a copy in the mail. It is their proudest moment, but they will be the last people to ever care. Lisa graduates summa cum laude, and is excited about the direction of her life.

After graduation, Lisa begins sending out her résumé, but after failing to get a job, she decides to hang up her own shingle. Tumbleweed blows through her office at her parents’ house. Then, suddenly, an ambulance races by the house, and she bolts out the front door. Lisa gets on her bike, but doesn’t have time to properly strap on her helmet, so it flies off her head. She briefly feels conflicted about violating the state’s helmet law.

The ambulance runs a red light, and Lisa is still hot on its heels. But then, a drunken Barney hits her as he passes through the intersection. When she wakes up in the hospital, she takes out the IV, unplugs all the machines, and runs away from all the hospital. A nurse runs after her, waving a bill in the air. As it turns out, Lisa doesn’t have insurance… oops.

The first thing Lisa does is go to the police station, where she asks Barney if he needs representation. He asks her where she went to law school, laughs drunkenly when she responds, burps, and then says, “I’ll take my chances with a public defender.”

To make ends meet, Lisa begins working at the Kwik-E-Mart, taking orders from all eight of Apu’s children. Snake Jailbird and his son rob the Kwik-E-Mart, and Lisa is fired. Lisa begins drinking heavily to mask the pain of the failure that her life has become, but at least that makes her feel like she’s a real lawyer.

Lisa is shown with Marge and Homer in the kitchen trying to pay a mountain of bills and law school debt. Bart and Maggie walk in, hand over their tip money, and then go back to their respective table-waiting jobs. The calendar is shown in the background, and the camera zooms in for a close-up of a date circled. Fast forward a few weeks, and Mr. Burns is seen purchasing the Simpsons’ home during a foreclosure auction.

At the end of the segment, the family is shown sitting on the couch, but it is tattered. We then see that the couch is actually in an alleyway, and the Simpsons are all covered in their own filth. As a car passes, Lisa jumps to her feet and holds up a sign: “Will review documents for food.”

Does this make me sound bitter?


When not writing about life after law school for Above the Law, Tristan Taylor Thomas (not his real name) works at a retail job stocking shelves — which he admits is slightly better than being a shoeshiner. You can reach him by email at TristanTaylorThomas@gmail.com.


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