The Son And Heir
I had an e-mail this morning from Eric Marfin. Eric is a second year law student at the University of Notre Dame. The job market being what it is for future lawyers he was excited at the idea of making a living catching Pythons in the Florida Everglades. This is a high risk/high reward proposition. The reason the Burmese Python all but disappeared from what used to be Burma is because the Python skin was found to be a wonderful leather for all kinds of goods. Marfin could do worse than this trade. Still, there is an element of danger to the job. No one who went into the law practice was ever constricted to death by an 18 foot snake. At least not in the courtroom.
Eric worked for us this summer. That is he had almost all the indicia of having a job here. The one he did not have (pay) was a pretty important one, but at least there was no snake handling involved. Eric’s job was a classic win/win situation. The firm won by getting a lot of hard work out of him, then the firm won by getting the work for free. See ? win/win. I like to think that Eric learned a lot here in his apprenticeship role. I also like to think I am “Movie Star” handsome. Sometimes I delude myself.
At any rate I did not write about Eric this summer because I had too much respect for him and also, I thought if I did he might leave the job and my senior partner would not have anyone to remind him of where his next arbitration was located. William has been known (honest) to get on a plane for a Corpus Christi hearing and end up in Nashville. But I digress.
The main reason I did not write about Eric is that it took me the better part of a week not to be freaked out by him. None of this was his fault. I am a long time friend of his fathers and when his dad and I were around Eric’s age we spent a lot of time together. I don’t see Eric’s dad all that much anymore and so my mental image of him is the way he looked and sounded as a College and Graduate student. For my usual slothful reasons, I had not been around Eric very much as he was growing up so I had not paid attention to the fact that he turned out a carbon copy of his dad, in just about every respect that a superficial guy like me can see. So the first day Eric came in I had him into my office and as we were sitting at the table talking, strong waves of déjà vu overpowered me. It was literally one of the freakiest moments of my life. I could not distinguish between Eric and the old image of his Dad. I had to cut the meeting short to convince myself that I was not back on Harold Street in Houston drinking bad red wine and laughing about the George McGovern campaign. Now I know that you may see a little hyperbole in this blog from time to time, but this is not it. This was sort of like an out of body experience seeing myself and Eric’s father as 24 year olds again.
How does this kind of stuff happen ? One minute you are happy and stoned on a couch, reading a Kurt Vonnegut book. The next minute you look up and you are talking to the adult child of the guy that had been sitting next to you, and he’s in law school at Note Dame. That thirty five years that has gone by has vanished with the wind, leaving you fatter and grayer and not really all that much smarter. Then you think to yourself, thirty five years, that’s not all that long, until you stop and add thirty five years to your present age. It is then you realize that you are no longer even middle aged. Most people don’t live to be 112, so I’m probably safe in saying that I am on the way down the hill (although, like Sisyphus I always seem to be pushing a large rock uphill, go figure).
So there you have it. I have managed to turn another blog away from the main topic and back to my usual lament about aging. It’s funny though, I never believed when I was young that your children would give you some sense of immortality, the survival of the line. They do though. It’s easier to get old if you watch your child living a good life. It is especially easy to get old if you think that you can count on that child to financially support you in your dotage. I know I’m certainly counting on that. Hope you are listening Stacey.