Friday, May 15, 2009

I don't consider myself a funny person, but every once in a while, I'll crack a joke that will make people laugh.  The weird thing is, I seem to do it at the time when I would think I would be most shy and inhibited. 

As a first year associate, I was assigned to cover a few depositions in which we represented one of about two dozen companies that had been sued.  If the plaintiff had lined up the defendants in order of importance, our client would probably have been around number 20.  The depositions were tortuously long affairs, with dozens of lawyers in dark suits sitting around long conference tables, while one or two droned on, asking questions for hours.  The rest of us kept only one ear open so that we could blurt out the obligatory "Objection!" whenever our respective clients' names were mentioned, regardless of the question.  The rest of time we doodled, or daydreamed, or read the paper.

The partner I was working for, though, suggested I might want to ask one or two questions, to establish that the deponent didn't really know which product of our client's was supposedly involved.  When it came time for me to ask my two questions,somehow, with 20 lawyers looking down the long conference table at me, and the stenographer typing every word into her computer, I managed to crack a joke.  A pretty mild, friendly one, aimed at the plain silliness of the question I had asked ("You didn't memorize the item numbers of every one of dozens of products from ten years ago?")  But why right then?  Sometimes it still comes to me that somewhere in some transcript, amid hours of boring testimony, there's my little joke and the notation "(Laughter)", and I'm still embarrassed.

No comments: