Sunday, July 24, 2005

Down and Out in Laurel Canyon

It's Sunday morning, 1am. Two days before the bar exam. I can't sleep. Insomnia always comes with stress like this, for me- that and a stomach that can barely tolerate air. I dragged my husband to a Vietnamese hole-in-the-wall in North Hollywood because Pho Ga was the only thing I could possibly imagine digesting without a great deal of pain. 5 hours on, we're doing well. Anyway.

I promised myself I wouldn't blog but I had to tell you about some of the little hidden gems I've found among this heap of bar-knowledge-dung. Let me tell you, my head is so full of crap right now I can barely remember my mother's name- but some of it, little bits of it, are fun. Because studying for the bar means learning obscure bits of law that you pass over quickly in school while under the tutelage of professors who are more interested in, say, Fifth Amendment Takings or whatever.

Law in America, and I don't mean grand, important law, not the stuff you read about in the paper, not Lawrence v. Texas or Holmes' dissent in Lochner or even O'Connor's garbled section of the Casey plurality- I mean daily county courthouse American law- is full of ghosts. Yes, I know it's melodramatic, but it's fucking 1am, ok, and in 2 days I have to take a three-full-day exam that's going to seriously kick my ass, so cut me some goddamn slack- what was I saying? Oh yes. Ghosts. Not ghosts so much as dusty old papers in some drawer in the secretary's office. Bad, dated novels that you'll never read in English class. But with our system of stare decisis and adherence to precedent, this stuff endures much, much longer than it should in a modern welfare state. What do I mean: I mean common law murder. Homicide committed- get this- "with an abandoned, malignant heart." You can go to jail for having such a monster within your breast. You'll serve slightly less time, but be incarcerated nonetheless, for crimes committed "with malice aforethought." Real Property boasts the fee tail- an estate you devise to "heirs of the blood." In tort, you commit slander per se if you disseminate untruths impugning on a woman's chastity. Or insinuating that your business partner has "a loathsome disease." (Unless he really does have a loathsome disease and then you're off the hook. Bad luck for the leper two cubicles over). This stuff is seriously the law. It's what I've been learning for this ridiculous exam. It's Edgar Allen Poe, or his slightly less talented cousin, peeking out of our law books.

Here's something else I've learned on this nerve wracking two month journey. If I die right now, I'll die intestate. I do, however, know "the objects of my bounty," and if my husband were to die with me, I'd leave the balance of my estate to my parents. If they happened to be dead, it'd go to "their issue." And so on, until escheat. The legal word for infinity.

I've been wanting to commit to paper l'histoire de ma famille. Why does it always sound better in French? My family is something out of a Walpole novel. Or ok, Philip Roth. Cross Philip Roth with Hugh Walpole with John Irving and you've got the Noisettes. I could give Greek Tragedy quite a run for her money. The only girl at Barnard not accepted into a sorority? Boo fucking hoo. Suck on us, Stephanie Klein. I'll show you tragedy. I'll show you abandoned and malignant. But I suppose, after all, people don't want me and my family. People want a girl who's had it kinda bad lately and loves rainy days and grilled cheese sandwiches. Let's take comfort in a slightly more glamorous version of ourselves. We could BE Stephanie Klein, if we had a little more money and maybe a little less pride.

But I don't think I could be Stephanie Klein. First of all, I'm kind of a dork (QED- what I just wrote). Second, I'm more of a cat person. Third, my great-great uncle was Leon Trotsky. That's right, my droogies, Trotsky of 1917-Stalin-chased-him-out-Snowball-in-"Animal Farm"-screwed-around-with-Frieda-Kahlo-icepick-to-the-head Trotsky. His name was actually Bronstein, and he was my great-grandmother's brother. Bronstein was a little too Semitic for the times, I guess. So there you go- a little tidbit. There's a lot more. I could write a bad novel. Would you read it?


At 6:48 PM, Blogger Tryst said...

Hey no need to rag on the Klein chick..........she knows what the public wants.

Fat girls want to know they can get skinny and dumped girls want to know that it isn't the end of the world when their marriage hits the rocks

At 7:58 PM, Blogger Noisette said...

Well, right. That was pretty much my point. I'm not sure it says that much about the writer or her readers, though.

At 8:30 PM, Blogger Noisette said...

I include myself in that last category...

At 10:32 PM, Blogger Tryst said...

The question is will you read her book............and will you enter our contest


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