The Left Behind: An HLS Thanksgiving Story


I’m from a land far, far away. Actually, I’m from Oregon, but that seems to count as “far, far away,” judging by the fact that a large percentage of the population out here doesn’t actually know how to pronounce it. (That would be OR-uh-gin rather than or-uh-GONE, but it’s cool, I’m not bitter, I mean, we West Coasters probably all pronounce “Massachusetts” and “Connecticut” wrong. Oh wait, we don’t.) As such, I decided to spare myself the time and expense of flying home for Thanksgiving, and instead spent my vacation largely on the eerily deserted HLS campus.

At first it was great. The empty publications office is the perfect out-of-the-way study spot, and some of the journals even have free beer in their mini-fridges. I was catsitting, so I had a super adorable and highly energetic kitten to entertain me, and my Lexis ordered Scrubs, season 2 DVDs finally came, serving as a timely reminder of just how much worse things would be if I had tried to go to medical school.

All this got me through about Wednesday, at which point the quiet and solitude, broken only by the small ball of fluff systematically ripping my room to shreds and the never-ending Civ. Pro. reading, started to get to me. After spending several hours sitting in my room mentally calculating the states I can be sued in, I realized I had to get out. And where else to go but the movies?

The problem is, while true escapism seemed within reach, there was always something to pull me back and remind me that, in fact, finals aren’t very far away. Harry Potter and the Merchandising Gone Bad seemed promising until Professor Dumbledore carefully explained to his young protégé that having your name spewed out of the Goblet of Plot Contrivance constitutes a binding magical contract. I mentally flipped through my contract notes. Can’t you make a fraud case? Or duress? And did we discuss Goblet-formed contracts? Is that kind of like the seal? Damn it, maybe I should have bought those highly-touted commercial outlines after all.

Pride and Prejudice, meanwhile, left me wondering if I had gotten caught up in a tough game of Sudoku and forgotten to pay attention the day we covered estates being entailed away from the female line. Fortunately, I then remembered that, no matter what it seemed like during the estates unit, I’m not actually taking Property in 18th Century England.

All the same, my track record was low. I decided to give it one more shot. So, in an unusual burst of initiative, I took the T all the way to Boston Common to see Rent.

I probably should have realized that this venture wasn’t going to end well when I paid $8.25, matinee price, to see a movie about a bunch of struggling Bohemian artists. From the beginning I was wondering, “Does the fact that I smuggled in snacks make me any less of a poser?” (Answer: no). I was pretty caught up, though, until the character of Joanne was introduced. A lawyer, and I believe the stage play makes it clear that she’s an HLS graduate, Joanne is sort of a member of the group. I mean, she dates a lesbian performance artist, so that’s cool and hip, right?

Actually, it’s apparently as cool and hip as a HLS graduate can be which, clearly, isn’t very. If we’re lucky, we’ll be like Joanne. We can hang out with the artist types and give them timely and righteous legal advice like “Techically, you’re squatters. He can’t just throw you out on the street,” but at heart, we’ll be the neurotic ones insisting on a lesbian commitment ceremony.

Realistically, most of us will be like Benny, the sell-out who bought the building and is evicting our rentless heroes. I left with the somewhat depressing conviction that I’m being turned into The Man. Yes, I will most certainly be first up against the wall when the revolution comes.

I came home to my cat-infested room (it seems to have taken up a permanent post on top of my hermit crab cage where it can inflict the maximum possible amount of terror on my unsuspecting crustaceans), and began to toy with the idea of becoming a vet. Unlike law students, vets totally aren’t The Man. They don’t have long discussions about whether air pollution particles constitute a trespass or a nuisance. As an added bonus, I bet the population of libertarians is lower by a factor of ten, and if they start talking about efficiency in class, you can just have them put to sleep. (By which I actually mean sent to a farm to live out a happy and productive life chasing rabbits. Don’t write me letters, libertarians.) Awesome.

Eventually, the dorms began to fill up again, the Civil Procedure assignment started to have an end in sight, and I remembered that vets are slightly more likely than lawyers to contract (rather than exhibit the signs of) rabies. Bohemian, I’m not, but I am considering turning in a 3,000 word analysis of binding magical contracts for my next legal writing memo. And if that’s not useful work for society as a whole, I’m not sure what is.

Katie Mapes, 1L, would like the Gropius RAs to know that she’s totally kidding about the cat. And also, the hermit crabs.

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