Gonzo Analysis

DRMN 5/8/03

Woody Creek wag Hunter S. Thompson’s take on the redistricting: “This is what happens when voters … fail to exercise their right to vote and stand up to a finely organized gang of corrupt power-mongers who want to seize all political (power) in America and mold it into an updated version of the Third Reich. Hitler had the same plan. Now we are looking at the Fourth Reich.”

Why I Left Law School

“We must have the courage to reject the idea of settling for work that is destructive to human happiness, or even indifferent to it.” [1]7 October 1998

Dear Friends and Family:

I am writing to you today to communicate the happening of and the reasons for a great decision in my life. I have withdrawn myself from the University of Colorado School of Law for a year, or perhaps longer, to give myself a proper perspective to judge the merits of the possibility of continuing the pursuit of “the law” as a lawyer. The quote above has been most instructive to me and my heart when I consider the matter. With every day that passed I was loosing the sense of purpose with which I began my law school career, and with every passing day I gained insight into a profession that became increasingly distasteful to me. Whatever redeemable value the law had for me when I began is all but gone at this moment. Without a valid higher purpose I cannot justify my further involvement with “work that is destructive to human happiness.” These reasons, perhaps, may not be understood fully by anyone who has not been in law school, but I do not wish such a punishment on any one of you. I ask for your faithful understanding, but not your pity. I am a happier man now that a great burden of conscience is lifted from me and I am able to set about finding my life’s true work — be it the law or something else entirely.

“The critical points are that those working in a structure have some part in creating it — that it be useful and meaningful in their lives — and that structure never become ‘just the way it is,’ but only limited vehicles for the expression of use and meaning. When they outlive either their use or their meaning, structures ought to be dissolved. The sad truth is that today, far too many have little, if any, input on the structures they work with; they experience their work as neither useful nor meaningful, but ‘just the way it is.'” [2]

“The half truths of one generation tend at times to perpetuate themselves in the law as the whole truth of another, when constant repetition brings it about that qualifications, taken once for granted, are disregarded or forgotten.” [3]

or put into layman’s terms:

“In all other professions anything in the nature of a discovery is greeted with applause or at least accorded the compliment of jealousy. Not so in the law! No lawyer ever yet arose before a bench of judges to say: ‘Your Honors, it is my privilege to lay before you an entirely new idea!’ No lawyer, even if he has an idea, ever has the temerity to disclose the fact. Should he do so he would instantly be hailed as a lunatic. Instead, he arises, coughs deprecatingly, and murmurs: ‘As your Honors are well aware, this point was definitely settled in Snooks vs. Mooks, 1 King Alfred, 639, which has been followed ever since by as long line of authorities with which you are all perfectly familiar.’

“Whereupon his opponent gets up and says: ‘My learned brother has entirely misconstrued Snooks vs. Mooks, which was overruled several hundred years ago by the dictum of Lord Chief Justice Squabble in Bellow vs. Bawl and has not the slightest application. The controlling authority here is Shadrach vs. Abednego, 91 Babylonian Reports, 273.’

“Of course it is much easier to make Snooks, Mooks, Shadrach, and Abednego work for us than to use our own brains, but we as lawyers pay the penalty by being forced to suppress, at much personal discomfort, whatever originality we may have been born with. Bernard Shaw would make a great lawyer — but no judge would listen to him. We have all labored under the curse of vicarious solemnity for a thousand years. Is it surprising that we often appear inhuman when we have lost by attrition at least half our human qualities?” [4]

And so I leave the law, for the time being, to find myself, and in myself I will find happiness, and happiness is the best thing that I can wish for all of you, and that I do.

I remain,
in your service,


“This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one.” [5]———————————————————————————

[1] Laurence G. Boldt
[2] Laurence G. Boldt
[3] Justice Benjamin Cardozo
[4] Arthur Train
[5] George Bernard Shaw.

“…to be nobody-but-myself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make me everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight.” e.e.c.

Musings of a North Avenue Trade School Freshman

North Avenue Trade School
Armstrong Hall
17 February 1994

A Friday in the degeneration of me.

When you wake up and your eyes literally will not open because they have been taken over by an alien being that does not understand the work ethic that goes along with going to college, you know that it is going to be another day. The sunrise outside of the window is another brilliant clue.

At a nine o’clock chemistry class lecture on Arrhenius activation energies, reaction mechanisms, and activation complexes, you cannot stop the yawns from exposing the not so well hidden condition of being extremely desirous of more sleep. The ten o’clock lecture on the derivatives of vectors is not much more exciting. The antiseptic nature of such discussions, though, allow for menial note taking with minimal thought. The thinking part is always reserved for the nights before the tests. That is, unless he, the professor, calls upon you to tell the class the magnitude of the vector < (10 Sin10t)i - (10 Cos 10t)j> The answer, of course, is ten. You knew that didn’t you. Yeah. Everyone knows that!

Eleven o’clock political science is more enlightening. You learn about the powers of the president and why they have grown since the 19th century. Actually, the discussion you have with the professor after class (during your lunch hour) is more exciting. There, you talk about how you can’t impeach the president’s spouse. What can you do then? He looks at your protest letter and says “I don’t think that you will get in any trouble for that. If you really want an issue, start thinking about the “Regents’ Test.” You leave for the student center to get the regular lunch – a cup of “fruit on the bottom” yogurt.

An urge grabs you (or you grab it) to get a “1/4 pound cookie” for yourself as a treat on Friday. There are none of your favorite “dark chocolate chunk” flavors in the front stack, so you hope that there will be some at the register. After snagging a cup of blueberry yogurt, you find the cookie. A “dark chocolate chunk” (overpriced) cookie. When you sit down with your stash, suddenly you find that twenty of the forty stamps you had purchased right before getting your yogurt are missing. They must be somewhere in the student center. Maybe everyone will be stupid enough not to pick up a book of stamps just dropped by the sucker in front of them in the flow of (in)humanity worth $5.80. No such luck for you today. Oh well, back to the yogurt, cookie, and stamps that you do have.

One o’clock “English” is filled with “entropic” ambiguities. Entropic in itself . . . as the universe . . . “everyone get ready for the ‘heat death’!”

It is not all so bad. After all, you did notice that the daffodils are blooming, bees are buzzing, the sky is mostly sunny, the temperature is just right, and the blimp that has been in the sky for the past two days for no obvious reason to you has not crashed into one of the downtown buildings causing a media spectacle. What a shame that would be. Some of those photographers would have to come home from Norway and the SCANDAL that is just SUCKING the attention of the world away from reality (whatever that is). (sorry)

The last thought you willingly construct before going up to write this is, “boy, I really need to oil that bicycle lock (a thought you have been thinking for an entire week of fighting with the lock that needs to be oiled!)”

Now, Harry Connick Jr. and a Diet-Coke are your friends. Temporary, though, because your honey is on the way, and after all, that’s the only thing that matters.