The Theatre of the Barely Socially Acceptable, Act 7

20 Nov 2005
November 20, 2005

Hi Nick. This is your lawyer.
Your lawyer, Bob.
Yes, that’s right. Your lawyer.

Washington is a town of lawyers. They’re everywhere and into everything. Their influence is clearly visible throughout the DC area. Button-down blue Oxford dress shirts are our version of high fashion. Their power lunches and show-stopping courtroom antics are de rigueur. And a lawyer’s cell phone is indeed his best friend, at least when it comes to billable hours.

So why was I surprised yesterday when I walked into my doctor’s waiting room to hear someone talking loudly into his phone? As I waited to see my doctor I was regaled with a cross between improvisational comedy and existential drama.

We’ve got a court case coming up next week don’t we.

Yes, that’s right. We’ve got to subpoena those two witnesses.

I turned to my fellow waitees looking to commiserate. Bob was loud and like most who headline at the Theatre of the Barely Socially Acceptable he assumed this venue was his own private office. I was riveted to my seat while I nonchalantly reached for my pen and Moleskin. I did not want to disturb the performance in progress. But it had to be documented.

Bill was playing to a serious audience. The man who had come in just before me was arranging for a colonoscopy. It had been years since his last test. He looked closely at the referral the receptionist had given him. He had other things on his mind.

I looked closely at my fingers. A few weeks before they’d suddenly started to swell and itch. I’d had six episodes since then. Each had lasted only 30 minutes and I was combing my brain, trying to remember what preceded each outbreak. I was involved in my own process of discovery. Maybe if Bob were my lawyer he’d be able to figure it out.

The witnesses will verify your whereabouts on the night in question.

There must be witnesses in my case he could subpoena.

This isn’t front page news, Nick.
You don’t have to protect them.

The teenager directly across from me was hunched over in his seat, the mark of The Bored. Clearly he didn’t want to be there either. I stared at him, hoping my mental powers would force him to look up and connect with me. Surely he was noticing Mr. Attorney’s expert elocution. Looking down at his own fingers, he suddenly smiled.

No, they aren’t your sources.
This is for YOUR benefit.
Do you want to go to jail?

The staff continued their busy work: retrieving charts, billing, and making phone calls to those who had planned to occupy these seats for tomorrow’s performance. The receptionists ignored Bob’s crafty office work. They had their own to attend to.

The backstage door opened and a nurse entered stage left. “Mr. Lyons, the doctor will see you now.”

Nick, I’ve got to run.
Please call my secretary with the contact info for your witnesses.
Without them you’re toast.

As I stood up to give him a standing ovation, suddenly my fingers started to swell. And really itch.

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3 replies
  1. Donna says:

    Jeff, you managed to turn an annoying incident into a delightful story. Thank you!
    Were you the one who had the link to the cards you could hand people when they were talking loudly on their cell phones? It was like a “ticket.”
    Many doctor offices now have signs asking for phones to be turned off. I prefer it…

  2. sol says:

    Found your site by accident laughed my head off at all your excellent articles, Really great. Lifted my night.
    Cheers, Sol

  3. Jeff says:

    Yes, Donna, last year I posted a story about Coudal Partners’ SHHH project (Society for Handheld Hushing) –cards you can download, print, and hand out to anti-social cellphone users.

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