Earth? We live on Earth.
Earth? We live on Earth.
Jem and the Holograms
This Week Was Exhausting, William-Adolphe Bouguereau, 1888
It is lunch hour in a popular sandwich chain in Manhattan. A child is crying beside her mother as dozens of people surround them in a hurried attempt to grab the last sandwiches from a large, refrigerated wall. The mother picks up one of the remaining sandwiches and furrows her brow as she reads the ingredients. The child continues to cry. When a man bumps into the mother, she places the sandwich back onto the shelf and grips her sobbing daughter’s hand.
“Let’s go, honey.”
I imagined myself as the child’s sister or mother, kneeling down and wiping the snot from her face and saying, “It’s silly, isn’t it? All this time we spend securing sandwiches?”
I was having a drink with some friends the other night and at one point was seated across from a guy I didn’t know. After learning my name, he immediately moved on to the question, “So what do you do?” and I recited the same speech I always recite. I had already overheard him talking about law school, so I already knew he was a law student, but I asked anyway.
“I’m in law school. It’s amazing,” he said.
“That’s great. Do you find it hard?”
“Not at all. I mean—yes. It is hard. Law school is really, really hard, but, like, if you just study…I mean, you go to law school to go to law school. You’re going to have to study.”
“Yeah, I would imagine.” I took a sip of my beer.
“It’s amazing,” he told me. “You should definitely go.”
“Ha. I don’t think it’s for me.”
“I really have no desire to go to law school or to become a lawyer. What I do now has solidly confirmed this.”
“Well, I’m just saying. It’s been the most amazing experience for me.”
“What year are you?”
“Oh! So you just started in…August?”
“Oh, ok.” I took another sip of beer.
“I just really think you should consider it. I’m a big fan of law school.”
“Well, even if I actually wanted to go, I’m still not comfortable with the thought of having to take out such massive loans and being in debt when it’s all over, you know?”
“Oh, yeah. Loans. Well, when people tell me they are afraid of loans, this is what I tell them: If you don’t think you’re worth $150,000, then I’d say fine, don’t go. But if you know you are worth that much, then there is no reason not to do it.” I took another sip of beer. “The way I see it is, like, law school is just like childbirth. There is this small amount of excruciating pain, but the entire experience is worth it. It’s worth the tiny amount of pain,” he said.
I was tempted to bite into my pint glass until it broke but instead I smiled. “Well, I appreciate the encouragement.”
I discovered a constellation that looked like a giant zipper. I woke up before I could name it.
Happy Sunday. I know I could use a nap.
— Flannery O’ Connor