Saturday, May 25, 2013

"That happened, for sure."

About a month ago, I finished my 2L year. That makes me X if X=(2/3)(Lawyer - bar exam). That is how to represent my professional status via algebra.

I start work at Schiff-Hardin LLP, a bona fide law outfit doing business out of Chicago, on Tuesday.  The firm itself does pretty glorious things. They represent Michael Jordan, some of the Chicago Bears, Pepsi, Aunt Sally's Cookies, the NCAA, and other people. I am about to do among the least glorious of those things, and I am overwhelmed with joy about it: evidence that I have chosen a good path for myself. I will write memorandums for people. Important people. Players. They do influential things like file briefs, lawsuits, responses, and my payroll paperwork. They argue to women and men in black robes, and men and women who agitatedly endure their jury duty. They merge business empires.  Every once in a while, they will have a little question that they need answered in order to answer a big question. They will ask me to answer that little question. With my stunning(ly infantile) legal prowess, I will dodge, dart, and dig through the legal cybersphere for information which I will push into my mind like freshly ground coffee, and coupled together with the hot waters of my passion for my work, it will trickle out through my fingertips in the form of delectable legal analysis.  I will take that hot drank to my boss, who will likely sip it through their spectacles, spit it across the room, and tell me how to make it palatable.

So anyway, I finished the law school year, and had some time to fart around. So I went on a lil trip with the Padre. We moseyed on down to Mammoth Caves National Park. It was my first time in Kentucky. The Derby had just happened. As we drove through Lexington and I saw the vast expanse of empty parking lots where tourists' cars were previously parked and the green fields where the horses played after they got done running side by side wondering what the point of carrying around those tiny men is, exactly,  I felt I had grown closer to the horse racing world somehow. Maybe next year I'll watch on TV.

As two generation of Bergsma's trounced through the woods on the hiking trails paid for by your stimulus dollars, we talked about what our protocol for a cougar attack would be. The animal kind of cougar. I carried a 3-inch buck knife passed down to me by Harold Bergsma, the eldest of our clan. There were many rocks on the trail. We decided we would be best off with the Third Degree Black Belt wielding the knife and the former above-average 14-year-old pitcher casting rocks like brutish spells at the pondered beast's face. Getting the blade under the ribs would be key to survival.

Then, a huge tree fell. We heard it. That particular woodland oratory lasted about 5 seconds, I would say. There was some snapping and crackling then some ripping and crashing, then some avian refugees fluttering off to find a new home.  Then, wisely and matter-of-factly, Dan Bergsma said, "Well, that happened for sure."

 There was no hint of self-celebratory tone in this statement, which is odd for our bloodline.

A well-armed woodland prophet.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Family Meal

The budget got kind of tight for a second in April.  I was doing alright.  I had a roof over my head and clean underwear every day.  It's just that I had to cut some frivolities like bookstore trips and pastries.  Also, I decided to go to work early so that I could attend Nougatine's family meal.

We have employee meals everyday for lunch and dinner.  The times are 11-2 then 4-6 or something like that.  All the workers in Trump Tower can partake.  I had heard some bad reviews about the cafeteria which is why I hadn't explored the option earlier.  Someone looking for the family meal cook would say something like, "Where's Sleepy Pete?" Someone would answer, "I don't know, probably cooking bad food somewhere."  I would ask a chef, "Should I put these scallion scraps in a bigger container before I put them on the family meal shelf?  I don't want them to get all slimy and gross."  The chef would reply, "What's the point?  Sleepy Pete is going to cut them with a dull knife and cook them until you can't recognize them."

I had my reservations about family meal, though, sometimes, Sleepy Pete fried some chicken or baked some meatballs in our kitchen, and I sampled the product.  That was always a pretty good pre-service snack.

So it turns out, Family meal is terrible. 

The primary offering is either chicken or ground beef in all there various forms.  Most of the time, the protein is covered with tomato sauce.  Other times, it has a gooey, cornstarch sauce that tastes mostly of salt and vaguely of cumin.  Bits of green things can be found in these sauces- could be green pepper, could be scallion, could be sanitizer bucket.  I've learned not to mess with the main course.  Occasionally, I'll eat it when there's some noodles in there.  Even then, I have to cover it with ladle full of Frank's hot sauce.  That's a thing.  They offer hot sauce by the ladle. 

The side for the entree is usually something like white rice or white rice with corn or white rice with beans.  All of these are manageable with a couple ladles of hot sauce. 

They have burgers once or twice a week with iceberg lettuce and sliced raw onions as toppings.  That's alright.  They had tomatoes once.  I like to use what they have at the salad bar for burger toppings:  iceberg lettuce, chickpeas, roasted beets, corn, shredded carrots, and sliced radishes.  I think they had peas once.  There's six dressings:  russian, italian, greek, and three ranchy-looking substances of different consistencies.

You could eat a sandwich if you want.  They have jelly.  I haven't found peanut butter, just empty jars.  They have sliced ham and sliced turkey and sliced American cheese.  That's the only cheese that I've seen in the cafeteria.  (We're a very patriotic company.)  The thing is, the sandwich game only works if you feel like rye bread.  We only serve rye bread.

Usually, I have a ham on rye with beats, carrots, radishes, and the most viscous ranch offered.  Once, I was hungry enough to eat three burgers: burger with carrots, burger with radishes, and burger with beets, each with a different ranch.  I felt like I was on candid camera.  The guy next to me was eating a cheese and garbanzo bean and jelly sandwich.  He decided on the rye bread that day.