When we open the co-op store in town we attract shoppers from the surrounding communities. Some of them are students from the newish law school down in South Royalton, about half an hour to the south. The school has been in existence for a few years but just became fully credentialed and recent college graduates flock to it from all over the country. Being a lawyer is hot stuff in the seventies.
My father Siggy is a lawyer, practices until he is 98. Some of my earliest memories are of playing in his office in New York City high above Madison Avenue, lining up all his corporate seals on the window sill and xeroxing pictures on his copy machine. With those early copy machines, the first image is a negative and you have to recopy to get it right. My drawings look more interesting with the black and white reversed, I think. As I get older I become scornful of my father’s practice, his fat briefcase full of files, his clients, everything he does at work seems boring and ponderous and unimaginative.
Now that I am stuck in a really boring and unimaginative job, law begins to look pretty good.
I am intimidated about becoming a lawyer, it feels like something only really brilliant people can do. I am not sure I am brilliant, most days I don’t even feel particularly smart, hauling 50 pound bags of rice around and pouring honey into jars. Then I meet the law students who come to the co-op to shop. They are not above average. They are ordinary joes.
In 1977 I apply to law school. I’ve been out of college for over a decade and my grade point average was dismal, the only reason I manage to graduate is that my A’s in art offset D’s in most everything else. I figure I need to do really well on the LSAT’s to prove to the admissions office I am lawyer material, so I study. At that time the LSAT has a big math component and I find that in the years since school I have forgotten every bit of math I ever knew, it has vanished without a trace. The formula for the circumference of a circle? Binomial equations? If one train is traveling 50 mph and the other train is going 20 miles per hour?
I relearn math in two months, study so hard that I get almost a perfect score. I am encouraged that a steady diet of commune living and heavy labor has not atrophied my brain. Law school, here I come.