Reflection from October 7th, 2008 @ Age 27
RE: ENEMIES OF THE HEIR, **BEWARE** ;0)
I forget what I was thinking about writing. Hmm…
Oh yeah. I was in the probate court today with Paul, and this magistrate who I think really likes me came over and was like, “you don’t have to always follow Paul around, you know.” And I laughed, and can’t even remember what I said—but, I do remember that an awkward silence followed, as neither of us could think of anything else to say. I mean, I could say, “Isn’t the weather beautiful out today?” (Which it was!) Or, I could say, “Has it been really busy in here today?” Or, I could say, “I’ve been well—just doing lots of studying lately, because I’m taking the bar exam this February.” We did say how are you’s—and then, the silence followed. I hate that. I hate that I’m so inept at forming small talk. I hate that I feel uncomfortable in the probate court, because I have to deal with the same people over and over again—and, I don’t know what to say to them most of the time. Ohh, to be a beginning lawyer…
The growing pains are horrendous! They’re irrefutably, unequivocally, absolutely painful to the core of my being! Gah!
You know, I missed Dave today. I thought about him, when I was sitting in my long ass meeting with Paul and Bob today—and, then at our afternoon hearing. I really do miss that shithead. There’re so many reasons why I should hate him and loathe his presence—but I sincerely miss him, and I hope that he lasts forever in my heart. My dear David. I can’t believe you’re dead. I can’t believe I can nevermore return your phone call. I can’t believe I can nevermore get anxious over running into you in North Canton. I can’t believe you are dead. I simply can’t believe it. I was at the funeral—I saw the casket and the grieving family, I saw people from Hoover there at the funeral, I talked with Ryan Connery about the day of his death—but, I simply cannot wrap around my head the fact that David is dead. I cannot believe it, like I cannot believe I got the Star of David tattooed on my left foot. Ohh, how I miss him—I do.
Eugene “Bull” Connor, the city’s public safety commissioner, was a short, squat man with enormous ears and a “bullfrog voice.” He came to prominence in 1938 when a political conference was held in downtown Birmingham with both black and white delegates. Connor tied a long rope to a stake in the lawn outside the auditorium, and ran the rope down the center of the aisle and insisted—in accordance with the city’s segregation ordinances—that black people stay to one side of the line, and whites to the other. One of the attendees at the meeting was the president’s wife, Eleanor Roosevelt. She was sitting on the “wrong” side and Connor’s people had to force her to move to the white side. (Imagine someone trying that on Michelle Obama.)* Connor liked to spend his mornings at the [Mordor] Hotel downtown, doing shots of 100 proof Old Grand-Dad Bourbon, and saying things like, A Jew is just a “nigger turned inside out.” People used to tell jokes about Birmingham, of the sort that weren’t really jokes: A black man in Chicago wakes up one morning and tells his wife that Jesus had come to him in a dream and told him to go to Birmingham. She is horrified: “Did Jesus say He’d go with you?” The husband replies: “He said He’d go as far as Memphis.”
Upon arriving in Birmingham, King called a meeting of his planning team. “I have to tell you,” he said, “that in my judgment, some of the people sitting here today will not come back alive from this campaign.” Then he went around the room and gave everyone a mock eulogy. One of King’s aides would later admit that he never wanted to go to Birmingham at all: “When I kissed my wife and children good-bye down on Carol Road in Atlanta, I didn’t think I would ever see them again.”
King was outgunned and overmatched. He was the overwhelming underdog. He had, however, an advantage—of the same paradoxical variety as David Boies’s dyslexia or Jay Freireich’s painful childhood. He was from a community that had always been the underdog. By the time the civil rights crusade came to Birmingham, African-Americans had spent a few hundred years learning how to cope with being outgunned and overmatched. Along the way they had learned a few things about battling giants.
DAVID AND GOLIATH 6:2