What do you call two thousand lawyers at the bottom of the ocean?
What’s the difference between a lawyer and a shark?
The shark doesn’t charge you after eating you alive.
What do you say to a drowning lawyer?
I have no idea.
The young man’s dad is a lawyer. Dad laughs along with these jokes. But he does not like them. They are just finishing some Christmas shopping at Sam’s Club, and the young man stops at a soda machine. All of the sodas are off-brand and are $0.25. His father fishes out some change to buy a soda for him, the young man, and Stephen.
“What kind is good?” Dad says.
“I want Mr. Pibb,” the young man says.
“Me too,” says Stephen.
“What’s Mr. Pibb?” Dad says. “I mean, what is it replacing?”
“Dr. Pepper,” the young man says.
“Huh,” Dad says. “Well, why don’t they call it Lawyer Pibb?”
“Huh?” says Stephen.
“Well, it’s Dr. Pepper. So why is the alternate Mr. Pibb? Why isn’t it Lawyer Pibb?”
He drops in a quarter and pushes the Pibb button. The can slams down.
“I have no idea,” says Stephen.
Dad pops in another coin. “See, all these areas of life and someone does it well, they call it doctor. ‘Dr. J’ in basketball. ‘Dr. Pepper’ in drinks. But you never hear ‘Lawyer J.’ Hell, even the degree is called ‘juris doctor,’ which means ‘doctor of jurisprudence.'”
He hands the can to the young man. He pops in a coin and pushes Mr. Pibb, as well, for his drink.
“What’s wrong with that?” says the young man.
They start toward the car. “You know, you have all these jokes about dishonest lawyers. But here in the state of Texas, doctors want the freedom to screw up any which way and not have to pay damages. And for almost all of history, it was the most backward of all professions. They drilled holes in people’s heads, gave magic potions that were worthless, introduced infection everywhere they went, and did more harm than good in most cases. Meanwhile, lawyers were drafting the documents that structured freedom and modern democracy. Doctors still overcharge for every little thing, they try to screw their lawyers out of their rightful fees, and somehow, they’re the nobler profession.”
“I think they’re just jokes, Dad,” says the young man.
“Just keep in mind when you hear them that when doctors were putting leeches on Washington’s backside, lawyers were drafting the Constitution.”
“Well, okay, I’ll remember that.”
“And when we go to Heaven, there will be no more sickness, so we won’t need doctors. But Jesus says He is our Advocate with the Father. We will go to Judgment Day with the universe’s best lawyer!”
“Sure,” says the young man, “but He also said the whole need no Physician and that He will heal us all. So there’s that.”
“Well, aren’t you a little Sunday School smart ass,” Dad says with a smile as he unlocks the car.
They all get into the car, and Dad says, “Of course, my kind of law is about as pointless as can be. Defending thieving big companies against thieving plaintiff’s attorneys. I should have done something more worthwhile like my father did.”
“He was an agronomist, right?” the young man says.
“Yes, he was,” says Dad as he starts to pull out of the parking space. “Did you know that your grandfather invented a crop rotation and irrigation system that helped farmers in the driest areas in Texas? Now, that’s really doing something. I should have done something like that with my life.”
“You give us a good life,” the young man says. “I think that’s really good.”
Dad reaches across the seat and pats the back of the young man’s head. “That’s nice of you, Son. You’re a good kid.”