Okay. So I’ve been writing this column for about six months now, and some of you have been complaining that I’m holding back. “Hink,” some of you say, “it’s time to let go. It’s time to build some trust. It’s time to take this columnist/reader deal to another level. Come on. Show us the real Hink.”
Well, I have to point out that this is a column about manliness and a manly man is expected to have and protect his secrets. But then a manly man is expected to be complex, to struggle with his inner demons, to be a churning cauldron of conflicting emotions. A manly man should be strong enough to share. Part of me says this is kitty litter. Another part of me asks “what are you afraid of?” So I’ll do it. Here goes.
See, I retired from the practice of law on April 15, 2005. Let me explain why. Everybody knows that evolution sometimes confers special gifts on some of us; an enormous IQ, superior athletic ability, stunning good looks, uncanny musical talents. Stuff like that.
Well, I was born with a tail. Because of its location, I never saw it myself. But I shampooed it every day and I liked to think it was beautiful and had stripes around it. You may not know this, but no one is born with a full grown tail. It’s a lot like height. We all start off tiny and grow in spurts until we get as tall as we’re going to. Same with a tail.
Anyway, when you’re growing up and good things happen, it’s easy to imagine that it’s your tail that’s bringing good luck. Your parents try to teach you that you shouldn’t feel superior to other children just because you have a tail. And you try. But there’s always that lurking secret sense of superiority.
When you grow up and hit the road to become a hitch hiker, you realize your tail is not simply a secret source of good luck. It has some practical advantages. If you hit a slow traffic spot at a T-intersection, you can hitch hike in three directions at once without running afoul of the law.
When you get to law school, you’re able to compete with students who have more brains and talent than you do. They sense that there’s something special about you, but they just can’t put their fingers on it--literally. Your grades aren’t the best, but when you graduate, doors just seem to open for you. Everyone is puzzled by your nearly overwhelming good fortune. Only you and a few close friends know why. Life is good.
When you try lawsuits, you exude confidence and competence because you have a secret weapon. The secret tail. Your frustrated opponents are mystified. They’re smarter than you. They’re better looking than you. They have smarter, better looking clients. But time and again, the jurors ignore the obvious, and for reasons they can‘t explain, see things your way. Among your colleagues a maddening question is whispered: “What is it about Hink that makes him so hard to beat?”
You want to say with a superior half-smile. “It’s the tail my friend. It’s the tail.” But you know lawyers. If it should get out, there would be a run on specialists offering cosmetic tail augmentation and there’s a danger my mojo would be diluted.
I’m not saying I won every case. But I can’t help but suspect that the lawyers that beat me must have had better secret tails.
You never suspect that some big mouthed buddy has let it slip. You never suspect that your doctor has been paid off. You show up for a routine colonoscopy unaware that treacherous hands have “accidentally” mixed up the charts. You don’t realize that by “coincidence,” you’re in the hospital at the same time as a woman who is there to have her God-given tail removed to make room for a longer, slimmer transplant. You can’t appreciate the limits of the catastrophe until you come out of the anesthetic and realize you’re the victim of an accidental tailectomy. Oh sure, I could have seen it as an opportunity. I could have replaced my lost tail with a bushier, more dexterous version. Who wouldn’t want to be able to write two columns at once? But I know me. If I had a tail like that, I’d probably want to go into politics or investment banking. No. it’s better this way. So I retired. Okay, now I’ve shared. Your turn.
I’m Hink and I’ll see ya.
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Wed, April 15, 2009
by Michael Hinkle