|Muskrat News Legal Briefs
There are definitely downsides to being Duke Law's go-to Game Show guy. Like, when "The Apprentice" shows up on campus for auditions people think it would be funny if you tried out. I explained to my editors that The Apprentice is a bilious exercise in public humiliation and antisocial behavior, whereas Jeopardy is an old-school meritocracy where even the losers are treated graciously. I could not in good conscience even pretend to want to be on the former show. But EIC Holladay gets extremely cranky when it's time for his methadone refill, and rather than argue with him I decided to go ahead.
The fist hurdle is the application. It asked such questions as "What is your most impressive work or school achievement?" If I were being truthful, I'd say "staying awake in class," but I knew they were looking for something more, so I put down "curing polio." The Jeopary people would know that was wrong, but these idiots probably wouldn't, since it occurred outside New York and before MTV. They also wanted to know why I was successful at business. Since I haven't worked in the private sector since high school, I put down "When I lived in Africa, I discovered a potent form of magic, a precursor to voodoo, that allows me to control the actions of squirrels."
Then they get to the meat of the matter. "Tell us something embarrassing about yourself." Here they're clearly testing your willingness to abase yourself publicly, to engage in the ritual humiliation that is the core of both the "reality TV" experience and big-firm practice. Fortunately, virtually everything about me is embarrassing, so I had a wide range of options. I considered "Just look at me!" and "Still Doesn't Understand the Parol Evidence Rule," but finally settled on the one thing that truly ruled me out of polite society: "See attached portfolio of previous TDA columns."
Accompanying the application were a host of release forms, indemnifying the producers in case I was hurt during production and agreeing to the use of my likeness "in any and all media now known or hereafter devised, in perpetuity throughout the universe." I was a little bummed that I couldn't rake in those walloping Titan-Ganymede residuals, but I was feeling good about the thought that my face might be the last thing broadcast at the end of all things.
I was ready. I glanced again at the GPSC handout for information on how to dress, and it said "All you have to bring is yourself and your application." That posed a quandary. It was really too cold to walk from the Law building to the Bryan Center nude, and I didn't want a repeat of the events that led to being banned from the Georgetown campus, so I decided to go ahead and wear clothes.
But there was another page to the form. It said "Any offer to become a player is conditional upon your submission to physical and psychological examinations to be conducted in Los Angeles." No! My invisible friend, Mr. Shizzle, told me this was a trap. If I let the doctors look inside my head they might see him, in which case he'd have to tell the police what really happened to that New Mexico ranch family back in '87. So I couldn't go through with it. Plus, as I said earlier, the show is just icky.
Luckily for you, 2L Amy Kalman ignored the voices in her head and went through an interview. She reports it was as awful as you might expect, with the interviewer urging the participants to turn on each other, making one "fire" another, and in general showing the gentility, decency, and down-home good feelings we normally associated with the Waffen SS on the Eastern Front.
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