You Can Take My Dignity, But You Can’t Have My Rationality

I know that I am depressed.  I fully admit that.  People piss me off when they tell me my feelings aren’t rational.

I am completely rational. 

I spend hours day after day pounding out meaningless letters, reading meaningless cases, speaking with clients so sunk in desperation that I feel like a social worker.  Meanwhile, when CNN reported on the recent execution of a man in Utah (by firing squad), one of the commentors pointed out that the man had “only killed a lawyer” and should be declared a hero. 

Last year I took on a pro bono case and helped a decorated veteran of the war in Iraq save his home.  He never thanked me. 

When I walk into work in the morning no one notices.  Not even my secretary cares, she’s too busy making greeting cards with craft paper or some such dumb thing.  I have to grovel and plead to get a simple pleading typed.  But if my monthly bills aren’t in within twenty-four hours of the moment I get them for review, no fewer than three different representatives of the powers that be come down on me like hydrogen bombs. 

Wouldn’t anyone be depressed under these circumstances? 

There are no other jobs, so don’t suggest that I look for one, and it wouldn’t matter anyway.  I am a litigator.  My skill set does not transfer well to in house jobs, and I don’t work for the right kind of law firm.  I lack prestige.  Lots of people in my local bar know me, even like and respect me, but I don’t know the sorts of people who hire for Westinghouse’s legal department. 

There’s the bench.  Assuming I am willing to become a political junkie and start actually going to the fundraising barbeques and crab feasts I get invited to, I could probably swing that within the next ten years or so.  Assuming I stay alive that long.  Lately I’ve been having chest pains.  I actually hope I have a heart attack.  I don’t want to die, but I would like someone, anyone, to sit up and take notice.  

What ever happened to that judge out West who got caught masturbating under his robes?   

I gave up my dignity the first time a case made me cry, driving away from a hearing wherein the judge treated me like dog shit.  He eventually turned his back to me in the middle of my argument.  I kept talking, and to my credit, held back till I got to the car.  I’m sure one or more of my colleagues saw me driving away, sobbing.  I’ve stopped caring about all that.

But please don’t tell me my depression is not rational.  To be happy under these circumstances is to be irrational.  I choose truth.

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