I’ve had my lawyer, Dick Van Pac-Man, for 23 years. Ever since I sued McDonald’s at the age of 7, Dick Van Pac-Man has been by my side.
4 years ago, when he got horribly burned in a grease fire on over 80% of his body, I vowed to repay his loyalty. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting him to live through the night. But he did.
all through the emergency surgeries, the skin grafts, rehab and his eventual, miraculous return to work, I was there.
The problem is, he looks gross.
That sounds mean, but I’m just being brutally honest with you.
You know when you put a hotdog in the microwave for too long and it explodes?
So he went back to being a lawyer, but predictably, there wasn’t much work for an exploded microwave hot dog lawyer.
And that’s a shame, really. He’s a damn good lawyer. My $7.3 million settlement would attest to that.
I mean, I guess if you could be a lawyer strictly over the phone, he would be fine. You know what, that’s not actually true, because his voice got sort of messed up too.
So what do I do with this guy? He looks like a circus sideshow reject, he can’t get work, he poops in a bag tied around his leg because he’s got no sphincter, but I have a sense of loyalty to him that I just can’t shake.
And then it hits me. Against my better advice, we are eating lunch in a downtown Burger King, when a lady comes in with a kid in a stroller. The kid takes one look at ol’ Dick and loses his shit. The kid’s crying, the mom is horrified and it’s a replay of the exact same situation we’ve been in a hundred times. only this time, something clicks. The mom pulls a stuffed monkey out of her bag and puts it right in the kid’s face to distract him. She’s making noises, waving it around, anything to make the kid stop staring at my horribly disfigured lawyer.
And it works.
Dick goes back to his whopper, but I start thinking. Why isn’t this kid scared of the monkey?
A few days later, I show up at the law offices of Richard Van Pac-Man, Esq. with a big surprise.
A monkey suit!
“A monkey suit?” He asks, “You want me to wear a monkey suit?”
I tell him to hear me out. He’s gotta live his life. He’s got to go out in public. But when he does, he makes children cry. Not him, I tell him, his appearance. The monkey suit takes that away. Levels the playing field, as it were. People will no longer scream and cry.Sure, it’s a bit odd, but at least they’re not horrified. And it’s a conversation starter. How long has it been since you’ve been in an actual conversation with somebody other than me, I ask him.
eventually, I win him over. He agrees to try on the suit. For the 1st time since his accident, he enters the room and I don’t visibly recoil in horror. I laugh! I tell him he looks great.
He’s got all kinds of reservations about it. “People won’t take me seriously in a monkey suit, blah blah blah.”
but I’ve thought of everything. I present him with a monkey suit sized tuxedo, top hat and cane. For court, I tell him.
Now there’s no way I can really be sure of this, because even if he wasn’t wearing a full monkey suit and mask, the fire burned most of his lips and mouth completely off, but I think he actually cracked a smile. It’s hard not to.
I am happy to announce that Richard Van Pac-Man,esq. has returned to work, busier and more successful than ever.
Oh sure, there was some growing pains. Some difficult conversations with the judicial system. But one of his biggest cases since getting back was an enormous judgment in his favor for a landmark discrimination suit, that he took up against anybody who would seek to bar him from practicing law while wearing a monkey suit.
Thanks to him, if any lawyers get horribly disfigured and wish to practice law while wearing a monkey suit, their rights are protected in the state Constitution.
plus, the publicity generated by the lawsuit and resulting media coverage, resulted in a barrage of new clients, because honestly, who isn’t going to want a guy in a monkey suit as their lawyer?
Things are looking up for Mr. Van Pac-Man in the personal department as well, thanks to the growing popularity of an Internet subculture called “Plushies.”
And you would say I’ve done nothing good with my life, mom?