So the last few days have been a nice mix of festive and frustrating. Festive because the book is essentially done and gone, and frustrating because of a little encounter with another lawyer...
In the book I had a little story (I mean tiny) about a woman who went off on a judge. She was a decent lawyer and dedicated to her clients and I didn't really want to hurt her feelings or surprise her and so just because I was feeling all sweet, I called her to let her know what was up. Now let's be clear, the story I recounted was exactly as I'd heard it from several sources, I'd corroborated a part of it by getting the pertinent numbers and it was portrayed very sweetly in the book as something I not only understood, but in a certain sense, admired. Anyway, I had been thinking about changing her name just because I liked her but figured I'd call just to see whether she had really strong feelings about it...
Suffice to say she was far from thrilled and almost immediately started maneuvering. I've made a good life far from that whole thing, please don't dredge it back up was the most compelling argument. And listening to her talk about her life now, I was feeling bad and thinking well I guess I'll change it, and then she started to shift rhetorical gears and started in on a line that went something like this: I have connections, I know lots of lawyers, and what you heard is wrong. I have the transcript...
Well, say I, by all means, if you think it's wrong and you want me to correct it, just send me the transcript and of course, I'd be happy to change it. She refused (which might tell you something). Whatever. I hung up figured that on balance there was no need to make her so unhappy and so last night I went back and took her name and all her identifying details out of the book.
I then go to sleep thinking i've been sweet, and figuring I'll call her in the morning and tell her not to worry about it.
I never made that call.
Because before I could, my lawyer at the publishing house gets a call from some fancy media lawyer who is being all aggressive and trying to bully his way into taking the whole incident out. (And that's not gonna happen) But I've already taken her name and all the identifying details out of it and so now I'm peeved that she's trying to bully me and worse, that at the end of the day, something I did to be sweet, will come across as a victory for some hard blowing tall building lawyer with nary a leg to stand on.
The weird thing is that I felt nothing but kindness about the whole thing until she got a lawyer to be all pushy and entitled. I mean I'm not an idiot--filing some kind of suit would be the worst thing in the world for her--given that it'd make public and relevant all the personnel records, disciplinary hearings and other bad things that might exist concerning the incident . So why, I wonder, use the hammer when the supplicant's sweetness would have been so much more effective?
So now I'm sitting around trying to tame my pugilistic nature, and let the sweetness reign rather than give in to my vindictive inclination to put her name back in, along with the (clearly identified as such) rumors, the arrest number, the charges, and what happened to her afterwards. Hell, when you want to lay low why would you threaten? Especially when there's a record of an arrest and a transcript that you want to keep under wraps that has (thus far) never been circulated? I dunno. Just seems weird to me, and so self-defeating. Gosh.
So I think I'm still inclined to take the high road on this one but I have to admit it's a much tougher call now.
So readers, what would you do?
Ah, the best intentions gone awry.