Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - 52

A SLICE OF WRY
Thank You for Your Nervous
By Paul Kiernan
W
ell, how was your year?
As faithful readers of this column
know - and hello to both of you
- the editorial schedule dictates
that these words be submitted months before
publication. As I write this, we've only recently
said goodbye to Juan Soto and Wally Cleaver
(one in a trade, the other not exactly). I do not
know what will happen (has happened) the rest
of this year. Hopefully, we are surviving monkeypox,
new COVID variants, another election
cycle, and the decision to launch a remake of
Quantum Leap.
Just based on the first two-thirds of 2022, I am
comfortable crowning it as the Year of Living
Nervously. It seemed like every week - every
day, really - there was a reason to feel anxious
about our country, our jobs, and our health.
Inflation was up, public violence was up, the
number of Cheetos flavors was up. People
dipped their toes into the water of returning to
what we once called " normality, " only to find
that the water was both ice-cold and full of
jellyfish.
Folks went through the motions of doing
normal things, but always with the sense that it
could go spectacularly wrong at any moment.
n That long-delayed trip? Great . . . unless you
were expecting to spend the vacation with
your luggage in the same time zone.
n Finally start that house project? Wonderful
. . . unless you wanted all the materials to
show up in the same year.
n Fill up the car with gas? Just the thing . . .
now that I've closed on this bridge loan.
I understand that these are all probably classified
as first-world problems. Then again, since
we're living in the first world, I suppose that
makes them just problems. Either way, 2022 did
not encourage a lot of relaxed breathing and
untrammeled optimism. People could be forgiven
for thinking that the whole year was a
banana peel under the foot.
Look at " return to office. " For a hot topic it certainly
seemed on-again, off-again. A lot of folks
never really left the office for long, so they had
no real absence to return from. Instead, every
Tuesday they would gaze longingly at the office
door or perform that silent audit of the building
garage and wonder whether today would be
the day that the office would fill up again just
like in olden times. And as the minutes ticked by
and no flood of people and chat poured in,
2022 did not encourage
a lot of relaxed breathing
and untrammeled
optimism. People could
be forgiven for thinking
that the whole year was
a banana peel under
the foot.
they would think: maybe tomorrow. Perhaps
they nervously considered that tomorrow
might never come. Worse, that maybe the few
people who came in today might themselves
be gone tomorrow. Until . . . the Last Lawyer
on Earth.
I finally did something in 2022 I've been longing
to do for years. I got a kidney stone. And
let me tell those of you who have that on your
bucket list, pick the bucket instead. I was not
so presumptuous as to equate the pain and
52 WASHINGTON LAWYER * NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2022
discomfort with what mothers experience
giving birth - until my sister and my neighbor
each reported that having been through both,
it's a draw. But what I wasn't prepared for (did I
mention the pain?) was the nervousness generated
by having this thing inside you poised
to make you do things you'd rather not do
especially in front of other people. There is an
anxiety from knowing there's a ticking time
bomb or a gremlin or a rancid Easter egg that's
lying in wait until you least expect it.
But all was not gloom and anxiety this year.
People got married after long pandemic waits
and babies were born, sometimes in that order.
Authors started good books, people planted
trees, young people decided to go to law
school, couples worked on fermenting killer
kombucha (don't ask me why they bother) -
all sorts of investments in the future. And to
deal with nervousness and anxiety, people read,
talked, volunteered, campaigned, voted, moved,
and even quit. A lot of you donated pro bono
services to help our neighbors - talk about
dispelling someone else's anxiety and nervousness!
Thanks for that.
Every year people say how fast the year went. " It
was just summer, " they say, or " I've been meaning
to take down these Christmas decorations,
but I might as well leave them up now. " I actually
think 2022 was one of those slower years,
in part because it seemed that every time we
thought about doing something, we had to
pause and restrategize around whatever was
the debacle du jour. Kinda like the last five
minutes of a football game where there are
eight replays, two delay-of-game penalties, and
a huddle of refs with the review team in New
York looking at obscure rules issues. Five minutes
become 40 minutes. That's how this year
felt to me.
Here's hoping that 2023 is just a good oldfashioned
525,600 minutes. That's how to
measure a year.

Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022

Your Voice
From Our President
Practice Management
Toward Well-Being
Planting the Seeds: Pro Bono Helps Nonprofits Flourish
A Primer on D.C.’s New Debt Collection Law
Eviction Writ Quashing: Last Line of Defense for Tenants
Employment Law Implications of Dobbs
How Immigration Can Help Solve the U.S. Pilot Shortage
Ten Things You Might Have Forgotten Since the Pandemic
SPECIAL SECTION Young Lawyers Bring Passion to Public Interest Work
Attorney Briefs
Taking the Stand
Disciplinary Summaries
On Further Review
Member Spotlight
Worth Reading
Speaking of Ethics
The Learning Curve
The Pro Bono Effect
A Slice of Wry
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - Cover1
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - Cover2
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - 1
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - 2
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - 3
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - 4
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - Your Voice
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - 6
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - From Our President
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - Practice Management
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - Toward Well-Being
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - Planting the Seeds: Pro Bono Helps Nonprofits Flourish
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - 11
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - 12
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - 13
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - A Primer on D.C.’s New Debt Collection Law
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - 15
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - 16
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - 17
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - Eviction Writ Quashing: Last Line of Defense for Tenants
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - 19
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - Employment Law Implications of Dobbs
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - 21
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - How Immigration Can Help Solve the U.S. Pilot Shortage
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - 23
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - 24
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - 25
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - Ten Things You Might Have Forgotten Since the Pandemic
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - 27
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - 28
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - 29
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - SPECIAL SECTION Young Lawyers Bring Passion to Public Interest Work
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - 31
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - 32
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - Attorney Briefs
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - Taking the Stand
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - 35
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - Disciplinary Summaries
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - 37
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - On Further Review
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - 39
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - Member Spotlight
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - 41
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - Worth Reading
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - 43
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - Speaking of Ethics
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - 45
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - The Learning Curve
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - The Pro Bono Effect
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - 48
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - 49
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - 50
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - 51
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - A Slice of Wry
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - Cover3
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - Cover4
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