One day about a month ago, I was talking to someone on the phone, and this person was trying to explain the difference between him, as he saw it, and trial lawyers like me, as he saw it. He thought trial lawyers like me weren't nice people, and so to show the difference between him, and me, he said this:
"I'm a nice person. I rescued a kitten that was dying on our lawn."
To which I wanted to say "I would rescue a kitten, too, what am I, a soulless machine?"
But I didn't because this was, as strange as that seems, a business conversation.
But later, I thought: How is that the test of niceness, rescuing a kitten? Who wouldn't rescue a kitten? Wouldn't everyone?
So I asked people in my office -- lawyers and law students, all -- this question:
If a kitten were dying on your lawn, would you rescue it?
That was all the facts I gave them: That was the sole extent of the question. And what I figured I'd get is what I answered the question with: "Yes," without hesitation.
I mean, Jesus didn't expressly tell people they have to rescue kittens, but it's pretty implied, isn't it?
Here are the answers I got, before I gave up hope:
"I'm from the south. I own a shotgun. I don't like cats."
"Depends. How grossly maimed is it? If it's not too gross, I might take it to a shelter, if I don't have to drive too far."
"Why would I?"
"No way. I hate cats. Maybe a baby penguin."
That last one led to a debate about which is actually a cuter animal, a kitten or a baby penguin, and no more work was done that day.
What's ironic is one of our office mottoes is "We Help Quickly."*
*Provided you are not a kitten.