Under Analysis: Atypical lawyer

By Michelle St. Germain

In 3011, the body of a lawyer was found. It wasn’t just any lawyer, however. It was the body of the civil rights advocate, constitutional law scholar, and internet attorney, Phillip Heartman. One thousand years earlier, Heartman had been diligently working at a contraption once referred to as a desk, in front of a primitive computer, when a tsunami overtook his office. The lawyer quickly realized what was happening and took refuge in his titanium-plated hyperbaric oxygen chamber. He had it on hand for those days when he felt like he just couldn’t get away from his problems—emergency protection was a side-benefit. An earthquake erupted moments later, casting the lawyer to a deep crevasse. The fall caused a button on the chamber to be pushed: “commence cryogenic freeze.”

Oil excavation, a constant activity in 3011, resulted in Phillip finally being found. The current CEO of BP remarked that it was a “victory for small people.” (It seemed like the right thing to say for some reason.) Phillip’s oxygen chamber, and his frozen body, were sent immediately to KitchenAide, which used its microwave defrosting technology to bring him back to life, a thousand years after his mishap. Remarkably, the freezing and the subsequent defrosting had no effect on Phillip’s appearance or age. The Twinkie in Phillip’s pocket, however, looked a little dry.

Before Phillip could be released from his oxygen chamber, Phillip underwent a series of standard security tests known as “STRATEGERY.” STRATEGERY stands for: Systematic Testing Rules for Apparent Teresterially Excavated Genetic Earthlings from the Rediscovered Years. The tests included: a full body scan, a full DNA profile, a cavity search, a lie detector test, and a dental swab test. The tests determined that Phillip’s last meal was a “McRib.”

As the tests wore on, Phillip’s mind was fuzzy, but he was beginning to see that something was not right: lie detector tests were only used on Dateline NBC and in “Meet the Fockers.” He also couldn’t understand why a brief tumble merited attention from all these blue jump-suited folk. It wasn’t like he had gone to the airport, for heavens sake.

“Hey,” Phillip asked/shouted. “Do you mind keeping that vacuum ex-ray combo device away from my sensitive areas? It’s not like I’m planning to travel or anything.”

The jump-suited dude looked at Phillip warily. “Are you telling me that you intend to just stay in this oxygen chamber? You move a muscle - you are traveling, pal,” the TSA (Team of Strategery Administration) agent said. “Also, you are in luck, because the McRib is back.”

“Whatever happened to my . . . Fourth Amendment Rights?” Phillip demanded.

“What are you, a comedian?” The TSA agent looked at his coworkers. “I love these frozen forever guys. They wake up assuming they have rights, don’t know the whole moon landing thing was proven to be a Disney animation trick, and think global warming is real.”

Phillip sat up. “No, I’m not a comedian, I’m a lawyer. Yes, I am an unfrozen lawyer”—the similarity of his situation with that of Saturday Night Live’s once popular Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer struck Phillip mid-sentence, giving him a chill. “Why is asking about my Fourth Amendment rights funny?”

The TSA agent looked at Phillip and gave the same speech he’d given to seven other icecubers that same week. “The Bill of Rights was invalidated because it was genetically tested and the very paper and ink it was made of was a total farce. The Bill of Rights was a fraud. We’re commanded by the Bill of Rewrites, now.”
“Heaven help me,” Phillip muttered.

“Heaven?” asked the TSA guy. “Don’t know about that, but I do remember the day the test results were broadcast live on the InterVurizonNews. I guess you might remember the dark ages before the news was dramatically streamlined after Vurizon bought the Internet. It made the practice of net neutrality so much simpler. Now we all can agree on basic facts, such as security is more important than anything else because not only does the Bill of Rights not exist, but your very existence is a threat to everyone else.”

Phillip didn’t know were to begin. He was amazed that a single-source of information filter was now considered neutral. But he couldn’t let go of the relationship between security and rights. “If my existence is a threat to everyone else, wouldn’t that mean that security is protecting other people’s rights? I mean, you have to acknowledge there is a little bit of an irony there.”

“Quit it with that rights talk,” the TSA agent said. “Oh, and before you leave your oxygen chamber, you should probably update your Facebook status. Standard protocol,” the TSA agent said. “And make sure you ‘like’ the TSA page, or there will be fines.”

Phillip sighed. All the changes in the world were starting to make his head spin. He could see there was a lot of work to do to right the world again. He would have to get to work on reinstating the Bill of Rights, rectifying the TSA nightmare, and reversing the corruption of net neutrality. But first, Phillip had quite a few continuing legal education hours he would need to bring his license current.

Under Analysis is a nationally syndicated column. Michelle St. Germain practices law in St. Louis, Missouri. You may direct comments or criticisms about this column to the Levison Group c/o this newspaper, or direct to the Levison Group via e-mail, at comments@levisongroup.com.
© 2011 Under Analysis L.L.C.