I'd actually thought about dropping out of the 1L moot court competition at the last minute, because Sean Penn called me on Wednesday night, nervous as hell and wondering if I'd go to L.A. with him for support. (I'd already turned down Charlize at that point, and Marcia Gay Harden had left me like 300 voice mails, so I was getting pretty tired of being whined at by movie stars.) But in the end I decided that if I had spend one more Oscar night listening to Ben Kingsley drone on about the virtues of Taebo, I was going to hurl all over the back of somebody's limo. And I didn't want that. So I stayed in the competition.
I waltzed thru my prelim rounds without any real problems, generally preferring to answer the judge's questions with more questions, and at one point improvising a sonnet that explained the Court's three-part test for disproportionality of sentencing in Solum v. Helm, but I could sense that I was headed for trouble down the road. The prelim judging pool was made up mostly of recent grads, and both of mine were women; I doubt that any of my arguments really got any penetration with either, since they were both understandably preoccupied with the aggressive cut of my trousers. In later rounds, though, I knew the judges would be less susceptible to crotch-borne distractions and more likely to have read the bench memos. So I resolved to spend Friday night boning up on cases. That was, until the phone rang.
Wil Wheaton: Dude, you absolutely have to come out tonight.
Me: Sorry, Wesley. Gotta prep for my Octofinals round.
Wil Wheaton: Don't fucking call me Wesley. And whadya mean prep? I thought you were just going to do the sonnet thing?
Me: No can do. These are outrounds. Stuff gets serious.
Wil Wheaton: Whatever. Both Cories are going to be there--Haim just got out of rehab--and I think they got Candice Cameron to come along. She's single now.
Me: Candice? Really.
Wil Wheaton: Really.
Me: And she's single?
Wil Wheaton: Yup.
Me: Do you swear?
Wil Wheaton: I swear.
Me: But do you pinky swear, Gordie?
Wil Wheaton: Screw you, man. -click-
So I went out. And though I'm not at liberty to disclose the details of the evening (since Wheaton had sold an option on the screenplay rights by the time I'd woken up Saturday morning), just let it be said that if any tabloid articles happen to come out linking me with a certain 50-something , one-woman media empire whose had a few legal problems as of late, well, you won't be hearing any denials from me. But as great as it was to be snorting lines with the Cories again, I had to pay the price come Saturday morning.
Since I'd been relying mostly on charm and O. W. Holmes quotes, I hadn't actually read any of the cases mentioned in the packet, and my judge picked up on that fairly quickly. He'd say, "Well, counselor, what do you think about Suchandsuch?" or "How is this any different from Whatshisname?" and I'd be stuck responding with "Do I look fat to you?" or "Haven't I slept with your daughter?" Clearly, he wasn't amused. If I had to guess, I'd say that he was having marital problems and was jealous of my virility, but whatever. He had it in for me.
Not surprisingly, I ended up losing. The comments on my side of the ballot read simply: "Counsel for the petitioner made me wish I'd never been given the gift of hearing." Poetic, sure. But a little harsh.
Anyway, the girl that beat me ended up making it to the finals, and I'm having sushi with one of my prelim judges on Friday, so not all was lost. But I probably would have been better off at the Oscars. Oh well.