It's a recurring dream.
It starts out with me in front of my computer, sipping a Fresca, blissing out to Ashlee's Autobiography, and logging on to see which interviews I've been awarded for Fall OCI. I open my e-mail and get no fewer than forty interview awards, netting offers from all of my top choices. I've got interviews with big firms, little firms, public interest firms, government agencies, non-profits, consulting boutiques, and Oprah. I'm golden.
I walk into most of my interviews reeking of alcohol and blitzed on Benzedrine, but I'm such a hot commodity that nobody cares: they all want a piece of The Mike. They offer me money, cars, their daughters--whatever it takes. I end up splitting my summer an unprecedented four ways, don't show up to a single day of work, spend all three months in Tahiti, and still end up with eight permanent job offers come September. I spend my 3L year finishing two novels and moonlighting as the pianist at a local gentlemen's club. I'm chosen to be my own commencement speaker. I make partner within 18 months of joining my firm.
And I have rock-hard abs.
But then it all disappears, and I'm back at my computer again. Only this time it's a Yoo-Hoo in my hand, Amy Grant's Heart in Motion in my ears...and only three interviews from OCI. I panic.
"SIXTY BIDS!!!" I scream. "SIXTY SHEEPFUCKING BIDS...and all I can get are three lousy interviews?"
And lousy interviews they are: a maritime firm in Tonopah, NV; a defense outfit in Lordsburg, NM, that specializes in drunk drivers and "truckers charged with unique sexual offenses"; and a solo practitioner in Timpson, TX, whose only listed requirements are "nice teeth." Despite my disappointment, I overprepare for all three interviews. I've got canned answers to every Common Question listed in our OCI Handbook ("What are your weaknesses?", "What motivates you?", "Can I be your Sun and Stars?"), and I absolutely freak when their questions drag me off-script. My brain does wheelies trying to apply my rehearsed responses to the unexpected queries, and I end up answering innocent questions about my 1L summer with set pieces about transsexuals in the Olympics and prephrased explanations for my criminal record. It does not fly. I leave the interviewers unimpressed, and I'm blanked when callback time rolls around. I try interviewing as a 3L, but I've been blacklisted--no legal employer within 6000 miles will even touch me.
Forced to hang out my own shingle, I work out of the corner booth in a Whataburger. My only clients are a homeless flower peddler who wants to file a patent infringement suit against Boeing for ripping off his design for a diesel-powered time machine, and the Whataburger late-shift manager who, despite being involuntarily celibate--a condition that is most likely attributable to an aversion to baths and a penchant for spandex--has me on a monthly retainer to act as his defense counsel in the event of a paternity suit.
I go on this way until about nine months after graduation, at which point, deciding that I can no longer subsist solely on Ramen and Cutty Sark, I concede defeat. I return to my pre-law career, harvesting corn in Argentina for the next twenty years in order to make good on my student loan debt. I die in my late forties, alone, broke, and cursing the day that I decided to take the LSAT. I do, however, retain the rock-hard abs.
* * *
And that's when I wake up. Shaking, drenched in sweat, looking just like Axl at the end of the "November Rain" video(only with better hair and more tattoos), I walk into the kitchen. The hum of the freezer seems to taunt me as I stare at the calendar, slowly counting the days until employers return their picks. I feed the cats, drink a glass of warm milk, and then return to bed where, huddled underneath my Winnie the Pooh comforter, I cry myself back to sleep, hoping that, at least for tonight, the worst of the nightmare has passed.