Never be afraid to get dirty, but be sufficiently sure-footed to avoid the abyss of contamination.

The Joke

It is the fall of 2005. I walk up to the fourth floor and knock on IP’s door.

IP opens it. “K, have I got the story to tell you,” and he proceeds to tell me one of the most fantastic accounts I had ever heard. IP had been scheduled for an interview at a premier law firm that morning, but when he got to the interview, he found out there had been a mistake with his scheduling.

“We might be able to reschedule you during part of their lunch hour,” replies the coordinator.

IP, being the gentleman he is, comes back during the lunch hour. He knocks on the door. An annoyed voice from the other side of the door asks who it is. IP explains the situation and says that he understands if it is too much of an inconvenience for them.

“No, come on in.” IP enters to find two annoyed, distracted attorneys. One has a scowl on his face while the other is busy looking at his Blackberry. IP introduces himself, but this does nothing to change either of their demeanors. One could only expect the interview to go downhill from here.

IP expects that, too, but figures if it is going to downhill, he might as well tell one of his jokes. “So there’s this father-and-son law firm, and one day, the father gets ill. The son works diligently to keep the practice going and after months of hard work, comes to visit his father on his death bed.

“‘Dad, I know you don’t have much time, but I have some great news to share with you,’ says the son. ‘You know the Johnson account? Well, I finally got them to settle!’ The son is beeming.

“The father, with his final breaths, finds the energy to utter, ‘You fool! That case has been feeding this family for thirty years.'”

As IP finishes the joke, the scowl disappears, and the Blackberry is put away. At the end of the interview, IP is told to come back that evening for dinner, is called in the next week for a second round, receives an internship with them for the following summer, and joins their practice the following year. IP explains that the law firm is famous for taking cases to court and not settling, so the joke is perfect for them.

Flash forward to 2010. I am at IP’s wedding. The Joke is on my mind as I mingle with guests, catch up with old friends, and meet the Bride. The Bride tells me she’s seen some embarrassing photos of IP carrying me on his back, but that’s a story for another time. We head up for the reception and await the toasts.

The Joke ends up being featured in two toasts, delivered by another pair of friends from that era. The evening continues with dancing, mingling, and meeting several familiar, new, and interesting faces. Then the band starts playing “Hava Nageela,” and I find myself lifting up one of the legs of a chair that IP is seated on. I feel like I’m doing curls.

The evening ends, and I leave with a workout, a huge smile on my face, and the knowledge that yet another person I hold in high esteem has found a partner to share his life with.

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