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October 25th, 2006

daydreams about choices



Last night the rains came at last. A feeling of impending relief rides the climate. Each night the local news lets us know more is on the way, but that the lakes need far mroe than is coming.
Some day soon the news will say "enough", "we have enough".

The world is full of beleagured things. I read how social workers in Dallas County are over-worked and under-staffed. Actually, that's a poor phrase. Social support workers of virtually every stripe are over-worked, under-staffed and often under-paid. I mean that the problem is so palpable that newspapers write about it.

I think sometimes that I might have been good at doing good in this more front-line way. I am not sure why I think so, because some of the somewhat bureaucratic nature of such professions falls rather far from my own apple tree. Yet the idea of being on the front lines of dealing with poverty appeals.

It's funny how one's role colors one's thinking. For example, I normally am very pro-child-protective services, recognizing it as a thankless job doing a difficult task. Yet when I encounter them, it's usually in the context of someone needing advice about how to fight one of their more extreme snap-judgments. Fortunately, my practice involves a lot more discussion of the meaning of abstract commercial and corporate documents than it does people fighting to retain their children. Perhaps I am better in the quartermaster corps than in the front lines.

Speaking of the front lines, sometimes I imagine what my life would have been had I gone into the Judge Advocate General Corps right after law school. At the time, this would never occurred to me, largely because I never considered the military, and partly because I am not sure I iron well enough to make a uniform look really crisp. I try a fair number of cases, and get to do interesting work. But court martial work must be fascinating--so many human stories.

I remember that high school interests test I took, which advised me that my interests fit well with being a priest or a plumber. I never felt "the call" to be either. I could and do easily find fault in myself that I do so little, and could do so much more "in the big picture". Yet I am secretly grateful I do work that interests me, and that I have the mental wherewithal to switch if ever it gets to be too much for me.