Confessions of a Laid-off Lawyer

Just Your Average Joe Blogging Away His Debt—In One Year or Less

The Replacement

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Total Black: $1,947.16
Total Red: $229,689.21

Another Friday night with my Naked Boys.  Well . . . they’re not mine, of course.  And I’m not with them at all.  But you get the picture.  But tonight I wasn’t head usher.  My sub was.  And I took the occasion to let her know that in a few months she’d have to assume the mantel for good. 

I’m unsure how to approach letting people at the theatre know that I’ll be leaving soon.  The house staff do it all the time because the majority of them are actors: they leave on tour, get a part, move away for a bit and then return.  Since I’ve been there a number of ushers left while others returned.  My Replacement only recently returned.  When I informed her that I’d be leaving soon and that she’d be in charge—she just laughed.  See, she had been the head usher of Naked Boys Singing a few years back.  There’s that odd synchronicity of life again that I mentioned in Synchronicity.  Isn’t it odd that she returns to New World Stages, they make her my head usher back-up—only for her to end up resuming the job she had a few years prior upon my departure?  But the other comical angle to it: she’s a lesbian.  There’s very little thrill, if you will, for her in that show.

Just before we started our shift together I gave her an envelope with money in it.  See, about a week or so ago the apartment she and her girlfriend had been living in got flooded when the apartment above them caught on fire.  When authorities came to check on the damage, they informed them that their basement apartment was illegal and pretty much ordered them out.  Flooded and evicted—in a few short hours.  Needless to say, many of their personal possession and such were damaged or ruined because of the smoke and water from the fire.  My Replacement played it off well enough in public.  I learned of it when she sent a mass e-mail out asking for people to cover her shifts due to the fire.  She clearly had other priorities then besides work.  So this past Sunday when I saw her at work, the idea hit me to take up a collection for her.  I had done the same thing in law school when a sectionmate lost a number of personal belongings in a fire—or perhaps his apartment was broken into.  I can’t recall now the details now, but oddly enough it’s the same colleague who recommended me for the clerkship I’ll soon depart for.  I guess my gesture really struck a chord with him.  Or perhaps he also thinks highly of me beyond that one-off gesture.  Not sure.  But I’m glad I did it then and I’m very glad I did it again this week.

Tonight just before our shift was about to start, My Replacement’s girlfriend showed up at the theatre with a new pair of sneakers she bought for her.  Presumably to replace ones ruined in the fire.  Once I learned who this woman was, I decided that was the ideal moment to give her—really them—the money.  I had been swarming earlier, trying to bring in more money and get our total up to $100.  On Sunday, Easter, when I started I was only at $62.  But by time her girlfriend arrived I had already hit $100 and opted to pause my efforts and get food before the next shift.  Although I still had a few people who hadn’t contributed—and I thought I could increase the amount a bit more—the girlfriend’s arrival brought a perfect moment.

Naturally, My Replacement was shocked.  Then happy.  Then overwhelmed.  She cried—something she claimed she never does.  It brought out the evil twin in me; my sadistic side.  As a child I used to find the sappiest, most emotional card I could for my mother.  If I didn’t get tears, it wasn’t a good holiday!  Mwwwhahahaha.  Yes, I love to make people cry.  But it’s the good kind of cry.

Total amount raised wasn’t much at all by New York standards.  And I had to bite my tongue when a few people tossed a dollar into the envelop.  But another usher scolded me a bit when I complained and then reminded me that I don’t know anyone else’s story—that person may not be able to give more.  True.  Very true.  And a very good point I will try to remind myself of periodically.

My fundraising efforts this week reminded me of the power of collective action in helping to move money to persons in need.  I’m not about make any pitches for money.  But the idea is one I must think more on.  My Replacement’s girlfriend told me the story about a young girl who approached Coca-Cola with an idea to collect soda can tabs.  According to the story, she’d get some amount of money for each can tab.  As the story goes, she collected roughly $75,000 worth of tabs.  Seemed too good to be true.  It is. debunks the rumor.  Even if I knew it to be untrue, I wouldn’t have burst her bubble.  She was too excited about the idea of people coming together to help her and My Replacement.  Even if you can’t trade those soda can tabs in for a round of dialysis—or a roll in the hay—I still think the act of moving money to people in need is an idea worth exploring a bit more.  Perhaps with a somewhat steadier schedule soon, I’ll be able to think on it further.

One Response

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  1. Hmmm. mysterious titled post. What could the replacement be?

    My guess – you’ve accepted the clerkship offer and you are referring to your replacement at work.


    April 11, 2010 at 18:55

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