Monday, December 25, 2006

Horses, Lawyers, and Perry Mason


All three of our daughters are horse crazy. They constantly talk about and dream about horses. They have dozens of toy horses. For Christmas they wanted more toy horses. (They also wanted real horses, but we’ve explained that we can’t have horses right now since we live in a suburban area.) Our daughters often play with their toy horses. They also like Herd Your Horses and Horse-opoly. They read about horses and can talk extensively about different breeds.

My girls come by this interest naturally. My grandparents had a horse ranch for about thirty years. As a child, I was excited to watch baby horses born. One year they had eleven foals. That weaning day was a loud and noisy day. The foals ran all over the place and constantly whinnied for their mothers.


Several months ago my oldest was wishing for a horse. I told her that horses cost a lot of money. One of my brothers recently got a sailboat. He said sailboats are holes in the water you throw money in. I explained to my daughter that likewise horses are holes you throw lots of money in. I told her when she got older that if she had money she could buy and keep her own horses. She said that maybe she would like to be a lawyer. She knew lawyers can make a lot of money.

We have some good friends who use to live a block away. A couple years back they moved to a nearby city. The husband is a patent attorney. We decided to have them come join us for dinner, partly with the intension that our oldest daughter would interview the father about what it was like to be a lawyer, and how to prepare. After dinner my oldest asked questions and listened for a half hour. She learned a little about the law profession. She was still kind of interested.

Perry Mason

A couple weeks back one of the local television stations started showing Perry Mason. I have enjoyed watching them with my oldest two girls. The six year old finds them boring.

In preparing for this post I asked the older two girls what they liked and learned from watching Perry Mason. My oldest said:

1) She learned how formal court rooms are
2) She learned that law was kind of interesting
3) She liked the kinds of dresses women wore fifty years ago
4) She was surprised that there were planes fifty years ago. (I guess we’ll have to work on timelines again.)
5) She thought the phones were “like kind of weird.” I also had to explain why they had to talk with an operator to make a phone call.

She finds Perry Mason entertaining, and likes that it isn’t bloody. There is usually a murder, but it is not graphically shown.

My second daughter said she also learned:

1) That it is often best to call the police right away. Often Perry Mason’s clients get into trouble because they don’t go straight to the police, but try to cover something up.
2) She also pointed out that you can’t jump to conclusions. The obvious suspect is rarely the person who did it.

I’m glad we’ve had a chance to watch an old television show. It has been both fun and educational. This is one of the ways children can learn a lot about the world. We have had many discussions. The setting for each show is different. We've learned about shady land deals, inheritance, and so on.

If you have a chance, give Perry Mason a chance.

Now if any of my daughters become lawyers I’ll have to be careful about telling lawyer jokes, like:


God decided to take the devil to court and settle their differences once and for all.

When Satan heard this, he laughed and said, "And where do you think you're going to find a lawyer?"


Santa Claus, the tooth fairy, an honest lawyer and an old drunk are walking down the street together when they simultaneously spot a hundred dollar bill. Who gets it? The old drunk, of course, the other three are mythological creatures.


Q: How many lawyers does it take to change a light bulb?

A: Fifty four. Eight to argue, one to get a continuance, one to object, one to demur, two to research precedents, one to dictate a letter, one to stipulate, five to turn in their time cards, one to depose, one to write interrogatories, two to settle, one to order a secretary to change the bulb, and twenty-eight to bill for professional services


A lawyer and a pope died on the same day, and both went to heaven. When the pope noticed that the lawyer had a larger mansion, he questioned Saint Peter about the allocation of rewards. The justification was "Well, we've had 265 popes up here, but this is the FIRST lawyer!"

Three professionals were discussing the nature of God. The doctor said, "The Bible states that God made Woman by taking a rib out of Man; God is obviously a surgeon." The engineer replied, "But before God made man he created Heaven and Earth out of Chaos; this is obviously the work of a master engineer. The lawyer just smiled and said, "But who do you think created the chaos?"


A Hindu, a rabbi, and a lawyer are traveling together and need to stop for the night. So they stop at the next farmhouse, and find lodging, with the qualification that the house is only big enough for two of them, and one will have to sleep in the barn. So the Hindu volunteers and goes out to sleep in the barn while the lawyer and rabbi sleep in the house.

A few minutes later, however, the lawyer and rabbi hear a knock on the door, and opening it, find the Hindu who protests "There is a cow in the barn. Surely you can't expect me to sleep with cattle." So the rabbi and the lawyer agree that perhaps the rabbi should trade places with the Hindu, and the rabbi goes out.

Within a short time, the Hindu and the lawyer are getting ready to go to sleep, when again there is a knock on the door. Opening the door they find the rabbi protesting, "There is a pig in the barn. Surely you can't expect me to sleep with a pig!"

Weary of the whole problem by this time, the lawyer pulls the rabbi into the house, grabs a blanket and heads for the barn. Almost immediately, there is a third knocking at the door, and opening the door they find the pig and the cow.
"Surely you can't expect us to sleep with a lawyer."


A very rich man, who was very close to his money, got together with his closest friends one day, who happened to be a Priest, a Doctor, and a Lawyer (or course.)

The Rich Man was very old, and getting older, and was thinking about his approaching death. He told his three friends this, and asked them to do a favor for him when he died.

"Here are three envelopes, each contain $100,000, one for each of you. I don't wish to go to the afterlife without my money. Please, when I am buried, would each of you throw your envelopes into the grave on top of my coffin?"

The three friends agreed, and took the envelopes.

Sure enough (of course) the Rich Man died. At his funeral, the Doctor, the Priest and the Lawyer threw their envelopes on his coffin.

As they were leaving the funeral, the Priest said to the others, "I have a confession to make. The church needed a new altar badly, so I . . . I took $5000 to buy it," and looked at his feet.

The Doctor said, "Well, since you've admitted it, I too must confess that I took money. The children's hospital where I work needed a new, expensive X-ray machine, so I took $30,000 to buy it."

The Doctor and the Priest both turned to the lawyer, expecting a similar confession. Instead, he said "Oh, now, I didn't take any of the money. There was a check for all $100,000 in the envelope!"

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