Wednesday, November 08, 2006

I've been hearing something about an election yesterday, but with a big client deadline it was crunch day at the office and so I don't think anyone's left the building since Monday. I guess I got some e-mails from associates asking if they could take 10 or 15 minutes to go down and vote, but I didn't really know what they were talking about and so I ignored them and had my secretary deactivate their keycards for the day just so they couldn't get out into the elevator bank and escape. I used to think it was my civic duty to vote, but I lost those ideals a long time ago, around when I realized the laws don't apply to people like me anyway, so what's the difference. All the candidates are the same anyway. They're all lawyers who couldn't get a job at a firm and had to go into "public service" just to save face. I don't for one moment think Eliot Spitzer wouldn't rather be a litigation partner at Fried Frank than governor of New York. Well, I guess he wouldn't rather be this litigation partner. But speaking more generally, why wouldn't he? More money, more power, and just as many interns to boss around.

Forget the House and Senate, the one recent election that was actually important around these halls was for 20th Floor Fire Captain. State law requires that we elect a fire captain for every floor, to run a fire drill once every quarter and stay behind in case of a fire. Go down with the ship, and all of that. On most floors, someone has to be cajoled into doing it, threatened with loss of privileges if they don't, maybe allowed an extra hour of pro bono work. But in an unusual turn of events, it turned out that three people on the 20th floor wanted the job, and were willing to fight for it. My incompetent secretary suggested we put the three names in a hat and choose one, but we don't allow associates to wear hats in the building, and that wouldn't be a particularly fun way to do it anyway. I proposed an election. The contestants agreed, under duress. The Whore From Real Estate immediately put up some signs in the hall asking people to vote for her. Stinky brought in doughnuts. The third candidate, The Volunteer Fireman, didn't do much of anything. I suppose he assumed his semi-relevant extracurricular pursuit would sway the voters. As the election neared, I thought I would add a bit of excitement to the process, and I started a small fire with the unsaved memos that an associate had handed me that morning. The associate was upset he'd have to redo all of his work, but I thought it was worth it for the sake of the firm. As soon as I heard the smoke alarm start to ring, I expected the three candidates to leap from their offices and show their leadership skills. But nothing happened. I'd forgotten that we only installed smoke detectors in partner offices, so no one else even knew what was happening. I met up with my fellow partners at the elevators and went outside to wait and see what would happen. An hour later, I returned to my office to find that my secretary had put out the blaze, but no one else had even gotten up to see where the smoke was coming from. They all passed my test. Associates should never leave their desks during a fire until they are actually engulfed in flames. That's for their protection, of course. Keep working until the fire reaches your person. Number one rule of fire safety.

Because of her bold performance, my secretary won the election as a write-in candidate. She only received one vote, but I was the one counting the ballots, and so I declared her the winner. Despite burns to 20% of her body from her efforts in saving my office from the blaze I started, she will do fine in the role when she returns to work.

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