Thursday, February 16, 2006

Ask Scaebolah! # 5 - The (Late) Valentines Day Edition

It is February once again, my dear readers, and that could only mean one thing. There will be roses a plenty, and the usual share of rejected suits, motions for reconsideration, appeals, and petitions for certiorari.

Law students, despite all the perils of their training, should give their strangled hearts a chance. To paraphrase an old friend: Remember that knowledge of the law is but a part of your legacy. Malcolm Hall is also home to Courage, to Belief, and to Romance. Yes, never ever forget the Romance.

Dear Scaebolah,

I think I’m falling for a guy. What should I do? Is it so bad that he’s my blockmate?

- Infatuated

Dear Infatuated,

That depends entirely on your blockmate. The applicable principle is, “If hot, then why not?” Neither the law nor public policy frowns upon blockmates, classmates, or just plain schoolmates from being involved. The Supreme Court has subscribed to the notion truism that the heart has reasons of its own which reason does not know, and has held that “yielding to this gentle and universal emotion is not to be so casually equated with immorality” (Chua-Cua v. Clave GRN 49549 August 30, 1990). However, if he already looks like a Supreme Court Justice…then he better be really smart and loaded.


Dear Scaebolah,

What should I prioritize? Law or love?


Dear Conflicted,

They say that law is a jealous mistress. Which is just a fancy way of saying that it is hell on relationships. Indeed, many a good couples have fallen to the strain and sacrifice that the profession demands.

It is doubtful if the law can offer an answer of its own status relative to love, beyond mere self-serving assertions. And so we must turn to my other muse, Literature. In Erich Segal’s Love Story, perhaps the de jure best book concerning romance between law students in love, the following Walt Whitman poem is recited:

”...I give you my hand! I give you my love more precious than money, I give you myself before preaching or law (emphasis mine); Will you give me yourself? will you come travel with me?
Shall we stick by each other as long as we live?”

The answer, based on the text, is quite obvious. Love always before law.


Dear Scaebolah,

I just broke up with my boyfriend and it hurts so much. What can I do to ease the pain?


Dear Hurting,

Start reading and memorizing the provisions of The Rules of Court. This should kill off parts of your autonomous nervous system, and dampen your capacity for emotions. Do not, however, go as far as Special Proceedings, for that will cause you to go into a coma.


Dear Scaebolah,

What should I look for in a guy?


Dear Searching,

Fortunately, the law provides you a ready made standard, that of a Reasonable Man, also known as the Prudent Man, or the Ordinarily Reasonable, Careful, and Prudent Man. At his best, the reasonable man is almost perfect. At worst, he’s just like the rest of us. Sounds like a pretty good arrangement to me.

He will make a pretty swell boyfriend, husband, and father. The Reasonable Man “drives women to their doorsteps, regardless of the personal peril that it may entail.” (Tullgern v. Amoskeag Mfg. Co., 133 A. 4 (N.H. 1926)). He never makes “an excessive demand upon his wife, his neighbors, his servants, his ox, or his ass” (Farrell v. Potts); He never swears gambles or loses his temper. He uses nothing except in moderation, and even while he flogs his child is meditating only on the golden mean (A.P. HERBERT, The Uncommon Law ). The Reasonable Man is also quite knowledgeable about the peculiar propensities of small children. He recognizes that children seldom heed advice, and often do silly things, (RESTATEMENT SECOND TORTS 9 290 cmt. j. (1977).)

Of course, he’s been known to do crazy things every now and then. Holmes suggests that a reasonable man gets out of his car at every railroad crossing to check for oncoming trains (Baltimore & O.R.R. v. Goodman, 275 U.S. 66). He might leave you to die although he could have saved you.(Sidwell v. McVay, 282 P.2d 756, 759 (Okla. 1955)). Alas, not everything proceeds as in a romance novel, either in life or in law. Still, you have to admit that the Reasonable Man is still a world ahead of the rogues and scoundrels in the scene these days. The very best luck in finding him!



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