Marshall Rosenberg shuddered in his sleep, an eternity from the courtroom where I sat flanked by a young hotshot, across from a good-old-boy. The former slid his eyes in my direction, pretending not to see the client who sat next to me. I don’t see how you have seven witnesses, he smirked. I’ll object to character witnesses. To his left, the other lawyer said, And I’ll join that objection.
It’s an unwritten rule that lawyers don’t make fun of each other’s clients. I have honored this ethical mandate for my entire tenure as an attorney. As these two cast their snarky jabs in my client’s direction, I closed my eyes. Her tension flowed towards me; my eyes snapped wide. I turned and placed my hand on her arm. Don’t listen to them, I urged. They intend to intimidate you. That’s bully talk. It’s about them, not you. I did not lower my voice to whisper. She needed to know that they could hear.
The younger one protested. I’m not trying to intimidate anyone. He lied. His words had no other purpose. I kept my voice steady and even as I continued. Don’t lose sight of that. What these lawyers are doing is trying to upset you. What they think of you is about them, not you.
I don’t understand ugly behavior. I want to buy a dozen copies of Non-Violent Communication and anonymously mail it to all these diehard jackals. I want to buy a pair of thin plastic gloves, print a copy of this blog entry, and mail it to those lawyers from somebody else’s zip code tucked into an envelope on which I would leave no prints. None of that would protect my client from their small-minded meanness. I’d be sinking to their level, without question. But at the moment when I fixed the stamp and smoothed the flap, I’d have a brief sensation of getting even.
I’ve got a good standard printer and a full box of #10s. It’s tempting. Truly, terribly, tempting.
It’s the tenth day of the thirty-sixth month of My Year Without Complaining. Life continues.
The late Marshall Rosenberg using puppets to demonstrate violent v. non-violent speech.
To read an interview in which he described “giraffe talk” and “jackal talk”, click HERE.
If you wish to read today’s Saturday Musings, click Here