The other day I got into a match with a lawyer – a personal injury lawyah! Lemme tell you somethin’, this guy was fast with his footwork and looked very trim and well-toned. Oh, yeah, these personal injury lawyers are all in good shape, probably because they’re always chasing after ambulances. (Most of them, as you know, are on Olympic sprint teams.) This guy, with the juris doctor degree, may have been fast but he played like he had no brain, no courage and no heart. If I had to bet on it, I was quite sure he must have just seen The Wizard Of Oz.
A couple of minutes into the match, we got into a spat about the score. He had started the game serving and said the score was 6-4 – mathematically impossible. The score was really 6-6 at that point but this SOB was a litigator. I mean he was arguing with me like he’s in the Supreme Court. And then he was insisting on an umpire! C’mon, were we playin’ for blood? I said to him: You don’t trust me, do ya? And he shot back: “Just as much as a two headed cobra! You’re cheating. The score is 6-4, I’m ahead.”
Where does a guy like this get this jargon? Two headed cobra! Where does he get that crap? (Actually, it sounds like me in 1954.) And why is he getting his dander up? I decided not to be passive, after all the guy had just accused me of the ping pong equivalent of being a horse thief which he’s making out to be some high degree felony crime deserving of two to ten in the State Pen plus a fine. So I told him what he had said to me was “libelous” and he better be careful, suggesting I might take him to court. He just shook his head in mock fear, said I was not only a cheat but an ignorant one, because what he had said wasn’t libelous, if anything it was slanderous. Oh! I meekly retorted, upon which he gathered up the ball and quit the table. At least he didn’t give me the finger. Hey, I would have strenuously objected to that, too. What am I, chopped liver?
Well I didn’t wanna play with him anyway, and I only bring up this tale of sorrow to point out that you’re gonna occasionally run into personal injury lawyahs and persons of that ilk. A “baseness lies deep in the hearts of all men” (Cicero, Roman guy), and some of this nastiness will occasionally rear its ugly head. The question at hand is: What to do?
Before I answer that question, I think it is incumbent on me to come clean about my own family history. I come from an ancient and honorable line of potato and turnip growers on my father’s side, most of whom fell off the wagon (i.e., the turnip truck). My mother’s relatives were more noteworthy. They occasionally worked part-time as cow punchers out west, but mostly they were indeed horse thieves and cattle rustlers. (My mom bragged that they didn’t actually rebrand the cattle, they circumcised ‘em – to make em’ kind a’ kosher.) So, you see, this guy callin’ me a cheat wasn’t way off base. The fact is, I only cheat when I’m losing, especially against a guy using Long Pips, which is something you should expect from slick lawyahs.
Okay, back to what to do when pitted against a sleazeball who wants to put you behind bars. Simple! Follow your mother’s advice: Don’t play with them. Period. Oh, and if you do play with them and they catch you cheating on the score, just remind them that you have Alzheimer’s. Works all the time for me. Like a charm. Lao Du