Yesterday, I had the most exciting day of my legal career. At first thought, perhaps you’re thinking that I scored a victory at trial, or successfully defeated a well-drafted summary judgment motion, or obliterated an adversary’s case with carefully-calculated questioning at deposition. Perhaps you’re thinking that I was prematurely named partner or asked if I’d like my name to be added to the letterhead.
Nope. What happened yesterday was far more exciting than the aforementioned predictions of legal excitement. Yesterday, my office paralegal/receptionist opened a letter. Now, I am part of a small law firm, but it’s a law firm nonetheless, so we receive dozens of letters a day. While she was opening the letter, she was shooting the shit with another associate at my firm. Upon opening the letter, a poof of white, powdery substance filled the air. I heard a commotion and went outside of my office to investigate. The minute I heard that a white, powdery substance had been expelled from a letter, I immediately ran into my office, shut the door, and placed a napkin over my mouth. Having extensively watched and studied 24, I thought, at that moment, that I might have been exposed to inhalation anthrax and sought to determine whether an anthrax outbreak had been reported to the authorities. My search came up empty, although I did see that a gentlemen in Florida had distributed white powder filled envelopes as an April Fool’s joke. Well, the joke was on him as he now faces federal criminal prosecution.
The rest of the story becomes a little more unclear, because I was the only one hiding in my office, and my description of what transpired should be qualified by the admission that I could only hear muffled conversation. The letter containing the white powder apparently came from a division of the federal government, which gave me pause. Furthermore, the letter appeared as though it may have been tampered with, since it was sealed with scotch tape. As I sat, quarantined in what I hoped to be a safe haven from biological terror, I heard laughter from outside. I could only think that such laughter was either (1) caused by the whole situation being a really not funny joke; or (2) the white powder had caused my office-mates to develop brain abnormalities that instigated uncontrollable fits of inappropriate laughter.
My fears were immediately heightened, however, when a knock came on my door. I hesitantly cracked open the door and was told that those of us who did not come into contact with said letter or powder had been instructed to leave the premises. I was led out to the lobby by building management, where I was met with 3 firefighters, each of whom was carrying a face mask. I ran out in a fit of terror, and immediately raised my arms for what I anticipated would be the immediate biological detox (Jack Bauer style). As I stood there, arms out and eyes closed, I waited for what seemed like an eternity, since no one was detoxing me. Perhaps it was too late, I thought. Perhaps no detox could save me from the exposure which, while only temporary, was sufficient to extinguish me from the face of the earth. I began to feel my throat tighten; my neck stiffen; and my head throb.
For those of us who were permitted to leave the premises, we went to a nearby safe quarantine area (commonly known as a dive bar). My companions enjoyed what might have been a last meal and some alcoholic beverages, while I sat in wait for my fate. We kept in regular contact with those of us who had to be left behind. According to those individuals, after we left, they immediately entered into telephone contact with the Fire Department Captain and the FBI. Soon after we left, Hazmat personnel entered the offices, covered from head to toe:
Hazmat proceeded to seize the letter and perform various tests that would allow them to determine the nature of the suspicious substance.
Well, what happened? I’m typing away, so all I know is that the substance was not anthrax. My near-death experience, however, did lead me to wonder if Tina Fey has ever read my blog. I’ve been making pleas to Tina Fey for quite some time now; I have a script ready, willing, and able for production; but I have since come up empty. Tina Fey, if you’re reading this, perhaps you may reconsider contacting me. I mean, I could have died yesterday. Granted, the powder was probably baby powder. But that’s not the point. Hazmat came, ready to whisk me off to await my slow and painful demise. Tina Fey, hear my pleas.
Discover me, Tina Fey!