Questioning the Wisdom of Willie Nelson

Willie Nellson is performing in Confederation Park on the summer solstice this Friday. In anticipation I’ve had my favourite Willie Nelson song stuck in my head all week: (yes this blog post is mostly an excuse to play this song).

A few years ago around the time of my call to the bar I sent my parents a video of myself doing a karaoke to this song. They were proud parents of a lawyer-to-be and thought they’d appreciate Willie’s advice to mothers that they should make their kids be “doctors and lawyers and such” (and more central to the song, not let them grow up to be cowboys).

Every so often I have days where I rethink Willie’s wisdom. Recently, when I found myself waiting in line at the courthouse registrar between two extremes: one neighbour was seemingly senior member of the defence bar boasting loudly about the various inventive ways in which he’s gotten clients off on domestic assault charges, and in the same loud tone how women tend to exaggerate claims of assault. On one side of me, and an apparent self-represented litigant who had turned to me to tell me that lawyers actually love waiting in these lines cause they get paid “big bucks” to do it and that “all lawyers were scumbags.”

I sat disappointed in silence instead of challenging my colleague on his assertions about women or over the appropriateness of his very public tale telling and I bit my tongue at the urge to correct the man on my other side on both his assumption about what type of bucks I made and whether or not I was a scumbag. Instead I contemplated my spot in this line and wondered if I’d rather grow up to be a cowboy.

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