“Get a life, you moron,” was how the F-bomb throwing reader ended his emailed comment to me this week. He was venting about one of my free online continuing legal education blog posts and he was worked up over not having found the links to adequately satisfy his need for free online continuing legal education (CLE).
I reckon he was a lawyer since only lawyers troll for CLE, particularly this time of year when the procrastinators are up against a June 30th fiscal year CLE reporting deadline.
And clearly, he was pissed off — predictably epitomizing the reliable answer to the eternal question of “Why Lawyers Are Assholes.” Or as a salty old lawyer once analogously sassed to explain why people hire lawyers, “Why send an amateur, when you can hire a professional asshole?”
It’s ironic that of all the blog posts I’ve written the past 3 years, it’s only been those concerning free online CLE that have ever generated nasty comments. But it shouldn’t be surprising. Clare Boothe Luce perfectly encapsulated the phenomena of ungratefulness, which she described as “No good deed goes unpunished.”
By coincidence, it was also a year ago this month when I last covered the “no good deed” file. But last June, I wasn’t blogging about angry lawyers who despite many disclaimers still have the stones to complain about quality or content of something for nothing. Only in America do so many feel so entitled to so much for not anything.
But the sin of ingratitude runs deep in the human psyche. It crosses income and demographics. And indeed, it wasn’t that long ago when a health care worker I met mentioned (politically incorrectly) how generally, he and his clinic co-workers had found that the most consistently demanding, obnoxiously impatient, and indignantly entitled of all patients were those on Arizona’s Medicaid System who pay nothing for the services they receive there.
Ingratitude as a civil action.
According to Black’s Law Dictionary, “In Roman law, ingratitude was accounted a sufficient cause for revoking a gift.” And it’s still a law on the books in France and in Louisiana where Article 1558 of the Louisiana Civil Code provides for an action of revocation for ingratitude within one year from the day the donor knew or should have known of the act of ingratitude.
Every lawyer knows that without ‘skin’ in the game, contingency fee clients will fight to your last dollar. And as Daniel White humorously defined ‘pro bono publico’ in The Official Lawyers’ Handbook: How to Survive a Legal Career, the term pro bono “Refers to legal services performed without charge, usually for ingrates.”
And so by way of parting rejoinder, I invoke the best disclaimer of all — from Will Shakespeare’s Fool who said, “Then tis like the breath of an unfee’d lawyer, you gave me nothing for it.”
Credits: “Angry Crazy Man,” by Catherine Helzerman, chelzerman, at Flickr via Creative Commons-licensed content requiring attribution and share alike distribution; “Not funny, How Embarrassing . . . ,” by Beverly & Pack at Flickr via Creative Commons-licensed content requiring attribution;