According the the American Bar Association, there are 1,143,358 lawyers licensed to practice law in the United States (just sit back and chew on that number for a moment). 1,143,356 of them are killing us. My sister and her husband are the two that are doing good in the world every day. But, with due respect to them (and, trust me, there’s a lot of respect due), the rest are killing us.
Case in point – I am staying at the JW Marriott in LA. Friggin’ sucks because I look out over the Staples Center from my room and Kobe and the Lakers were not playing. Instead, Roger Waters (Pink Floyd – that dude is really still alive??) was playing. Anyhoo, this morning I went up to the concierge lounge for some breakfast. As I was leaving, a guy with a coffee cup that said “Starbucks” on it, went to the concierge and asked if there was a microwave so he could warm up his coffee. I happened to be holding my Marriott issue cardboard coffee cup and it was plain white so this dude was clearly carrying contraband coffee into the lounge.
“Where did you buy that coffee?” inquired the concierge, clearly with an agenda.
The cat with the contraband coffee was nonplussed and sputtered out something like “um, er, Starbucks.” Now, as an aside, he may or may not have been telling the truth. Every Tom, Dick and Harry coffee shop now has a sign by their coffee urn sayinig “We Proudly Serve Starbucks Coffee.” Can someone please explain that to me. OK, I get the “Starbucks Concept.” I’m even willing to admit that I endure their putrid coffee every now and then because I love the “feel” of sitting in a Starbucks with the trendy furniture and decor and jazz music, sipping a cup of nasty overcooked Joe so I can pretend I’m a hip Italian dude. But, if you’re a sterile looking corner coffee shop in the lobby of some random office building, why sell that shit? Sell Maxwell House and put up a sign that says, “We Proudly Serve Coffee You Can Drink Without Gagging.” But, I digress. Back to the concierge lounge.
The concierge was not finished interrogating this poor guest. He wanted to know specifically which Starbucks the contraband coffee had come from. At this point, the guy with the now frigid coffee realized he was being set up and turned the tables. “Why does it matter where I bought the coffee? It’s cold and I need to zap it for like 30 seconds to warm it up.”
“Well, before I can let you do that,” says the concierge cop, “I need to know where you purchased the coffee. You see, if you purchased it outside the hotel, it is not legal for you to warm it up in our microwave. If you purchased it in the Starbucks in the lobby of the hotel, you can warm it up in our microwave. If you purchased it at a Starbucks outside the hotel, that would be illegal.”
Oh, how I wished my father (who was a lawyer and would bring the total of good lawyers to 3 were he alive today; and I truly hope that the business attorneys who represent me and my firm do not read my blog – they actually are good attorneys, but at $650/hour I am lumping them together with the 1,143,356 bad guys) were alive today for this. I can only imagine his outrage at the concept that it was illegal to warm up a certain cup of coffee, but perfectly legal to zap another. He would have lost it. Sadly, this guy was more measured and simply replied, “cool – I bought it at the Starbucks in the lobby.” I was hoping for more fireworks.
Is this crazy or am I being too harsh on the lawyers. As a venture capitalist, I admit this opened my mind to all the business possibilities that might flow from this law. For example, we could require all coffee shops to place a unique chemical marker into their coffee. Then, we could require all proprietors of microwaves to draw a sample from the coffee and run a chemical analysis to identify the point of sale, before allowing the use of the microwave. That would be good for the business of all the manufacturers of diagnostic testing equipment. But, why stop there? Let’s require every coffee shop to register with the federal government and every coffee drinker to do the same. The government could keep a database of who is buying coffee from which coffee shops and microwave owners could tap into it to ensure no illegal microwaving was taking place. We could also require all coffee drinkers to submit to a full body scan to ensure they aren’t smuggling contraband coffee into unlawful microwave oven environments (sorry, that didn’t really fit this blog, but making fun of TSA full body scans is so de riguer today, I had to slip it in). I see TARP money going to this and the economy growing and jobs being created!! This could be the cornerstone of President Obama’s next (and last) 2 years in office.
Oh shit, hang on, while I was writing this blog in my hotel room, my coffee got cold. I gotta head back up to the concierge lounge to microwave it. Thank God it’s in a plain white cup.
*** Note to all my attorney friends and family – remember that my blog is for fun and humor (unless I’m writing about politics, then you better take me damn seriously)****