I have recently discovered that asking too many questions can turn a stuper (short for a disarmingly stupid person) away. And not a moment too soon.
I’m sure most of my readers are well aware of the reputation that many members of the legal profession shoulder: money grabbing, heartless, wily misanthropes who care nothing for the client. This may or may not be true, depending on the individual attorney, but I must remind you that for every idiot attorney, there is an idiot client.
I work for a charitable organization which attracts all sorts of people, including those that refuse to think. Nancy called me needing help with her landlord. A simple enough problem, no? Not when Nancy is a Class AAA+ stuper.
I try to get the facts out of my callers; directing them to dispense with the extraneous, ridiculous, cringeworthy details mostly of a derogatory nature. Nancy began her tale,
“I live in an eight unit apartment complex with a bunch of crackheads. And it isn’t even good crack.”
Which, of course, begs the question, how does Nancy know the crack’s no good? She continued,
“I told the landlord I can’t take it anymore. The fumes sent me to the emergency room. And now I have asthma. And there’s banging on the walls. And the building is filled with gays. I’m the only female and I am constantly discriminated against. The Mexican gardeners make too much noise with their ()*#$*%& blowers. Why are all *&$&^*% Mexicans gardeners? The manager is a black homo and he’s the worst. Then there are the Asians and the Jews… I have it all on videotape.”
You get the gist of it. After about five minutes, there was no race, ethnicity, religion or gender that she failed to insult. Okay, she kept the Tibetans out of the equation. Meanwhile, I pondered hanging up on her, passing her on to some more deserving soul or breaking into song with the aim of encouraging her to grossly underestimate my abilities.
Instead, I asked her a few questions. How long she’d lived there, when did her troubles start, what does 1+1 equal, and finally,
“Do you have medical records of your visit to the Emergency Room?”
This was Nancy’s response,
“Lady, you ask too many questions! I’m going to Los Angeles to get me a real lawyer!”
Immensely relieved, I thanked her profusely, but she’d already hung up.
Now when a potentially whacked up client calls me (they are extremely easy to spot because they have zero self-control once they begin blabbering), I interrogate them to distraction. This way stupers are instantly revealed and shoved aside so I can focus on the clients that sincerely need help.