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Yesterday's Shocking News

Well, given some of the reactions to yesterday’s post, I figure I better get this post out early.

Because while yesterday was perhaps more fun than most criminal defense attorneys anywhere — but especially in Fresno — should be allowed to have, some of the reactions worried me a little.

For example, there was my telephone and Internet services provider….

The reactions to the news — delivered the first day of April! — that I was closing my office, ran the gamut. Amazingly, how well the person reacting to the news knew me did not seem to be a determining factor.

For example, one of my closest colleagues, an attorney who comes to my office sometimes every day for weeks on end to discuss cases, strategize, work up motions together, or just have a glass of wine after business hours, who asks me to read all my blog posts out loud to her because the delivery cracks her up, and who I think should probably therefore know me the best, apparently broke down and cried when she heard the “news.” At least, according to her secretary.

(In her defense, she was in the middle of another crisis — a flood in the lower floor of her building threatened her files — and didn’t get to do a close reading of the post.)

At the other end of the scale was Norm Pattis, who said, “I wouldn’t believe this even if it was not April 1st.” Or one of my prosecutor friends: “Nice try. I checked the date.”

Then there were the longer notes. Words of encouragement. Those who understood the burn-out I must be feeling. Let’s be clear: burn-out is a real problem in our profession. As regular readers will recall, I’ve felt it and written about it. The words of encouragement, even though this was an April Fool’s joke, were very much appreciated.

As already mentioned, a couple of reactions scared me. My phone and Internet service provider sent me an email noting my account was paid up to date and offering to terminate my services on the last day of April. That made me think, “Oh, no! What if people with whom I have contracts think they need to find another attorney?”

But the head of another technology company — who has been a friend for years — said,

OK it’s April Fool’s so you’re joking right?

I mean, on the one hand, this is entirely believable – you’ve gotta make a living and I can see how it gets old defending many who really are indefensible.

But then I know the fighter in you, and why I think you became an attorney and I couple that with the date and have to ask….

Thanks, Daniel!

Attorney David Milligan, also a non-believer, had a question:

Yeah right Rick. 🙂

Nice hearing from you. How many people did you get to believe it?

Well, David, the post generated more traffic on my blog for one day than I usually get. The “news” spread by wildfire. And I learned a good lesson from it, too. Aside from the large numbers of people who reacted with some variation on “yeah, right,” there were huge numbers of people who got the “news” either via an email from me (which always contained the link and what I hoped was a strong enough hint for a careful reading)…and sent their congratulations. They bought it, hook, line, and sinking feeling.

The funny thing is that when I was writing the post, I kept thinking, “No, no…. You’re over the top now. Everyone will instantly realize it’s a joke.” The line I thought would really give it away was this one:

How many times do I have to hear the judge accept that he finds the officers credible enough to refuse to suppress the 500 pounds of marijuana and six scales found in the kitchen before I get that I’ve been duped?

I had thought that giving the post the title “A Special Day,” would be the first tip-off, albeit not too obvious. Plus the post was filed under “Humorous” and the date was, after all, April first. Anyone coming to the post from the main page would have had the additional hint of this picture:

In addition to counting on the idea that people who knew me would never fall for it, I figured the other hints sprinkled throughout would do me in. “Without a doubt,” I told myself, “when people see the books for sale at the end of the post, they’ll realize the joke.”

Unfortunately, too many people got the email mentioning I was closing my office and saying details could be found at the link provided, but only read the email. I guess I’m not as interesting a writer as I’d hoped!

Overall, I have to say that if I’d known April Fool’s was so much fun, I’d have started participating in it a long time ago. Fortunately, I had a light court day, which gave plenty of time for reading the dozens of emails that came in throughout the day. My colleague who cried, having recovered, dropped by my office early. More than once, she noted that I was having too much fun.

You’ve certainly found a way to keep yourself entertained for an entire day!

To all those who participated — especially those who either doubted it immediately as inconsistent with who they know me to be, and those who tried to talk me back from the brink of the abyss — thank you.

To the extent I might have been feeling frustrated and a little burned out lately, yesterday certainly resolved any issues with that!

And to Jeff Adachi’s office: I’m sorry if I scared the crap out of you.

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