A year ago, last October, I told you about the annual Arent Fox retreat (the Prom). I mentioned we do it every year, so, hey, it’s October. Even though I am retired from the firm, Carole and I are invited to the Prom.
It was in Baltimore down by the harbor and it was great. Most of the people present see each other everyday. But, they hadn’t seen me in many moons. People were really happy to see me. Isn’t it crazy? When they saw me everyday, they didn’t give a rat. Now, that I’m retired, it’s “Hey Jack, it’s great to see you.” I got hugs from people who didn’t know my name!
About ten years ago, I thought it would be neat to tie my own bow tie. I now own two tie-your-own bow ties and I hate them both. I only go to two or three formal events a year, so I haven’t had a lot of practice. I have to get out the instructions each time. I can’t tie the tie with my glasses on and I can’t read the instructions without my glasses. It takes me 30 to 40 minutes to tie a reasonably balanced, not too sloppy bow.
The last thing I said in last years blog was that this year I would be the proud owner of a clip-on. Well, here it was the day before the Prom and I still hadn’t purchased my clip-on. I played golf on that morning, so on the way home, I swung by the Springfield Mall. I don’t like to go to the mall. People get mugged in the parking lot and about a month ago, a woman got carjacked. The bad guys took her along and there was a car crash. She and one of the bad guys were killed. So I spent 20 minutes driving around the damn place trying to find a spot that looked safe. Parking in the garage was not an option. I finally gave up and parked.
This is a big, big mall. I think at one time, it was the biggest. Now, quite a few shops are closed. People don’t think mall shopping should involve serious risk. This mall should have to put some type of a warning symbol in their parking lot. “Caution! Parking here may be hazardous to your health.” I thought I had parked close to Macy’s, but I hadn’t. It probably took me ten minutes to find Macy’s. As I entered the store, an overly effeminate guy came rushing up to me and tried to spray me with the latest fragrance. I still have my quick speed, so I got away. If it had come down to it, I think I could have taken him.
The men’s department was in the far end of the store. When I got there, I found three salespersons chatting. Business, business, what business? I asked them where their bow ties were and I was advised they didn’t carry bow ties. I inquired where I might purchase one and they, in unison, shrugged. I could tell they were well practiced at that. As I was walking out, avoiding the fragrance section, I remembered there was a tux rental place somewhere in the mall. I found it and accomplished my quest.
Attending the Prom gave me a chance to catch up with what had been going on with the Fox. When I retired, I shut down. I do go on line once a week and delete all my messages. It’s important to be tidy. One message I had read was from our chairman, Marc Fleischaker, announcing that he planned to step down at the end of the year. Well, at the Prom, he announced that he would be staying on as Chairman of the Executive Committee (if elected by the firm – duh!) for an additional year. That is great news for the Fox.
Marc also mentioned that by opening the branch in Los Angeles, we now represent more dead celebrities that any other firm. Hey, I’m serious. I don’t think I can explain this, but if you want to use the Marx Brothers or Mae West in some commercial or TV show, you better come see us. I found out we have just about tripled the number of attorneys in the LA office and we are in the process of building out again. Even in these tough economic times. Love the Fox.
I tried to avoid politics during the Prom. Most of the firm is Democrat and I am not. I’ll say this for the Democrats, even with their massive majority, they still treat we few Republicans well. If the situation were reversed, I’m not sure we would even keep them. They are excited about Obama being elected. Then, they pause and say, “I sure hope he doesn’t turn out to be another Jimmy Carter.”