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The World is a bit with me today

The World Is Too Much With Us
By William Wordsworth

The world is too much with us; late and soon,

Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;—

Little we see in Nature that is ours;

We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!

This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;

The winds that will be howling at all hours,

And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers;

For this, for everything, we are out of tune;

It moves us not. Great God! I’d rather be

A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;

So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,

Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;

Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;

Or hear old Triton blow his wreathèd horn.


As I read these words I reflect on the last 3-4 weeks where I have had court or some other proceeding every day. It feels like every day into the breach. I have won some and I have lost some. When I have these weeks where I am constantly speaking to someone or paying attention or on the phone in my car, it changes my tolerance and patience for minutia. It has led to some frank discussions which needed to be had. We have become a society of telephone tough guys and we shy away from hard conversations in person. We also want instant gratification. I spend a fair amount of time responding to clients and other people in distress situations, many times self inflicted. When I am busy like I have been, I spend less time hand holding (actually none at all) and more time having real conversations. In my professional life, I live in the world of facts not feelings and there is an art to conveying those facts.

One of the recurring facts that I deal with on a regular basis is the controlling sometimes abusive male/damaged (in his opinion) female. I have so many conversations where I am discussing with an intelligent, articulate mature woman her best plans for her and her child going forward and that conversation is colored by the control and anger of the absent male partner. In that scenario you have to deliver the message that their male partner’s anger is of no consequence in our legal situation but it’s always there, like another person in the room. I am currently reading a book about the Dominance theory v. the partnership theory in human sexual relationships and it makes me wonder, have 6000+ years of moralizing done this to our women? I have even seen women pick an attorney that is of the same vein as their partner and they can’t stand up for themselves to their own attorney, who by all accounts is supposed to work for them. I can’t save them all, but I wish I could. I know there are abusive women in the world that keep children away from their fathers but that’s a problem I fix pretty easily. In many respects, women represent to me a lot of what is good about life. You only have to look into an old woman’s eyes and see the young girl laughing to know what I mean.

Raymond

It’s been awhile but there used to be a show called “Everyone Loves Raymond”. The main character, Raymond, played by actor Ray Romano, was a somewhat bumbling likeable guy who was married to a strong confident woman. Raymond was always finding himself in situations where his own bad choices resulted in his wife both rescuing and lecturing him. Raymond was an archetype often found on television where the man of the family was outsmarted by his children, tolerated by his loving, patient yet far intellectually superior wife and generally seen as a likeable idiot. The problem with the show was that it seems like every woman that is married to someone I know watched that show and pigeon holed their husband as that guy.

I’m going to let you in on a little secret about men. We aren’t all idiots even though arguably we have all made some bad choices. The problem with media portrayal of married men as idiots is that it goes counter to trust in a relationship. I’m not talking about trust as far as being faithful. I am talking about trusting your partner to be competent in simple things like changing a light bulb, picking a restaurant or god help us, grilling meat. That lack of trust leads to constant questioning and self doubt. Every relationship has a division of labor. If both partners trust each other to perform whatever things they each do correctly, life goes a lot better than busting each other’s chops. At the end of the day, most men just want a chance to be excellent for their partners. It’s the partner’s job to give them that opportunity. Raymond was a character not a role model