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Ask A Guy Who Knows A Little Bit About Dealing With These Lawyer Types

Dear Guy Who Knows A Little Bit About Dealing With These Lawyer Types,

Christmas is coming up, and once again, I'm at a total loss for what to get my dad. He's just so picky about the things he likes, yet he refuses to make a wish list like everyone else in the family. I don't want to get him the usual books and CDs, but every time I ask him what he wants, he claims he already has enough stuff. Any suggestions?

—Stumped in Burlington

Dear Stumped,

Look, I've dealt with some of these lawyer types in the past, so I know how this is going to shake out. You just got to know how to handle them. That's all. Here's what they're going to try to do: They're going to try and snow you with a bunch of fancy legal hogwash, just to throw you off your game a little. Everything's going to be "plaintiff" this and "settlement" that, and around and around they'll go. But don't let that rattle you. You've got to sit up straight and keep your eyes open around these characters. They're just trying to take you for a little ride on the old "money-go-round." And trust me, admission isn't free.

Dear Guy Who Knows A Little Bit About Dealing With These Lawyer Types,

I just got offered a new job on the 22nd floor of a large office building. The only problem is, I'm deathly afraid of heights! I know it's dumb not to take a job simply because it's in a tall building, but at the same time I don't really want to work in a place that's going to make me a nervous wreck all day. Should I turn the job down?

—Scaredy Cat In Pittsburgh

Dear Scaredy Cat,

You've just got to force these Ivy League types to meet you halfway, understand? Otherwise you're giving them an open invitation to walk all over you. Trust me, I went through hell and back with Tammy's lawyers, so I've got a pretty good idea how this works. For instance, say you're sitting in one of these lawyers' offices, right? And they offer you a glass of water or a cup of coffee. What do you do? Do you accept it? No, you don't accept it. See, if you accept it, you're putting them in the position of power. You don't want them to gain the upper hand, is the thing. Now. Say one of these lawyers offers to pick up the check at a nice restaurant. Do you let them? No, you don't let them. Wait—I mean, yes! Yes, you do let them! Why should you have to pick up the check when you're the one paying $200 an hour? See what I'm saying? They're slippery, and you're going to have to think like a shark if you want to outfox them. And for the love of Christ, don't sign anything! Don't even hold a pen in your hand. That's Rule Numero Uno with these people. Once they got your John Hancock down on paper, they got you by the balls. And boy do these jokesters know how to slam you on the fine print. You sign one or two little divorce papers and next thing you know you're giving half your salary to a woman who hasn't worked a day in her life since college. Give me a goddamned break.

Dear Guy Who Knows A Little Bit About Dealing With These Lawyer Types,

What's an appropriate amount of money to spend on Christmas gifts for my coworkers? This year's Secret Santa is set at $50, but I think that's too high. Should I say something to my boss, or am I being an Ebenezer Scrooge?

—Penny Pincher in Petoskey

Dear Penny Pincher,

Don't let 'em sweat you. Do not let these guys catch you asleep on the wing, or you can kiss your sweet keister goodbye. The only thing these bloodsuckers understand is eye contact and a good strong handshake. You let them know right off the bat that you're not some rube who's going to faint at the sight of their framed degrees and big lawyer chairs. Do everything I say and you might just make it out with your wallet intact.

Dear Guy Who Knows A Little Bit About Dealing With These Lawyer Types,

It seems no matter how hard I try, I just can't get my kids to eat healthy. They refuse the nutritious food I cook at home, and when they go over to their friends' houses they get to eat all the junk food they want. How can I make them appreciate the value of healthy eating?

—Healthy Mom in Hartford

Dear Healthy Mom,

See, that's the difference between these lawyer types and me. If I have a problem with somebody I just tell them to their face, because that's what real men do. But these scum? They act as if everything's kosher and then a month later—like damn clockwork—you get a letter in the mail claiming you owe them another $6,500 in retroactive charges for "services rendered." Before you know it, you've got legal fees coming out of your ass, you're a month late on your alimony payments, and it's 3 a.m. and your ex-wife's lawyers have sent some guy over to spy on you and you know it's him because there's a green Tercel parked out front with its lights off and who the hell else could that be? And then, when you try to have a discussion with your ex-wife about it, all of a sudden you're "in violation" of some ridiculous court order that her lawyers probably tricked her into signing in the first place. See, that's when these guys start twisting words around: Steal your ex-wife's dog, borrow your ex-wife's dog—it's all the same to them! And then you have to go through four different lawyers, 11 or 12 prolonged hearings, and $15,000 in more fees just to establish in court that it was her who was hitting you. Come on! Where's the justice in that? Look, a man can only be pushed so far before he snaps. That's just a fact. So Mr. Hot Shot McLawyer over there can smirk all he wants for the judge, but we'll just see how big and tough he is when I drag his shyster ass out behind the courthouse and show him what's what. Take it from me. I've dealt with this kind of thing before.

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