Sunday, February 27, 2011

gang initiations and other opportunities last week

I began the event on the 22nd

As with most groups there is an initiation of some sort. Human are notoriously cruel to outsiders and frequently insist on a demonstration of loyalty to join the group. This particular group has a mean reputation. Some of the most cut-throat, corrupt and competitive people in the world are part of this association. However it was a shocking realization to me that I had volunteered to be the newbie in a gang jump in.

A three day long initiation.

Most gang initiations are short, violent, and bloody affairs. The last one I had attended did result in a bloodied nose for me, but mostly these events produce bruises, which are mental, emotional, even somewhat spiritual, but it is brutal.  And LONG.

A friend who has been through this is probably correct in her assessment.  It is a hazing ritual. It is berating, there is an insinuation that one is not good enough to join the ranks. The gatekeepers demand that you regularly identify yourself clearly. There are bizarre regulations, anal-retentive attention to your every move and even the monitoring of bodily functions.  The leader of the hazing repeatedly admonishes the newbie group regarding prohibited items, such as speaking to others and the dreaded rule 12 violation.

The newbies tremble in their seats, years have been spent in preparation for this trek. When the announcer proclaims the clock has started adrenaline courses through my body. I was an athlete and while beneficial when competing at a very high level on a track, here it is detrimental. I get up and go outside the room with my permission slip for water, but avoid the bathroom as that would raise the attention of the monitors, especially this early in the game. 

Rarely in my life have I shied away from attention or notoriety, but in this group it is best to keep one’s head down, especially at the beginning. This is a game that sheep win and I, as anyone who knows me will tell you, am much more akin to a predator than any pack animal.  However, blending into the group is in my best interest at this point.

Day two:  Pencils at the ready, my hand is slightly recovered from the previous day’s damage. Admonishments against cheating, reminders that the omnipresent watchers shall punish all deviations from “the rules” and a general cowering from the noiseless masses. Start!

I get up after an hour. I feel good about the how things are going, so I take a bathroom break. On my way back a kindly looking gatekeeper asks for my admittance slip. I show it and skip past. Yes skip. She laughs and immediately asks why I am so happy. I respond honestly, (knowing that it will break my cover). “You can’t take this too seriously! This is the definition of a high class problem.”

She laughingly agreed.  However in an hour when I returned for water, she requested that I “dance” again. I thought about refusing but realized this was something I had set myself up for so I skipped past again. Then something very interesting happened.

I became the title to a Stieg Larsson book “The girl who skipped at the Bar Exam”

All the proctors suddenly knew me, smiled at me and talked to me. I was a fan favorite, the one they were routing for, a hero in the group of faceless plebes with no personality.

I was the wolf again in a group of sheep. Now, will that help me pass the bar exam?  Most likely not, but I was true to myself and entertained a group of people in a boring job, which made them much more enjoyable to be around.

And while being a wolf won’t help me at the exam part, it will help me when I begin fighting the social injustices as an attorney.