Sunday, May 10, 2009

Drama

A few weeks ago, I was told by a friend of mine that she couldn't ever imagine dating me (in a theoretical situation) because I thrived too much on "drama". My office-mate, Luci Davidson likes to refer to me as "C-Squared", which is short for "Captain Chaos" because of the seemingly endless amount of dramatic situations that I seem to always to be griping to her about.

So, I've been thinking about it a bit lately.

According to the internationally respected basis-of-knowledge known as Wikipedia.com, the term "drama" derives from a Greek word meaning "action" or "to do". And I think that we can agree that the term "action" ain't so bad, can't we? It's a helluva lot better than "inaction", isn't it?

Manufacturing drama where drama normally wouldn't be present would probably have the makings of a good Drama Queen.

But I think that there are some situations where a bit of drama makes us feel Life in its full-effect and completely appreciate those things that are worth living and fighting for. It separates those who go through the motions in life for the sake of safety and placidity from those who would rather feel the power of just being alive.

It has its upsides, without a doubt.

Ten days ago, my three year old son looked at me and told me "Daddy, you shouldn't smoke." I took it as a rather dramatic moment, and today I'm starting Day Eleven without a cigarette. A less powerful moment to me may not have had the same effect.

It also has its downsides.

I've been married twice. The first one (although very full of conflict) didn't have much drama in it. There wasn't that passionate type of relationship that led to "stand and deliver" moments that had either one of us believing there was much worth fighting for. The end of that marriage was largely emotionless.

The second one, well, let's just say that I felt every moment in it, from the highest high to the lowest low. It was something that I think gave us both some very deep sadness, but also brought us the Greatest Joys in Life with our Little Man. Through the Good and the Bad, it is a marriage that neither of us will ever regret.

From a professional standpoint, feeling drama and thriving on it makes better lawyers and better trial attorneys.

There's a difference between a prosecutor who can flatly present a murder case and one who can successfully convey to the jury the sense of loss that family and friends felt.

On the flip side, there's a difference between the defense attorney who can just talk in the abstract about the deprivation of his or her client's personal freedom, and the attorney who can make a jury fully appreciate what that truly means. When a jury is deliberating and they completely grasp the magnitude of what they could be taking away from another human being, odds are that they are going to make damn sure that they are holding the State to its burden of Beyond a Reasonable Doubt.

Feeling the passion and the drama of that situation is the only way to truly convey that.

In my opinion, feeling the "drama" of Life is truly living it.

Sure, you take the risks of getting yourself hurt from time to time, but sometimes the chances you take in life are the ones that pay off in the wonderful moments that you never would have missed for all the World. It is better to have done that than to have gone through it all in some sort of half-dazed sleepwalk, if you ask me.

There may be moments of regret, but the moments where you stood and delivered are the moments you remember for the rest of your life. More often than not, they are the moments where you end up proud of yourself for the way you handled them.

Feeling the drama in life is taking a moment to fully appreciate what the people around you mean to you, and not being shy about sharing that with them - even if you seem a little sappy in telling them.

It means taking those moments where you can stand up and fight for something that means something to you, even if you know that you will probably fail. Failure to take that shot will hurt a lot more down the road, than the memories of going out in a Blaze of Glory.

Seek out the humor in life and laugh as hard as you can. Sometimes the time between the laughs can go on seemingly forever, so embrace them when you can.

Drama is not being embarrassed to cry a little bit at those moments that tug at your heartstrings regardless of who is around -- whether they be tears of joy or sadness.

Drama is pretty much just giving Life everything you've got, and making no apologies for it at the end of the day.

Life definitely has its ups and downs, but ultimately it is wasted if not fully lived.

And, yes, I know that this writing was probably a bit dramatic.

But, I make no apologies for that, either.

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

Good for you Murray. My children told me the exact same thing 20 years ago before we knew the harm of 2nd hand smoke. And yep, I also quit smoking when my child noticed I was doing something that I really shouldn't be doing.
Gotta love them!

The Fishing Musician said...

God bless you and your little man, my friend I've never met.

Tex

Arthur Seaton said...

I hate quitters.

Anonymous said...

Amen Murray!

KRS

Thomas G Paine said...

Today, my youngest told me I'm getting fat. She's probably right. I guess I'll change my diet.

I'm not being smug. Food's a big damn deal to me...

Anonymous said...

Overdramatic.

emily said...

Nicely done.

Seer said...

And put the money you would have spent on smokes in an account for the little man, too.

Anonymous said...

Well done, and a Happy Mother & Father's Day to both you and your ex spouse. Co-Parenting can be tough, but it sounds like you guys have a good balance, well, anyway......ok, I think our time is up....see you......?

Anonymous said...

I was an ADA in the trial bureau for years before leaving to do something else less dramatic. After awhile the drama wore me out. But I noticed that the people who live for trial (Murray, you are one of them) are adrenaline junkies. They love to live in that fight or flight mode. I think creating drama, relishing it, etc. goes hand in hand with being an adrenaline junkie. Me, I could take it or leave it -- trials and drama. But for true trial attorneys, drama is their middle name. Have you ever noticed that most really good trial attorneys have been married several times? Makes me think being a good fighter in the courtroom has its downside outside of the courtroom. Just a thought.

Thomas Hobbes said...

I've noticed that the people in my life who look at me with confusion and superiority when I'm upset about something are generally the same folks who get pissy with me when the roles are reversed and I'm not readily adopting their level of upset.

Leviathan
------------
"There was never yet an uninteresting life. Such a thing is an impossibility. Inside of the dullest exterior there is a drama, a comedy, and a tragedy."

Mark Twain

Anonymous said...

Re: Colleen Barnett:

I'll be very blunt: I think Colleen Barnett is an awesome person and very competent prosecutor. If I were the victim of a crime I would have no problem with her prosecuting the case.

She made a mistake according to what I read today regarding a non-redacted video tape being shown to a non-death capital jury. Never heard of Colleen EVER making this kind of mistake but she is human.
This was not an intentional act like slapping a defendant on the back. Question: Would all of you feel the same as I do if the person making the mistake had been one of Lykos' picks? Sure is deafeningly silent here...hummm.

A Harris County Lawyer said...

Anon 10:09 pm,
I wasn't aware of what had happened with Colleen's case until you wrote in and then saw it on the news.
From my (albeit limited) understanding, a non-redacted video tape was inadvertently admitted into evidence rather than the redacted copy. As someone who has tried many many cases where tapes had to be redacted in some form or fashion, I can see this happening very very easily.
Sometimes tapes have to get redacted multiple times over to get to a point where both the prosecutor and the defense attorney agree to its admissibility. This can often times leave the prosecutor holding multiple videotapes (or DVDs). In addition, on lengthy statements, the tech person (or even the attorney) may inadvertently fail to get something dubbed out.
The difference between Colleen and the people that Lykos has brought in is that Colleen has more than earned her stripes in trial. Quite frankly, I would be hard pressed to think of another Chief prosecutor who goes to trial as often as Colleen does. She works her butt off in trial and she knows the rules of evidence. If she made a mistake, I can guarantee it was an inadvertent slip up that had nothing to do with either 1) lack of trial skills; 2) lack of knowledge of the law; or 3) intentional misconduct.
The lady was always in trial and at some point the law of averages is going to dictate a screw up of some sort happening.
By contrast, I've yet to hear of any of the Lykos new people getting into trial at all. Granted, most of them are in their upper administration positions and probably will NEVER go to trial, and that's understandable. However, it would be pretty weak if they go criticizing Colleen or any other prosecutor that has more than earned their reputations as trial lawyers.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:09,
And you would be correct.
Notwithstanding, Colleen does not deserve a free pass for her recent courtroom negligence based solely on her prior good courtroom performances. Mitigation, yes; absolution, no.
She made an egregious mistake and needs to hone up to it and make adjustments to avoid similar mishaps.
But Lykos is a politician and not a trial lawyer; her politicizing the problem will have no meaningful impact on appropriate resolution. A temporary suspension and a stint at Intake is not the answer....but Lykos doesn't even understand the question.

Anonymous said...

As I heard it and I wasn't there but Colleen did not make a mistake. She put it in the tape that was supposed to have been redacted. The Judge rushed her before she could review the entire tape and the investigator hadn't redacted it correctly. Colleen was told it was done and trusted that information.

Anonymous said...

It was the judges fault for rushing her; it was the investigators fault for not redacting the tape correctly. I was worried there for a minute, I thought there wouldn't be enough blame to go around.

Anonymous said...

Anon 5:09 has got the Obama blame defense for personal incompetence down.

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:47,
Colleen was rewarded for her negligent oversight rather than reprimanded by "The Gang that Couldn't Shoot Straight". Go figure.
Now who's Homicide gonna call at Special Crimes to take charges for a "complicated murder"?

Anonymous said...

ANONS 5:09 and 8:03,
Harry Truman stood for: "The Buck Stops Here and I take Responsibility".
Barrack Obama stands for: "I'm a Victim and It's Always Somebody Else's fault".
The DAs office is not the place for excuse makers.