Saturday, December 9, 2006
Posted by Alan Childress
Speaking of job satisfaction in the legal profession and during the holiday season: Ray Ward of Minor Wisdom writes about depression among lawyers, Carolyn Elefant touts WordPerfect over Word for lawyers in part because the latter has a new security flaw reported here, and Electronic Ephemera collects sites and technologies for everything you need that you did not know you did. Their connection? Consider the Suicide Letter Wizard for Microsoft Word website, which:
- Helps you to create a suicide letter according to your preferences. Use professional design.
- Choose from a variety of styles. Make your letter look great.
Does it use that awful little paper-clip man as a "helper"? That'd make me want to be thorough for sure.
But better yet, don't consider it. Or at least first read its unintentionally heartless and ironic legal Disclaimer, perhaps written by a lawyer who did not see the big picture: "All software on this site comes with no warranty. ALL EXPRESS OR IMPLIED REPRESENTATIONS AND WARRANTIES ARE HEREBY EXCLUDED. Install and use at your own risk. Please refer to additional information in downloaded software packages documentation." I'm not sure that the biggest risk here is that the software will hang up your PC. Maybe if they sell it for Macs, too, it can be freely used without fear of crashing--or at least that's what one of those insipid Apple ads will say coming out of Justin Long's "cool" mouth (I always identify with the PC guy with the bad clothes and the nose-blowing).
The site reminds me of the reports that libraries kept losing copies of Final Exit, checked out but not returned. Anyway, Ephemera links to the wizard website here, as well as all sorts of useful sites, like the 248 ways to annoy people (#248 is "Get two cell phones and talk to yourself on them in front of other people."); Presidential oddities (Jefferson was "a lousy dresser" [like PC guy], J. Quincy skinny-dipped); the StrangeMaps blog (collecting historical [land of Holstein] and fictional ones [Tatooine, including Jabba the Hut's Palace] out there); James Bond Title Sequences; a Tax Refund Finder (nothing on it for me, so worthless); and the Santarchy site re global domination ("You'd better watch out.").
Plus the Torts teacher in me is transfixed by the macabre but eye-opening lifetime Odds of Dying Table from the National Safety Council: Fireworks discharge: 1 in 340,733. "Inhalation of gastric contents": 1 in 9,537. Air transport: 1 in 5,051. Bit or struck by dog: 1 in 117,127. Suicide by firearm: 1 in 222. [Not a typo; demand for Word Wizard bigger than one thinks.] And of course answering the universal question: lightning, 1 in 79,746 (the very same as odds that a single woman aged 41...nah, urban myth). By a short-circuiting BlackBerry? Priceless.
At one end are people so OCD that they worry how others might judge them on the format and presentation of their suicide notes. (Not me, I wouldn't even run spellcheckr.) At the other end, consider Prankmail. It's a website that's "making email fun again" by making your emails look like they are coming from someone else. [Insert a worst-case-scenario name--possibly a law dean's, or the doctor with your boyfriend's test results--here.] Oh, man. Let your brain run with the infinite possibilities. Just imagining is cathartic enough to prevent any desire to use the Wizard. (But imagining is all you'll dare to do; elsewhere on the site we find that your IP address is logged in. Still, try their suggested "Notes from your future self" idea on someone who believes in sci fi.)
Prankmail is a high tech tool for becoming just like George Clooney in more ways than--well, in the one way that you enjoy evil pranks. Just the tool for law firm jesters to have handy right now, during this festive time when firms are announcing bonuses. "It gives us great pleasure to announce that [insert seniorist partner's name] has decided that your 2350 in billable hours has earned you a gift certificate to Borders worth $50, plus a copy of Black's Law Dictionary for you to keep as long as you are still with the firm." One can only hope it will be read from the recipient's annoying BlackBerry just as he or she is self-importantly cutting in the front of your line at Starbucks. Make that 249 and 250 ways. Punk'd!