Thursday, March 22, 2007
Posted by Alan Childress
Irreplaceable or rickets. That was the eternal conundrum facing me this morning in one email as I read my inbox's Re lines. I realized there was a deep thought going on here, beyond my capacity. I worry that I may never truly understand the antinomy that is presented. I would have guessed that it could be possible to have Vitamin-D deficiency rickets and still be at least a little irreplaceable. (Or that some people whom I find utterly replaceable likely do not have rickets.) But apparently not, and somehow it is related to investments overseas and a list of stock prices.
It does remind me of a story comparative law giant Thanassi Yiannopoulos at Tulane (right) once told me about taking Torts with William Prosser at Berkeley in the 1950s (by the way, for Thanassi's second of three doctorate degrees in three countries, but he did not tell me that). He told me that the most diligent student sat in the front row and took notes religiously, even nodding a lot in deep agreement like at a revival meeting. I get that: Prosser on Torts must have been quite a show. (For this blog's purpose, I add that Prosser is reported to have said he would never teach legal ethics because he would not waste a semester telling people not to lie, cheat, or steal.) Anyway, this kid was a rising star. At the end of the course, Prosser was approached by the student (without particularly inviting any questions) and said to the Dean, "I just have one question. What is the difference between a tort and a demurrer?"
If you get that joke, you are way too legal. The best party of the story, really, is Thanassi's belly laugh after telling it. He is also irreplaceable, with no sign of rickets. I thought of that story (tort or demurrer?) when confronted with this email's dilemma.
WebMD has an interesting related article I found while linking rickets: Emailed Health Warnings: Hoax or Fact? I am already big into legal hoaxes and emailed urban legends of "law," as you may know from prior posts here and here. This article is the same debunker from the world of real doctors, unlike us. As it turns out, the story reports, there is no asbestos in tampons, and there's no cancer-causing lead in lipstick. Take that back: "And lead levels in lipsticks are low and not regarded as dangerous by the FDA," the story assures us. OK, now I am worried again.