Alphabetical discrimination

By By Craig Ziemba / guest columnist
March 17, 2002
Since our Mississippi Legislature bravely stood up against the interests of business, industry and medicine by failing to bring legal reforms to a vote, I've begun to reassess my plans for the future.
I had hoped that by working two jobs, driving old cars and paying off my mortgage, I'd gradually get ahead and build a nice life for my family here in Mississippi. But, now I can't help but think there must be a much easier way. Since there's no penalty for frivolous lawsuits and there are no caps on damage awards, why bust my tail working when I could make serious money in court?
My entire life, I have been a victim of alphabetical discrimination. From my first day in kindergarten until I graduated college, I was placed in the last seat of the back row. I received my books last, registered for classes last, drank from the water fountain last, and saw the chalkboard through the back of Troy Ziegler's head.
Instead of concentrating on schoolwork, I was lulled into a cycle of procrastination, inattention and mischief due to my seat in the back. There's no telling what I may have achieved in life had I not faced such an overwhelming obstacle.
You Andersons, Browns, and even Millers have no idea what a tremendous disadvantage was placed on the Williams and Zimmermans of the world. There's no way I can really put a price on the pain and suffering I endured so that you could have your picture first in the yearbook and walk across stage to receive your diploma while the audience was still awake.
But I'll try.
For starters, I might have done well enough in school to receive a full-ride scholarship ($40,000), to become a brain surgeon ($500,000 a year for 30 years or $15 million), and to have understood economics well enough to pull out of the stock market before it crashed ($10 million more).
People in my shoes who sue for millions lack ambition. When I add in all of the intangible losses, slights and punitive damages, the suit ends up in the billions  with a "B."
This will be the biggest thing to hit the legal community since diet pills. Fortunately, the Legislature has enabled me to shop the entire state for a sympathetic judge with a name like Young, Ziller or Zabinski to hear my case. There's no statute of limitations and I can list joint and several liability extending to schoolteachers, legislators, the department of education and anyone else who was an accomplice to my demise.
Clearly, this is not a case for an amateur. Face recognition will do a lot to win my case, so I'll probably hire that "as seen on TV" guy. His smile and my tears will melt the jury's heart. They'll be so flattered to have a celebrity in court, they'll probably ask for his autograph.
What will I do with all of the money? Like most people who win outrageous sums of money, I'll probably take up philanthropy and invest most of it in our education system. Kind of like the casinos do.
Now, it may be true that news of my huge settlement will drive away auto manufacturers, medical professionals, retirement communities and other business, but I'm sure that lawyers will move in to fill up the vacuum. Anyway, who needs jobs when we can make so much money suing each other?

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