It was a dark and stormy night. Actually it was midday at the latest, but clocks are about as useless as calendars these days.
I was in my office on the second floor of the Ford Pinto building, deciding whether to put on pants now that my case status video conference was over. The suit jacket and tie I keep in my office makes it easy to get ready for a video meeting in a hurry, and when I forget to suit up for a meeting, the suit jacket becomes my life jacket. That and a little Vaseline on my webcam lens. From the distance of the internets, I looked great. In person, I looked like someone who should be viewed over the internets.
My office intercom crackled and I jumped like a seven-year-old getting up on Christmas morning.
“Mr. Farris, you have a client downstairs.”
“I don’t have any appointments on my schedule,” I mumbled back.
“I told her that, and she asked to speak to my supervisor.”
Clients weren’t exactly lining up outside my door these days, in part because of the sign on the door that says “don’t line up here.”
“Put her in the conference room, I will be right down.”
I got up from my desk and the breeze reminded me that pants would be important for a client meeting. I put on my trousers and headed downstairs.
I didn’t know the woman in my conference room, and I wasn’t saddened by the fact. She smelled like Chanel Number 5 and broken dreams. She walked towards me as though she owned the room, and I noticed a resemblance to my landlady. She offered me her business card instead of a handshake. “Stacia Leek, homemaker” was printed in raised wax letters.
“Pleased to meet you, Stacy,” I said.
“Sta SHA,” she said in a voice cold enough to make a polar bear shiver.
“What can I do for you, Ms. Leek?” I asked.
“Missus Leek. Mr. Farris, I am the president of The International Society of Karens, and our members have been under siege lately. Everywhere we go we face discrimination. My hairdresser snickers when I tell her how I want my hair cut. Waiters and waitresses are rude to us. More rude than usual, which we didn’t think was possible.”
“Might I ask how you became president of your group? Your name isn’t even Karen,” I said.
“Exactly! My name is Karyn, with a Y, but I don’t dare tell anyone. Stacia is my middle name. That is my point. Karens need some protection from this discrimination. We are entitled to respect and we want it now!”
I wasn’t sure what I could do for this client, but since Siri giggled when I asked for my bank balance, I tried to think of a plan. Some St. Louis lawyers would wave guns in a situation like this, but that didn’t seem like good advice for this woman.
“I am not sure what I can do. Don’t you need a publicist or PR company?”
“No. The International Society of Karens is not accustomed to tolerating disrespect. We want to file a high profile lawsuit against the next person that treats us badly. You have a reputation for taking tough lawsuits and winning occasionally. That is what we want – a million-dollar judgment that makes an example of the rude service people, to tell the world that Karens will not sit quietly any longer!”
I didn’t think this woman knew the meaning of the word ‘quiet’ but now didn’t seem like a good time to say so. As if on cue, my stomach rumbled, reminding me that it was lunchtime.
“Who would you suggest that we sue?” I asked her.
“If you take our case, we will find someone. I would like to tell our members in our next newsletter to be on the lookout for rudeness against Karens. It should be easy! Our oppressors are so bold that they record their mistreatment of us on their cell phones and post them on the internet!”
“Okay, I am in. I will need a $5,000 retainer to start, and I can have a contract ready for you tomorrow.”
“$5,000? Mr. Farris, perhaps you don’t comprehend our situation. Representing The International Society of Karens will do wonders for your profile in the community. We were hoping that you would take the case for the publicity alone.”
“Unfortunately, the electric company doesn’t accept publicity to keep our lights on. Besides, free legal advice is worth what you pay for it. I’m gonna need a retainer to get started for you.”
“You are as bad as the rest of the world!” she said, as she stood up to leave. “We will find another lawyer, you wait and see, and when we do, you will regret this day! TISK sir. We are TISK and we demand better!”
She was right. I was already regretting the day.
“Are you sure you aren’t just being Karenoid?” I asked.
She shot me a look that I felt in my wallet and stormed out. An old lawyer told me once that the best cases are the ones you don’t take. I looked in the mirror and went upstairs to pour that lawyer a drink.
©2020 under analysis llc. under analysis is a nationally syndicated column. Spencer Farris is the founding partner of The S.E. Farris Law Firm in St Louis, Missouri. He has a face only a mother could love, and he is an orphan. Comments or criticisms about this column may be sent directly to Under Analysis via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.