The Three Pillars

The Three Pillars

Salt Sugar Fat
How the Food Giants Hooked Us
By Michael Moss
Toronto, Ont Canada
Mclelland and Stewart 2013
450pp $32.99
ISBN 978-0-77-57003

It’s bad enough what the oil and pharmaceutical companies have done to us. Not to mention the banks. But to find, reading this book, that Philip Morris and RJ Reynolds, the cigarette manufacturers, are now running a large part of the food business, it’s almost too much to believe. I guess it shouldn’t be.
The same people who defended tobacco till the end are still selling their products in the same calculated, deceptive ways to maximize profits and the same Wall Street managers are telling them to do it. Their products are processed foods and they use every bit of sugar, salt and fat they need to find the public’s “bliss point”, hold it and keep it. The bliss point is combined with the convenience of instant food and snacks and is just too tempting to hurried parents.
In a shocking exposure of the American and the worldwide food system, Michael Moss, a winner of the Pulitzer prize and a tenacious and serious writer, and even more important, a concerned father, exposes overwhelming evidence that most of the medical emergencies which America and the world have experienced in the past thirty years, (eg) the high blood pressure alarm, the obesity epidemic and the diabetes scare, are attributable to the nutrition of the population and its dependence upon processed food. There is a long list of types of cancer associated with processed food.
‘As food manufacturers knew very well and as I would find out by moving the reporting of this book from Madison to Washington, when it comes to nutrition, the role the government plays is less a matter of regulation than it is promotion of some of the industry practices deemed most threatening to the health of consumers.’
Michael Moss pp. 211 Salt, Sugar, Fat
The government regulators who we think are taking care of us, aren’t. The processed food lobbyists financially outgun any of the pathetically funded regulatory agencies. Every time there is an attempt to legally cut back on the salt, sugar and fat in our diets, there is a serious pushback by the industries affected. The mayor of New York city was recently laughed at as a nanny for trying to regulate the sugar industry. Anyone who wants to limit or cut back seriously on the salt, sugar and fat in our diets is accused of being against capitalism.
But this isn’t some wild eyed lefty conspiracy theorist spouting propaganda. It’s a well respected investigative reporter who can back up his claims with evidence. From many hours of interviews, court documents and documents obtained both with and without access to information requests, Michael Moss has carefully gone through the histories of the industries of salt, sugar and fat and told their stories. Many of the people in the industries were open about their participation. Several ex CEOs and presidents have recanted and very few use their own products.
We’re talking about brands and products which are familiar to all of us, the most well known in the world. They do billions of dollars worth of business yearly.
Brands and products like Kraft, General Foods, Nabisco, Tang, Kool-Aid, Coke, Pepsi, Twinkie, Jell-o, Dr Pepper, Campbell Soup, Snapple, 7-Up, Doritos, Maxwell House, Folger’s, Hamburger Helper, Pringles, Prego, Ragu, Pepperidge Farm, Oreo, Cadbury, Kellogg, Postum, Cocoa Puffs, Frosted Flakes, Unilever, Nestle. There are many more. You get the idea. You’d have to be living under a rock for the past 30 years not to have used their products.
Salt, Sugar, Fat cites the evidence and testimony of expert after expert who blame the health crisis and associated costs (billions of dollars) on the processed food industry. Lack of education and exercise are associated with poor nutrition but it is generally agreed that processed food is the big culprit. Big tobacco was eventually defeated in court when states got together and insisted that “You caused the medical crisis, you pay for it”.
The book is divided into 14 chapters. 1 to 6 make up Part One: Sugar, 7 to 11, Part 2, Fat, and Chapters 12 to 14 make up Part 3, Salt. There is an epilogue, a section for acknowledgements, a note on sources, other notes chapter by chapter, a selected bibliography and an index.
One of the best anecdotes was about the gentleman who invented Cheez Whiz and bought some as he and his wife enjoyed their retirement in Florida. He didn’t like the taste of it, in fact, called it “axle grease”. After a long and serious investigation the company had to admit that he was right, there was actually no cheese or cheese products in the Cheez Whiz.
It almost seemed normal, after reading how the companies targeted diabetics and bombarded young children with irresistible advertising, to read how Nestle, a giant headquartered in Switzerland and visited by Moss, fattens up the population so that hundreds of thousands need stomach surgery each year and only Nestle can provide the special drink they need while recovering.
When the big processed food manufacturers need to, they fall back on the media strategies they know best, the ones which were so successful selling cigarettes for so long.
The famous “mechanical tenderizers” which are suspected in the recent Alberta outbreak of salmonella poisoning are mentioned in the part of the book dealing with Oscar Mayer processed meats. The cereal business, baked goods, the cattle and dairy industries, they’re all present. All are complicit, if not guilty outright, in one of the biggest scandals the world has ever seen.
Thank you, Michael Moss
If you don’t like getting conned, deceived, fooled or manipulated, read this book.
Hackwriters.com – Reviews section

Leave a Comment

The Bingo

We didn’t see it as a line drawn in the sand at first.
Roy hired Eldon, Ruth’s nephew, just before the bingo started. Aunt Ruth saved him from returning to a life of petty crime and jail with a kitchen helper job.
If Roy hadn’t fought with Ruth, his wife, who worked at his diner that night, things might have stayed quiet for a while longer. It was bound to explode, but maybe it could have been a little less volatile. And deadly.
No one could ever figure out why Roy and Ruth were together. It wasn’t physical attraction. They fought constantly and enjoyed showing the other up in front of everyone. None of us at the counter could imagine them making love without grimacing.
Roy had let himself go, sampled too many fries, drank too much beer. The diner had taken over his life. He even smelled greasy outside of the diner.
Ruth was putting on the beef as well. She had a shrill voice that grated on everyone’s nerves.
We only heard it peak when they were busy.
Eldon hung around the back, chain smoking when he wasn’t scurrying around the kitchen following orders. He had a shaved head and some jailhouse tattoos on skinny, big veined arms. Geordie and I sat at the counter one morning and witnessed the birth of the bingo. We were waiting for Ruth to check the last of her lottery tickets. When she had counted up her losses, to hear her tell it, she served us our second coffees.
There was a gathering of women at the table in the corner. It was unusual to see the female diner regulars sitting anywhere but at the counter next to us. They talked to each other and ignored us. It was the first meeting of their bingo committee. The women must have talked about it before, somewhere else.
Roy brought the morning paper to the counter open at the picture of that day’s beauty. She was beautiful all right. Not wearing much either. Neither Geordie nor I had attempted relations with a woman for so long, it was as if we’d forgotten about sex.
Roy had a way of leering at the pictures, every morning, which was probably similar to ours in our younger days. These days, when he did his little act, it was hard for us to watch.
We didn’t think he was so attracted to the pictures, he was just doing it to get under Ruth’s skin. Geordie rolled his eyes at me and smiled at Roy. The licking of his chops and the quick glance down at his greasy apron were too much for customers who didn’t know Roy.
One man, standing at the cash to pay, watched Roy ogle the picture and dirty dance to the kitchen, his big, old belly undulating beneath his apron. The man observed him as if he was watching a lunatic. He was wondering if Roy had cooked his ham and eggs.
Gladys, Caroline and Linda were the three regulars sitting at the table. They had a pile of papers and looked like they knew what they were doing.
Linda had already done most of the paperwork about licences and permits.
Gladys was an old farm wife with a brood of kids, grown up and settled elsewhere. We heard one got into trouble and ended up in jail, but we kept our noses out of other peoples’ business. Gladys’ husband, Hubert, died a few years ago. She figured she did her part, putting up with him and his farmer ways and the kids were on their own. She was enjoying her freedom, doing her thing.
Caroline’s driven the school bus ever since her husband died. She sounded like a rough, old trucker and drank everyone under the table on special occasions at the Legion. We suspected that there was a female part to her, aside from the obvious ones. She hadn’t lost a kid from the bus yet though.
Geordie’s son, Cliff, a cop, told us that she was really a sweet old thing. He said the kids trusted her more than their parents and teachers.
Linda had retired and moved here from out west. Nobody knew much about her. We couldn’t figure out her age.
Roy took a long look at her rear end and legs when she wore shorts in the summer, licked his lips, rolled his eyes and attempted some pelvic thrusts beneath his big, round apron.
We saw Ruth catch Roy in his act. She got that angry glare on her face and wouldn’t speak to him for the rest of the morning.
It wasn’t as if Ruth was jealous, every sign pointed to her not caring what Roy did. She laughed at him when he made a mistake with the orders and enjoyed telling everyone at the counter, especially Linda, about her husband’s latest screw up. It was more like she didn’t want competition from Linda. If she only knew: there was no competition, Linda was much better looking and younger.
Some mornings, Linda watched, with a steady stare, Roy do his act with the morning paper. While Geordie and I were cringing with embarrassment, Gladys and Caroline chatted. They had seen Roy do his thing so often, they didn’t even notice.
Roy took Linda’s stare as a sign of interest.
Ruth saw how foolish Roy looked.
Linda, Gladys and Caroline were like peas in a pod when you gave them a coffee and a place to sit. The bingo really fired them up. They were gung ho to get started.
Ruth got involved in the bingo, too. Anything Linda did, she criticized or tried to do one better. Even though the others had done all the work, she insisted on being consulted about everything. Ruth had been at the diner for years and here was this newcomer organizing a bingo. Everyone knew bingos didn’t work around here, there was no support. Ruth figured that everyone around her was poor. But she had no trouble sleeping at night when she took their tips. She thought that the world was doomed.
We couldn’t argue with her there, but she didn’t have to be so gloomy about everything, every time she opened her mouth. We had to survive, somehow. Laughter seemed better than complaints nobody listened to.
The regulars at the diner found Linda to be someone new and interesting. She had strong opinions but she was happy just to fit in with the others.
Ruth knew that she, herself, wasn’t interesting enough to hold the attention of the regulars without the coffee pot in her hand. She repeated each new piece of gossip so that it was old by the end of the day.
It drove Roy and the regulars crazy.
Geordie and I sensed Ruth’s smouldering jealousy over Linda’s popularity, but it was none of our business.
We played cards, euchre, on Tuesday nights, at the Legion. There were four tables of four, sometimes five. It was an excuse to drink while we played.
They showed up on a Tuesday night when we were just getting started.
Linda led them straight into the Legion with the bingo machine, sheets of cards, change box and everything.
Geordie and I were about to protest, when Jack appeared. Jack Lawson was the president of the Legion. He approved of the bingo, a potential money maker and told us so. We had to move our card game to the other room.
We were upset by this interruption of our routine and did our share of grousing when we went to pick up our next rounds at the bar. The euchre games lost a little charm when speakers droned,
“Under the B, fifteen” or “under the N, thirty five”, in the background.
At first, there were a lot of sudden attacks of deafness at our tables. The players raised their voices to speak over the bingo noise. Gradually, it calmed down. There was less interference once we got used to it.
Jack came to sit down at our table later. He told us that he had refused to cover the bingo losses if they didn’t have a good turnout. He’d back them, once they showed a profit. It was business, pure and simple.
We realized, after talking with Jack, that having a money maker around was a good thing.
Ruth was there from the start. From the sound of it, the next morning at the diner, she did everything she could to disrupt the proceedings. Relations were frosty between Ruth and Linda. The bingo had been a modest success in spite of Ruth’s interference. She was mad, Linda quietly triumphant.
Roy loved it.
Geordie and I ate our usual breakfasts listening to the women at the counter. They were attacking Ruth that day. She had crossed the line at the bingo. We had an extra cup of coffee and read the paper twice so we could listen to them tear down Ruth. I don’t think that there’s much doubt anymore, about the notion that women are more vicious than men. After we heard what they had to say about Ruth, there was no doubt for us.
They’d smile and change the subject when Ruth approached with the coffee pot. They made small talk with her while she topped up their cups. When she was out of earshot, they resumed the attack. Sounded to us like Ruth had ruffled a few feathers by being a little too bossy at the bingo.
It was the second Tuesday night bingo at the Legion. There were five tables for our euchre game. The bingo organizers, led by Linda, all carrying sheets of cards, got there early. Ruth was still working with Roy back at the diner.
The games went well for us. Geordie and I were cleaning up.
There was a good crowd for the bingo in the other room. The buzz of their chatter subsided as Linda, the caller, started each new game. When there was a winner, Gladys called back the numbers to Linda and Caroline paid.
We heard the first disturbance after a lot of cheering from the bingo side, figured somebody had won the jackpot. Geordie was returning to our table with the quarts when a loud bang froze everyone. It was the sound of a gun.
The Legion is full of old soldiers and hunters. The old soldiers hit the deck, the hunters jumped to see what was going on.
“Hey, stop right there”
We heard the female voice clearly.
I peeked around Geordie, who was also hiding under the table soaked in beer and saw Linda fire the gun.
We heard the body drop and screams. I saw Linda stand up, put the revolver down on the table and walk toward the body.
Silence at the euchre tables broke into excited whispers.
“Holdup. Robbery”
The words bounced around the room.
“Mask”
Ruth arrived at this point, glanced at us rising from the wet floor and kept going into the bingo room, a worried expression on her face.
There were more than a few legionnaires regurgitating their beer when they saw the mess that Linda had made. She must have hit a blood vessel when she shot him. There was blood on the hysterical women sitting at the table beside the body, a mess on the floor. The guy was still masked.
Jack Lawson pulled the sticky balaclava up far enough on the guy’s head to reveal Eldon’s face. There was no breath left in him. They tried to revive him while we waited for the ambulance but there was no hope.
Eldon had tried to rob the bingo at gun point. He fired his weapon once into the air. He was leaving with the cash when Linda stood up and told him to stop. She pointed her gun at him, he pointed his at her, and that was it, she fired. It didn’t make Linda feel any better when it was discovered that he was using a harmless starter pistol. It looked real enough, one cop who knew Geordie confided.
Ruth blanched when she saw Eldon’s face. She stared at Linda, looked at the body on the floor and sat down.
The next morning, the diner was buzzing about the happenings at the Legion.
Linda arrived late. She had been talking to police, reporters and her lawyer. There would be an autopsy and a trial. With so many witnesses to the attempted robbery, she would be cleared of the charges.
Linda entered the diner like a conquering hero. We applauded her.
Eldon didn’t have any family, except for Ruth, in the east. She shipped the body to Vancouver. It only took a day of her time. She was back at work that week.
It came out later, through the press, that Linda was a retired cop. She had worked undercover for years and carried a licenced weapon all the time. Nobody knew it, but she went to target practice at the shooting range on the weekends.
She had seen all of their hard work go for naught when that boy scooped up their bingo money. When he pointed his gun at her, it was instinctive to shoot. She didn’t think about killing him. It was cut and dried with Linda. She regretted Eldon’s death, but he was the bad guy.
Geordie and I were treated to a visit, by Cliff, one night at the Legion. He let it slip, as we watched the hockey game, that Ruth was being investigated. None of the cops thought that even Eldon was dumb enough to risk everything for the small amount of money at the bingo. They figured he was put up to it by his aunt. They didn’t know why, what her motivation was, but they thought she was behind it. One thing for sure, Cliff told us, without Ruth’s confession, they couldn’t prove it.
Ruth paid particular attention to Linda after that bingo. She served her first among the counter people, her coffee cup was always full.
It was impossible for Linda not to know that Ruth was suspected by the cops.
Roy wore a hunted look, like he was confused, not sure where he stood. He checked out the morning paper in the kitchen.
We heard that Ruth had left the diner on the night of the bingo, in a huff, after a big fight with Roy. Maybe it was enough to push her over the line. Maybe her jealousy and anger caused her to put the kid up to it, to make Linda look bad.
Unfortunate for young Eldon, her dead nephew.
Geordie and I watched and listened. We knew that Ruth knew that Linda knew.
Ruth attended the bingos but she didn’t boss anyone around any more.
Linda watched Ruth fill our cups at the counter and listened to her repeat tidbits of gossip.
We saw their eyes, Linda’s steady gaze, Ruth’s furtive glances, meet.
That was when we saw it as a line drawn in the sand.

Leave a Comment

Lawyers and Poison Ivy

It was the sweat. The sweat did it. The sweat I couldn’t touch with my hands. Little, black midges buzzed in my eyes and ears. The itchy drops rolled down my forehead and hung off my eyebrow. Even with a lot of head shaking, some of them splash onto your eyelid and cheek. So you lift your arm to wipe and scratch with your sleeve.
You’ve forgotten that the poison ivy roots are longer than the rubber gloves, reaching past your elbows, under your arms. You try to gather the handfuls together while following the next root to pull it out of the sandy earth.
The trick is to get them as long as possible. The more they break off, the more you have to go back. They break off where another root grows over top of them a few inches under the surface. That top root is bigger than the one you’ve got, so you mark the spot to save searching for it later or forgetting about it. Meanwhile, you are pulling up this root and its runners.
The pain in your back, shoulders and legs increases as you search for the runners which wrap themselves around each other and the roots of other plants. Your itchy eyelid touches your sleeve which has absorbed some of the oil from the roots. You get poison ivy in the eye.
The new lot, on the outskirts of the city, is cut out of the forest near the river. The builder bought a lot and built a bungalow on a gravel road. Our neighbours say this lot used to be like a bird sanctuary. A hillside of oak trees, poison ivy and wildflowers where no white man has ever lived.
Sand and a few weeds surround the foundation and cover the surface of the front yard where the septic system is buried and the back yard over the well. Around the perimeter of the lot there is poison ivy, three small evergreens, a few poplars and thirty or forty oak trees. Not big old massive oaks but big enough. Forty to fifty feet.
I waded into the poison ivy in shorts and sandals, thinking I was immune to it because I was when I was a kid. It turns out, according to the medical books, that you lose your immunity as you grow older. I got it all over my wrists and forearms and legs.
I received enough money in an inheritance for a down payment on a mortgage which my wife qualified for because of her job. We had enough for new appliances, furniture and a wood stove to heat the place after we got rid of the agent.
The real estate game was a new experience since neither of us had owned a home before. We moved from a two bedroom fifth floor apartment highrise to this ex bird sanctuary after visiting almost every bedroom community outside the city.
The agent was a mutual friend, not a close friend, but someone we trusted by default. There was no reason not to.
A few weeks into our search with the agent, I read a library book on inspecting your own home. My wife and I argued over our obligations to the agent.
Finally, I confronted him on the phone. I was outraged that we had been cutting ourselves off from investigating private deals (“no agents”) because we felt guilty about him.
His patter remained pretty well the same in each house we visited. The home inspection book detailed everything from the foundation to the chimney which one should inspect and test carefully in estimating the real costs of buying a property. You deduct the cost of repairs or upgrades from the price.
In the real estate system, such things as meetings between the buyers and sellers were discouraged. Two hour home inspections, crawling around the house with flashlight, measuring tape and tools were unheard of. There was no legal obligation by the agent to guarantee the quality of the property, nothing in writing which obligated us to use him. We later found out that an agent can only be held responsible for faults in your house if you can prove they had intentionally hidden them from you.
The agent pockets a good amount of your money which could be spent on furniture or appliances, but in a year or two, if you run into huge expenses because of a problem with your property, he can drive away in his company car with your money in his pocket. He’s free of all responsibility. If you’ve taken the precaution of paying a few hundred dollars for a home inspection, that is all you have to fall back on.
And we’re feeling guilty about him.
He didn’t say “take it or leave it”, but I could tell that’s what he was thinking.
When we happened onto the property we bought, we were alone. We realized that we could save $7,000 in agents’ fees, so we didn’t hesitate. We called a lawyer, took possession and moved in within two months.
Dealing with the agent while the O.J. Simpson trial was on CNN daily should have prepared me for the lawyer and the legal system. In one of the endless, microscopic, depressing Larry King explorations of the American legal system some expert said a rule of thumb for lawyers is “Never represent yourself”.
I did just that.
I heard about a procedure in law which enables a private citizen to question a lawyer’s bill and request to have it lowered by the court for fifty bucks. It exists, but the public doesn’t know about it.
They don’t advertise it, the lawyers and judges who are former lawyers. They have created a system which is like the real estate system. We can avoid the real estate system and poison ivy, but we can’t avoid the legal system.
This lawyer became our lawyer by default. My mom’s legal affairs had been taken care of by a family friend who used to have his chicken track essays typed for him by my sister. I played football with him in high school. He was good to my mom. He had too big a heart to be a lawyer.
Before my mother died, he called to say that he was retiring to take over the family bakery. I assumed then, know now, that he left the lawyer trade in disgust.
His boss, a partner in one of the biggest law companies in town, called to get the job when my mother died. I assumed he would treat the administration of the will with the same care as my friend had.
The legal process to challenge the lawyer’s fees was in motion at the same time as we bought and moved into the house. The final hearing was scheduled for early August.
I came to challenge the bill, not for the money involved, but to protest the treatment of my family by the lawyer. I’m sure that if the equivalent had been done to the family in my father’s time, he would have dragged this individual out of his fancy top floor suite of offices by the suit and made him back it up, man to man. People, these days, either kill each other or go to court.
Lawyers’ insidious power creeps into every facet of our lives, witness pro sports and our political system. Common sense and honesty seem to be absent in all of the huge systems we have to deal with from day to day. The legal system, like poison ivy, will get you, one way or another, if you get involved with it.
My aunt, in her mid eighties, was the executrix of the will. She had only good intentions in that capacity. She was overwhelmed by the mess which was created by this lawyer, preferred just to get it over with as soon as possible. My mom’s short, clear will took over a year to be administered because of the arrogance and ignorance of the lawyer and the behaviour of my sister.
She objected to the will, the funeral arrangements, my aunt’s executrixship and anything else she could think of.
The lawyer, at first taken aback, confided to my aunt that he had met such people before, had one in his own family. He knew how to handle her. Of course, he was putty in the hands of my sister. He was soon bullied or conned into doing nothing.
Finally, my aunt and I forced him to act by threatening to take the will to another lawyer. It seems that every family goes through turmoil when death visits. No one is ready for it. How many times does your mother die? I resigned myself to waiting for months to get the matter settled.
The extra money the lawyer charged because of the problems which my sister caused was not the main consideration in having his fees assessed. It seemed to be the only way, short of making a splash in the media and risking slander charges, to question his competence and criticize the quality of his work, publicly. Ranting on the phone or through the mail is a waste of time.
The assessment is done by a judge in a formal hearing with a bible and a court reporter. It’s not much consolation if you lose, but at least you get to look the lawyer in the eye in front of witnesses on public record and tell him what you think of his work.
By the time the poison ivy root pile had grown into a three foot by four foot hump at the back of the lot, I had tried every poison ivy cure known to man. From rubbing broken aloe vera leaves on the rash, to experimenting with expensive homeopathic remedies, to good old calamine lotion, I tried everything to control the poison ivy. I was still attacking the last of the big clumps. Nothing worked.
I seriously considered taking the advice of friends who recommended a napalm like herbicide which would “kill everything it touches for three years”. But I couldn’t bring myself to do it.
I continued to itch as I tried to write down my thoughts on the lawyer’s work. I planned a space close to the basement window for the woodpile.
August arrived. The big day approached. This was going to be my third time in this judge’s courtroom. The first two times procedural mistakes exploited by the fast talking lawyer caused delays.
We got the call from the wood cutter the night before the court date. He would be arriving the next day with loads of wood, four in all, totalling ten face cords.
I killed the tension by pulling roots furiously that hot afternoon. That was probably when I contacted my eye with the poison ivy oil on my sleeve.
We drove into town early that August morning and had a greasy breakfast on the way. My anger at the lawyer had driven me to refuse an out of court settlement of $500 off the bill which he had offered by phone a few days before.
We smothered our ham and eggs in ketchup. I agonized over whether I should have taken him up on his offer.
My wife asked me why I was winking at her. A large tear ran down my cheek. My eye had begun to swell, turn red and itch as much as my ankles and wrists.
The intimidating atmosphere of the formal hearing became exaggerated as I sat in suit and tie and studied my twenty pages of notes. They recorded the catalogue of insults the lawyer had heaped upon me and my aunt. Not overt insults, but an endless series of delays, mistakes and inexplicable charges.
My eye ran. My voice sounded like a strangled crow as I tried to explain to the judge why I was questioning the lawyer’s work. The structure of the proceedings, about which even the greenest cop and file clerk in the building knew more than I, threw me. Statements, questions, cross examinations which were second nature to the lawyer, spoiled the plan I had rehearsed.
The judge and lawyer exchanged significant glances. The court reporter turned to examine me curiously while I sputtered and squawked emotionally about the injustice and lack of attention the lawyer had paid to the administration of my mother’s will. I made statements when I should have asked questions and fumbled with my notes.
The lawyer defended himself. The judge confronted me with a release I had signed in a meeting when my sister finally agreed to have the will administered as it was written. The lawyer simply blamed the delays on my sister and the mistakes on his assistant.
He had delegated the details of the settlement to his assistant because it decreased the cost of his services. He charged three hundred dollars per hour for his time, only one hundred per hour for hers.
He couldn’t explain many of the charges on the bill and after a year of dealing with our family, he hadn’t even been able to get my name right on the final papers.
It didn’t phase the judge. It became obvious that the exercise was carried through because I had paid the fifty bucks. They were humouring me. If I had known the procedure or had been represented by a lawyer who did, I might have had a chance.
As it was, with anger and adrenalin tightening my collar, sweat and a steady tear rolling out of one eye, I was disposed of in short order. I was told by the judge that he would allow no further litigation on the matter, that the bill was fair.
The consolation of knowing that I had, in three court appearances, wasted at least four hours of the lawyer’s $300 an hour time, comforted me on the drive home. The endless technical details and procedures I watched millionaire lawyers manipulate on behalf of a millionaire defendant in the Simpson trial became more meaningful and more depressing.
The woodcutter arrived cheerfully with the first load of wood.
I struggled to keep up with my wife who had grown up on a farm. She taught me to crosspile the ends of the rows of 16″ maple, beech and ironwood logs. We continued until darkness and exhaustion halted our labours. My eye had closed completely.
The Arnprior Hospital took care of the poison ivy with a shot of penicillin.
Some of the poison ivy still survives beneath the frozen ground of winter. The wood stove gives good heat. We heard later that the same lawyer had been taken to court again for the same reason.
My original lawyer, my friend from high school, died of cancer.
O.J. got off.
We carry on.

Leave a Comment

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 62 other followers