Once upon a time, three friends—a surgeon, an architect, and a lawyer—argued over which of their professions came first.
The surgeon declared, “Come on, guys, surgery was obviously the first profession. God performed surgery on Adam to remove his rib, which he used to create Eve. It’s right there in the Bible.”
The architect shook her head. “No, no, God was an architect before he was ever a surgeon! ‘In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.’ It’s literally the first verse in the book.”
At this, the lawyer crossed his arms and smirked. “You’re both wrong,” he declared. “There was a lawyer before any of that.” His friends stared. “Before God made the world, there was only darkness and confusion,” he explained. “Of course lawyers came first. Who do you think caused all that darkness and confusion?”
Yes, lawyers have a reputation for dishonesty. They probably don’t deserve it, but then I don’t know any lawyers, so I’m not sure. Honest or not, lawyers are certainly a bit intimidating. It was Dave Barry who identified Fear of Attorneys as one of the six basic human emotions, along with Anger, Lust, Greed, Envy, and the Need to Snack.
My own experience of lawyers is limited mostly to Rumpole of the Bailey, Marvel’s Daredevil, and the Ace Attorney series of video games: none of which are terribly realistic in their depiction of the law.
I can think of at least one lawyer, however, whose insight I value. In Ace Attorney, an up-and-coming lawyer prepares for each trial by repeating the same statement over and over.
“My name is Apollo Justice, and I’M FINE!”
(His name really is Apollo Justice; I can’t decide whether it’s stupid, awesome, or both.)
In every trial, no matter how much he wants to throw up or run away and hide, Apollo tells himself that he’s going to be okay. He reminds himself that no matter how difficult the trial, no matter how bad it gets, he’s fine.
As anyone knows who has followed this blog for a while, I live with mild chronic depression and anxiety. They aren’t severe enough to warrant medication, and they’ve improved greatly since I left a toxic work situation about a year ago, but they’re definitely a nuisance.
My malaise comes and goes. On good days, I forget it completely; on bad days, it’s hard to think of anything else. For years, I’ve occasionally felt close to breaking down or giving up—yet here I am. I’m fine. I’m fine.
As a family member once pointed out, for all the times I felt like I couldn’t make it through another day, my survival rate has been one hundred percent so far. That’s pretty good, all things considered. I’ve made it this far by God’s grace, and I have every reason to suppose his grace won’t ever fail.
For years, I hoped to figure out some perfect strategy for coping with the bad days. I’m beginning to think there isn’t one. The bad days seem just as dreary and hopeless as they ever have, and I feel just as unprepared for them. I shall probably always feel unprepared for them. There are no magic words or foolproof plans for dealing with certain problems.
Maybe I should just remind myself every so often that I’m fine. I may not feel fine, but I’ve made it this far, and today shan’t be my last. I’ll make it. With God’s help, I’ll make it. Things will get better. They always do.
For the record, I don’t feel bad at the time of publishing this post. It’s just something I’ve been meaning to write for a while, and I’m only just getting around to it.
I’m fine, really!
My name is Adam Stück, and I’M FINE!