I generally post my ramblings and horrible things that happen to me in my professional life on here. So I figured, for once… I would share a funny (albeit still sorta horrible) story for a change.
A bit of background is in order however. When you work at a legal summer internship, the firm you work for will usually also attempt to pay homage to the whole “work life balance” joke that is often bandied about in most firms’ propaganda; and they setup a handful of outings for the interns. The popular one is everyone goes to a baseball game.. or something of that sort. Some of the higher priced firms go all out in an effort to engender envy among peers back at law school and attempt to create mystique through the retelling of the amazing events put on for the benefit of their interns. These fun outings are always limited to the summer months when the greatest number of interns are churning.
As I worked at a government office, there was no money for fun (or fun outings….Or nearly anything else for that matter). They setup a few events, usually by calling around to other government offices where they could call in a favor and get a tour of somewhere interesting; and if you think about everywhere that has government money invested in it… well, some of the tours were actually pretty cool. Others… well one was going to a Medical Examiners office for an autopsy. Bets were always made about which new intern would puke first.
Other invitations to the interns were weird. I got invited to come to a softball game where my office was playing in an all lawyer intramural league made up of a bunch of the other firms in the city. Now, most people would think that this means they wanted me to play; maybe I read too much into the invitation of “Hey Azrael… you definitely need to come out to the softball game tonight.” I showed up and awkwardly sat watching the game for about 40 minutes, made all the more akward by the fact that I was classmates with several of the interns on the other team (whose firm I guess wanted them to play…) Ultimately I wandered off and left wondering why I had been asked to show up.
But that’s not this story. No. This is the story of the meatcake. Towards the end of the summer, the wrangler-of-interns pops their head in and tells us that there is a lunch in our honor with the mayor in about a week, and that we have to make sure to be presentable on the day of. This wasn’t a big issue since most of us were in and out of court on a regular basis and therefore always in suits. So the day rolls around and the couple of legal interns in our department join up with the handful of legal interns in a related department and we head off to City Hall for our lunch with the mayor.
There were only about a dozen legal interns. I will tell you honestly… I thought we were going to be going out to a restaurant to thank us for working for free all summer and we would have a nice lunch with the mayor. We show up at city hall and are met at the door by the attorney whose job it had been to setup most of the internship program and activities. We’re ushered inside to see that the main foyer of city hall had been filled with round tables and chairs, and at the other end had been setup a serving table for food. All of us were slightly confused. There had to be about 300 chairs… our keen intellect told us something was a bit off.
So our group of a dozen or so soon-to-be attorneys wend out way to a middle table and sit down. The atrium is empty except for us. Within a few minutes, the main doors open and a veritable flood of young teenagers come in and start sitting down. They’re wearing your usual jeans / T-shirt that you would expect. It was at this point that we knew something was definitely off. The intern wrangler walks over and talks to someone by a podium for a minute and then walks back and sits down with us again, at which point she says…
“I think I’ve made a mistake. I saw the lunch for interns on the calendar and thought it was for us, so I signed all of you up. Although it is for interns, it was more geared to the high school programs.” The crowd started to settle down, and someone started walking to the podium. And with that the intern wrangler stood up. She then looked at us at added… “I’m going to leave. But you all have to stay…. Sorry.” At which point she veritably sprinted away from what she had wrought upon us. It may have been more fitting if she cackled hysterically as she retreated.
So there we were. A table of much older, nicely dressed law students; sitting in a sea of high schoolers. To say we stood out was putting it mildly. We sat through several (thankfully) short speeches thanking us for our volunteer efforts, and then we were invited to go get food from the serving table.
None of us are horribly happy about how things are turning out, but as I mention many times before… free food is free food, and I am not one to say no to such a thing. So I eventually get to the front of the line and I am greeted with a large, white frosted sheet cake. I’m slightly confused, because I thought we were having lunch, but whatever. Cake is good too. I then notice something odd about the cake… what I had initially mistaken for colored frosting piping on top were actually very thin strips of bell peppers. Before I could ask “what is that?” the server plops a large piece on my plate. I look at it for a moment somewhat confused, but the line is moving so I take my cake, a handful of potato chips, and a dixie cup of red fruit punch back to the table.
I no sooner sit down than 3 people say “Don’t eat the cake.” This obviously piques my interest. Someone has already figured out what the mystery cake is… So I ask “So… what is the cake? And why shouldn’t I eat it?” I prod it slightly with my spork trying to figure out what I am looking at. The answer was horrifying.
The cake was a 3 layer cake. The filling of each layer was a different lunch-meat-salad– tuna salad, chicken salad, and chipped ham… uhm.. salad (is that even a thing?). Each layer was separated by an extra thick piece of bread. This whole pseudo-sandwich was then frosted (as you would a sheet cake) with mayonnaise. And more mayo was randomly thrown in as a binding agent wherever they felt it necessary. I’m not sure who came up with this idea, but hell has a special place just for them.
As with any group, there was one person at the table (not me) who decided to be the human garbage disposal and voiced his opinion that it wasn’t half bad between bites of this mayonnaise monstrosity. No one else ate it.
We waited an acceptable amount of time and then got the hell out. I will admit, before we left, several of us availed ourselves of one of the more amusing attractions of the luncheon. If you wanted, the mayor was taking pictures with anyone who was willing and they would send you the photo. About 3 weeks after the luncheon, I got a mailer to the department containing a lovely autographed photo of me and the mayor.
I still have it. Framed no less. And I smile and think of the meatcake every time I see it.