Dworkin’ on your case

Merriam-Webster Dictionary’s Word of the Day: jurisprudence

noun \joor-us-PROO-dunss\

definition: the science or philosophy of law

My entire life, I’ve unknowingly lived under a duplicitous identity. My friends and family knew me as Henry Allan Jani, but Big Brother had me listed otherwise: Henry A. Jani. On government documents, my middle name was shortened to a simple letter and dot while my baptismal name was not. The variations obviously seem miniscule. Alas, after countless database discrepancies and obstacles gaining any political documentation, a change needed to be made before I left for college.

That’s where my so-called lawyer for the process came in. My demands, in my opinion, were rather straightforward — amending my misnomer so that the TSA agents at the airport wouldn’t grope my booty every time I had to fly. Alas, the process turned out to be anything but simple, considering my attorney was an unrelenting goofball. When I tried to explain to him that my parents had simply assigned “A.” at my birth as my middle name to reflect my father’s first name (which is “Arqile”– super Albanian, not a misspelling of the fabric), he couldn’t really understand why that had happened. The simplicity of the process was foolish enough as it was but became unnecessarily ridiculous when my lawyer kept recounting anecdotes of his vacations instead of dealing with the problem. I heard about the benefits of Viking River Cruises versus traditional “freestyle cruising,” how underwhelming the Tower of Pisa was and how to deal with a family vacation full of, from what I gathered through contextual clues, wide-hipped Jewish priestesses.

The initial logistical process took a whopping three months, and another two months to schedule a court date with the county magistrate. As we walked into the courtroom, my lawyer loosely briefed me on the process and then threw in a few tidbits about why he preferred Travelocity to Expedia. The amount of legalese that he brought up after made the process seem rather daunting and really made me question if the change would have been as easy as I thought.

Our meeting lasted a total of about five minutes. The “courtroom” was the magistrate’s personal office, complete with a picture frame engraved with “God is Love,” which showcased his two teenage kids and their metal-packed smiles. After initial introductions, questions about the change and the judge telling me he, like every other Ohioan, had never heard of Tufts, the deed was done with a simple signature. Long gone was “Henry A.” and the era of Henry Allan was ushered in.

The $750 fee that was slapped on afterwards was the cherry on top of this truly enigmatic experience. I now call my mom “Zamira Allan,” as she doesn’t have a middle name, to get the biggest bang for our egregiously swindled buck. Actually, it did help again yesterday, when I evaluated the purpose of my political philosophy class and the possibility of becoming a lawyer. People mentally masturbating to Hobbes and Locke just didn’t fit my fancy, and I couldn’t imagine going through the same in law school. So I dropped the class and haven’t felt a twinge of regret since. Becoming a pseudo travel agent wasn’t in the cards for me this time.


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