Cascades, Water Balloons, and Tort Law: An Overview

Baloon's end 480 frame/s

Baloon’s end 480 frame/s (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was sitting with friends yesterday evening, studying a menu, when our waiter tipped the tray he was carrying and poured ice water on me. Seven glasses full. Most went onto my lap. My slacks were sopping.

That was the most invigorating experience I’ve had since the Director of the Tort Litigation Division of the largest law firm in Austin hit me smack in the chest with a water balloon. No cause of action was involved. We were engaged in a water balloon fight.

She was contrite, apologized all over the place, but, as I told her, hitting someone was her job. I just happened to move into range.

If the fault fell on anyone, it was my attorney. I was parked at a picnic table with other paralegals and secretaries who were pleading headaches–one pleading a migraine, which she was subject to–when my attorney came over and said, “C’mon, Kathy.” I don’t know how he knew I didn’t have a headache. I could have pleaded migraine, but I didn’t.

He had migraines, as well, so he knew one when he saw one.
 

I had migraines, too, and I never lied about having one. I preferred to embarrass myself in a three-legged race than to tempt fate.

English: Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Associate Justic...

English: Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Anyway, lying to lawyers is not a good idea. They know.

So I participated and got the balloon treatment. And I benefited from the experience. In addition to forgiving the Director, I told her the water was a relief. Pease Park isn’t air-conditioned in late spring.

Best of all, I was the only paralegal wearing a wet tee-shirt. It wasn’t the kind that turns transparent, but it was a tee-shirt, and it was wet. Normally when I tell the story, I leave out the phrase not transparent.

Yesterday’s waterfall didn’t have nearly the joie de vivre of the water balloon incident. My friends were appalled and tried to dry me off. Several suggested I head for the restroom and wring myself out (staff had supplied terry cloth hand towels), but moving would have been disastrous. I would have left a trail of water from here to yonder.

Then friends worried I would freeze in the exceptionally cool room. I assured them I wouldn’t. I haven’t frozen since the Great Snow of 1986.

Anyway, after the initial surprise, I laughed and said, “I’m all right, I’m really all right, really,
I’m all right.” And I was.

 

But I also wanted to spare the waiter’s feelings. There’s a reason I’ve never been a waiter, and dumping food and drink on people is it.

I’m glad I behaved graciously about the deluge, because later, the same waiter tipped another tray–while it was resting on a stand, which takes a goodly portion of dexterity–and lost an order of tacos pastor. That time our entire table laughed (except, perhaps, the woman who had ordered the tacos). I made a point of saying, “We’re not laughing at you; we’re laughing with you.”

The waiter appeared to take the business with equanimity. He probably zenned it. A lot of zenning goes on in Austin.

Telling the whole truth, as I must in a post involving attorneys, requires me to admit I took the cascade with aplomb for the reason every writer with half a grain of sense lives by:

It’s all material.

*****

I tell the story of the water balloon because I think it’s public record, I hope. I hope also  I can’t be fired retroactively. For anyone who just has to know, I’ll explain someday why a bunch of lawyers and support staff were lobbing liquid at one another. But the story is better if you don’t know.

I’m told, however, that listening to tort lawyers plan an afternoon of vigorous recreational games is most instructive, because they spend half the time discussing injury, liability, damages, duty of care, breach, proximate cause, and such.

My own speculation–and it is mere speculation, not legal opinion, so I’m not practicing law without a license–is that in any potential suit, sovereign immunity and res ipsa loquitur, plus a modicum of intentional infliction of emotional distress would battle it out in the courts.

And, yes, I had to check Wikipedia to brush up on most of those terms. I knew them for the test, but since then they’ve re-filed themselves in short-term memory. I do remember quite a bit about res ipsa loquitur and sponges, and I have vivid memories of putting together many trial notebooks.

 

*****

I’m sorry, but I cannot resist. The following photo is captioned The Attorney General of Brazil. If you see him, please write a comment and tell me where he is.

 

 

The Stand-Up

Kathy Waller:

Jane Austen

Jane Austen (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Jane Austen at a PUB? Yes!
Maddie Shrewsday, Kate’s fourteen-year-old daughter, speculates on what Jane did there.
Prepare to be enlightened. And to LAUGH.

Originally posted on Kate Shrewsday:

Screen Shot 2015-02-02 at 19.02.11

She’s a stand-up, and she’s only 14.

So we’re driving down to Winchester on one of our Saturday afternoon jaunts, and I come off the soulless M3 motorway to take the old carriage way. The road the postal carriages would have taken to get post to the south and south west. The route the stagecoaches flew along moving visitors from one big house to the next.

And I am doing that thing mothers do where they repeat ad infinitum the litany of landmarks on a road; those that have personal significance (ah, that’s where our car broke down in 1989; that’s the Little Chef where I left my handbag and never went back to get it) and those which have a greater, more elevated place in history.

“Look, darling,” I gesture expansively over the steering wheel, “you see that pub?”

It is labelled ‘The Wheatsheaf’ and it’s a member of…

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Murder in Exotic Places

Kathy Waller:

Austin Mystery Writer Elizabeth Buhmann shares murder mysteries set in India that ooze local color–and one cookbook to alleviate the cravings that reading them might bring on . . .

Originally posted on Austin Mystery Writers:

Elizabeth BuhmannBy Elizabeth Buhmann

I love to read murder mysteries that are set somewhere in the world that I have never been. Let me hasten to say that I do not care for such mysteries when they’ve been written by someone who has also never been there, or who has not been there for more than a visit.

No, I want a book that oozes local color and a narrator who has clearly lived there, walked the streets every day and been part of the community. Sometimes it’s an ex-pat, sometimes a person sent there by a job (or a spouse’s job). Or it may be an English-speaking native, or the books may have been written in another language and translated into English.

The River Ganges, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India The River Ganges, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India

The author also needs to be a skillful and inventive mystery and suspense writer, so the kind of books I’m talking…

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Tresha Barger’s “It’s a Sign” Appears on Austin Public Library Facebook Page

Kathy Waller:

Sisters in Crime ~ Heart of Texas Chapter and Austin Public Library partner to bring you Micro-Mystery Sunday!

Originally posted on Sisters in Crime ~ Heart of Texas Chapter:

“It’s a Sign,” a micro-mystery by HoTxSinC’s Tresha Barger, appears on the Austin Public Library Facebook page at noon on Sunday, February 1, 2015: https://www.facebook.com/AustinLibrary

Lead-ins to the story are online at http://library.austintexas.gov/event/micro-mystery-sunday-apl%E2%80%99s-facebook-page-307405 and at https://www.facebook.com/AustinLibrary.

A micro-mystery written by a member of HoTxSinC will appear on the APL Facebook page each Sunday in February.

Micro-mysteries are being selected by former HoTxSinC member Kaye George. National bestselling author of the FAT CAT series, Kaye is also a Silver Falchion Finalist and a three-time Agatha Nominee.

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No Cleavage in Broadchurch

Kathy Waller:

Gale Albright focuses on “Broadchurch” to compare characterization of women detectives in British television series with those in crime shows made for American TV. Tight slacks and stilettos, anyone?

Originally posted on Austin Mystery Writers:

hutto oct. 1 2014 023 (2)By Gale Albright

In crime fiction, women traditionally have taken on roles of helpmeet/spouse or devil temptress. It’s the old good girl/bad girl, Madonna/whore dichotomy so prevalent in literature, movies, and television. A great example of this dichotomy appears in the classic noir film, The Maltese Falcon.

Mary Astor is the seductive, murdering femme fatale, Bridget O’Shaughnessy. Lee Patrick plays Sam Spade’s girl Friday, Effie Perrine. She is obviously devoted to him, is on call to do his bidding 24/7 and lives with her mother. He never notices her except to say things like “You’re a good man, sister.” He plays around with Iva Archer, his partner’s wife. She is not on screen long, but she makes it count. When Miles is murdered, she forces her way into Sam’s office, draped head to toe in stylish black, somehow looking sexy, and asks Sam if he killed Miles because he…

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Feeling Wretched Leads to Grousing and Posting

I feel lousy!
Oh so lousy!
I feel lousy, and frowzy, and a fright!

And that’s the truth.

IMG_2305My whole body, except for my brain, is out of commission. My brain is set on Grouse. To the widest audience I can find.

I’ve already told my niece and my great-niece, through Facebook, what I think about a couple of things. Niece offered to buy me a drink. I suggested codeine or paregoric instead. Great-niece hasn’t responded.

At this point, even the brain is running out of steam, so, gentle readers, you will be spared the Grouse. Instead, I will post pictures of a family get-together in Houston a year–two?three?–ago.

Both of the mothers said I could post photos of their children. The children’s grandmother didn’t give permission to post a photo of her, but she doesn’t get to say. When I was sixteen and she was almost twice that, and old enough to know better, she set an ice pack on my stomach in the middle of the night, when I was sound asleep.

I have forgiven her, but I will never forget.

Anyway, here are a bunch of very bad photos of people having fun.

P. S. I’ll see how many of gentle family are aware of this blog by counting the number of comments I get from them here and on Facebook.

100 Words: Lovestruck

Friday Fictioneers: Write a 100-word story based on the prompt.

PHOTO PROMPT – Copyright – Georgia Koch

PHOTO PROMPT – Copyright – Georgia Koch

 

When Derek fell for LucyMae, he immediately introduced her to his wife.

“Look, Mandy.” His tone was reverent; his eyes betokened lust. “Isn’t she gorgeous?”

“Good gosh.” Mandy touched the hull. “Water, water everywhere and all the boards did shrink. Where does the albatross sit?”

“Hydrate her, the boards’ll plump up.”

“They’re rotten. . . . What’s that thingy?”

“It’s a . . . I’ll fix her.”

He switched on pleading puppy eyes.

Sigh. “Okay.” Mandy took his arm. “Let’s go look at that treadle sewing machine I want.”

“You can’t sew.”

“No. But it was love at first sight.”

***

Every Wednesday, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields issues the Friday Fictioneers challenge. She posts a picture prompt and invites readers to write stories of 100 words or fewer and to post them on their blogs the following Friday. This week’s prompt is here (scroll down the page to see it). Rochelle’s story follows it.

To see more stories by Friday Fictioneers’, click on the frog, below.

(Friday is the official post date, but Thursday is fine, too. :-))

 

Truthiness

Kathy Waller:

Leanne Cole Photography (http://leannecolephotography.com/2015/01/19/introductions-exploratorius/) introduces Exploratorius–and I introduce Exploratorius’ “Truthiness.” What more can I say?

Originally posted on Exploratorius:

Stephen Colbert's portrait -- National Portrait Gallery, Washington, DC (January 2015)iPhone 6 Plus + 29/2.2 Stephen Colbert’s portrait — National Portrait Gallery, Washington, DC (January 2015)
iPhone 6 Plus + 29/2.2

Go see it while you can — it’s only on display for a limited time.

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100 Words: Nothing But Gray

Friday Fictioneer Challenge: Write a 100-word story based on the prompt.

*****

PHOTO PROMPT - Copyright Jan Wayne Fields

Friday Fictioneer Prompt. Copyright Jan Wayne Fields

Nothing But Gray

Paul stood, hands in pockets, looking out.

She’s set four places again, he thought. And she sits in a different chair now, doesn’t talk, just looks out the window at nothing but gray stone.

She brought in a covered dish. “Chicken casserole. Your father’s favorite.”

He heard Jack slip in and pull out a chair. Paul didn’t move.

She sat down. “Come. Eat.”

He turned. “Every night, Mom, four plates. And you, just staring.”

“Four people, four plates.”

“Dad’s dead, Mom. He’s dead. Three months now.”

She unfolded her napkin. “And I watch for your father. He’ll be home soon.”

*****

Rochelle Wisoff – Fields – Addicted to Purple

Prompt: 16 January 2015

Words for Creators

Kathy Waller:

I planned to post today, but Kate Shrewday has written such a beautiful–and important–piece that I must reblog it. Please read, and note what she told her daughter. It applies to us all.

Originally posted on Kate Shrewsday:

NASA Blue Marble of Western Hemisphere http://veimages.gsfc.nasa.gov//2429/globe_east_540.jpg NASA Blue Marble of Western Hemisphere
http://veimages.gsfc.nasa.gov//2429/globe_east_540.jpg

Yet today I had a moment of clarity, and, as if in a fairy tale, rushed to share it with those in the bewitched waters, the depthless well of cyberspace, and the people who live there. We who share the life of the mind.
Andra Watkins, this is for you as you launch your creation out there into the world. And it is for those who drift around in these waters. Wondering if there is a point, but creating anyway.
Maddie and I were driving to her ballet lesson. We passed a cosy bungalow with a drive and my head craned round, and we both said “Ooooh.” How do people manage to live in lovely spaces like that? I wondered aloud, unwisely; how do people support that lifestyle? And Maddie said, I know, Mum. It’s like that with exams, too. Some people…

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