A few years ago, I popped into a bodega to buy a pack of Pall Malls when the unthinkable happened. A young punk was in the process of holding up the store and didn’t take too kindly to my interrupting him. Before I knew what was happening, I’d taken a bullet to the head. They tell me I was dead for over three minutes. Three minutes to touch the face of God and realize what’s really important back on this mortal coil: ignoring my family to get my work done.
A Clean Slate
It’s hard to describe it as a gift, but the amnesia I developed did free me up to look at my life with fresh eyes. Without the burden of my past, I realized I was doing everything exactly right: working long hours, making lots of money, ignoring my family, and letting the chips fall where they may. Yes, sir, I had life figured out, and I was just going to keep blindly moving forward once I remembered how to walk and talk again.
The rehabilitation process after my near-death experience was long and arduous but only convinced me further that I needed to focus on upping my billable hours. Every minute I spent with my wife and children, learning how to sound out words and tie my shoes again, was agony. Why, oh, why couldn’t they just wheel me into my corner office and let me review the latest documents for the North Shore case? For fuck’s sake, learning how to ride a bike with my daughter wasn’t helping me make partner.
Having come so close to death once, I refused to meet my maker a second time with so many emails left unreturned. Sure, when I do eventually die, it will be desperately alone. My wife left me, and took the two or three kids with her. But it won’t be with any regrets, not with all the time she freed up for me to plow through my paperwork.
In the end, I may not have been dead for long, but that near-death experience gave me a new perspective on life. We are but stardust, pretending to be human for a few fleeting moments. We should not let this gift pass by without purpose, and so I sit behind this desk, doing what I was born to do: write legal briefs in a nice chair and occasionally talk about sports on my way to the bathroom. I’m determined to create the masterpiece I was meant to live, one billable hour at a time.