Monday, June 13, 2005

Ways being a law student screws you up for life #638: So I just came out of the restroom here at the coffee shop, and there's a sign in there that says, "Please do not flush anything but a reasonable amount of toilet paper." Curious sign, no doubt, but apparently straightforward--applies the objective "reasonable person" standard to a judgment call, which makes a lot of sense, and clearly can be judged ex post facto based on results. OTOH, I faced a dilemma that the sign's apparently simplicity belied--was a strict or a loose interpretation of the sign appropriate? Not being a Scalia-like originalist, I eschewed the straightforward textual reading for one based more on an understanding of cultural context, (notwithstanding the "if it's yellow, stay mellow" dictum) and decided that the actual water plus any human-generated waste were clearly not meant to be covered by the sign. I thus proceeded, confident that I had properly navigated a dicey problem of interpretation.

OK, maybe it's not law school; maybe it's more like Adrian Cronauer's diagnosis of Bruno Kirby's character in Good Morning Vietnam. Either way, you know, welcome to my own personal brand of crazy.

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