Insophisticate

I recently applied to and was admitted to law school. I decided to attend BYU, mostly because Yale was too expensive. And I didn't apply there. And, if I had, they would've taken one look at my credentials, heaved great, rolling, mirthful waves of laughter, and hung my application up on the wall to remind them of how cute and quaint the proletariat can be. So I decided to go to BYU, which is where I spent 8 years as an undergrad (I got held back a few times... leave me alone).

By fortunate coincidence, my house-hunting trip to Utah coincided with a luncheon in downtown Salt Lake City put on by the law school. Admitted students, alumni, faculty members, and current students were all invited to munch on rabbit food and "mingle." The idea, I think, is that during the course of the mingling, the admitted students are supposed to get good vibes and decide to attend BYU over their other options.

I didn't really get into any other law schools, so I had to play coy when the dean said he hoped I would carefully consider what BYU law has to offer. I couldn't very well say, "Oh, don't worry. I was flat-out rejected from all the other schools to which I applied. In fact, I'm really fairly mediocre overall, and I'm somewhat surprised you admitted me. Still, I'm happy that my application duped you into thinking I'm not going to lower the overall IQ of your incoming class and insert random bits of rock 'n' roll trivia into otherwise dull legal lectures. See ya, sucka!"

So instead I said, "Well, we'll see how good the luncheon food is. If it's sub-par, I swear I'll choose... you know, some other law school. Because I got into other schools. Really. I did. By the way, did you get that tie at JC Penny's? My grandpa has one just like it." Just kidding. I didn't say that.

Because we couldn't really afford to fly the whole family halfway around the world to look for houses, my wonderful mother drove down from Oregon to advise me on real estate matters and also to accompany me to the luncheon. My mom and I may be awesome, but we're not all that classy, and that's where we ran into trouble. In this room full of erudite scholars, lawyers, and students hoping to not appear as sophomoric as they really are, my mom and I felt somewhat out of place. She works at a fabric store and I still pick my nose in public.

After filling our plates, we located the only two available chairs and seated ourselves next to a gaggle of young admitted students. They were engaged in a lively conversation with an older gentleman, who I assumed must've been an alumnus or a guy in a suit who was passing by in the hallway and thought some lemonade sounded good. My mom leaned over to me as we started eating. "Go ahead. Talk to them. That's what you're here for." I informed my mother that I'm almost 30, I know how to talk to people, and I'd insert myself into the conversation when I was good and ready. I neglected to tell her that I didn't plan on being good and ready until the luncheon was over and everyone was gone.

Then, things started to deteriorate. I balanced my plate on my knee as I slid my jacket off, but instead of my jacket sliding off, my sandwich slid off my plate. Agile as a jaguar (just go with my metaphor here), I caught the sandwich between my knees before it fell, and no one seemed to notice. Phew. But as I set down my lemonade to free up a hand to retrieve said sandwich, I felt wetness on my knee. The tomato in my sandwich was leaking juice into my white dress pants. I don't know why I wore white dress pants. I guess I just didn't really anticipate squeezing a tomato with my knees.

As I surveyed the damage to my pants (and ego), I slid the other arm out of my jacket. And in so doing I knocked my lemonade off the chair beside me and onto the floor. "Oops," I mumbled as those in my proximity recoiled from the mess. So now I was the guy with a red knee and lemon-kissed shoes. Things were starting to look bleak. My aura of sophistication was nearly pierced.

Then, out of nowhere, my mom's nose started gushing blood. "Whoa! Bloody nose!" she declared, as if her bloody hands weren't indication enough, and she scurried off to the bathroom. I then experienced one of those awkward moments where everything is suddenly silent, people are looking at you, and all you can do is kind of smile weakly, wave, and keep scrubbing the the lemonade and blood off the carpet.

Feeling I had little left to lose, I struck up a conversation with a young lady and young man seated beside me. Several sentances in, I ejected a piece of food from my mouth with a particularly well-articulated "t" sound, and it landed on the girl's shoe. I paused, lightly nodded my head, and decided the best thing to do was to just go ahead and excuse myself before my pants just randomly fell down around my ankles or I farted involuntarily or a chandelier fell on my head. Sometimes the cosmos just kind of has it in for you, and I could tell this was the case today.

Mom didn't bleed to death, fortunately, but fate had one last kick in the jimmy for me before we escaped from the building. In the absurdley packed elevator down from the tenth floor, we ended up squished next to girl who was probably still sporting my half-masticated food on her footwear. Mom, unwitting of my unfortunate acquaintence with said young lady (she having been in the bathroom stuffing toilet paper in her nose during the episode), tried some small talk with her in the silent elevator. "So, where are you headed?" she queried. "Down," the girl deadpanned. The elevator erupted into laughter.

I put my head in my hands.