Masters of the Creepy White Trash-stache

For the past five weeks I have been a clerk at the courthouse here in Provo. Generally, being a law clerk is fairly prestigious. Which is why I think they should call them something besides clerks. The term "clerk" makes everyone think of the cashier at 7-Eleven, which is a decidedly un-prestigious position. But don't get me wrong -- 7-Eleven clerks are well-respected by society, despite their relative lack of prestige, because they and they alone control the levers of Slurpee in this universe. Well, technically, I guess each patron individually and respectively controls those levers on his or her own behalf, but 7-Eleven clerks make sure each patron pays for the privilege of manipulating those levers. And this, I think, basically makes 7-Eleven clerks the masters of the cosmos. Or at least the masters of the creepy white trash-stache (a distant cousin of the moustache).

Changing her name to "Isabella von Scaredofthewater."
My clerkship at the court is also decidedly un-prestigious, because I'm working for free. Working for free is just how I roll. I have a vague memory of legal tender, like a grainy black and white photograph buried somewhere back in the deepest recesses of my memory. I distantly recall it tasting like chicken. My clerkship is also un-prestigious because I'm not really a clerk. I only work for the real clerk. I'm a bit of a sub-clerk. A clerk's aide, if you will. A clerk maggot?

The courthouse exterior doesn't look like a courthouse. It looks like a building that houses three businesses: one that does your taxes, one that sells insurance, and one that does something else boring. It's nondescript, red brick, with a few bands of black reflective windows wrapped around it like so many ribbons. Friendly policemen man the metal detector at the front door. The elevators wheeze and inch you up and down their shafts like an aged ferryman. I always pray I don't have to share my rides with anyone, because I think it takes most of the morning to reach the fourth floor, and I don't like small talk. Or Smallville. But I like Orville. Redenbacher.

Most of the time the judge I work for (or, if you wish to get precise, the judge for whom the clerk I work for works) presides over hearings and trials. Stuff like trials for breaches of no-compete contractual provisions ("You said if I taught you how to sell overpriced vacuum cleaners really well you wouldn't start your own overpriced vacuum business and take my elderly and easily-swindled client base") and valuation hearings ("You're so dumb. You failed to account for the downward pull of the Indian rupee on call center profits on the subcontinent, which marginally relieved pressure on the derivative markets, thus increasing Americans grain consumption, which caused your financial analyst to grow a fraction of inch and so to misjudge his entry into his luxury sedan so that he hit his head and consequently performed faulty math later that morning when he was adding up how much the shoehorn business you sold me was actually worth. You dishonest wench").

One day I sat in on probate proceedings. The courtroom was packed with people wanting to change their parents or change their names. One elderly couple obtained a grade-schooler. Ugh. They just traded walkers, tranquility, and ibuprofen for acne, mood swings, and Lady Gaga. It's a wash. A Hispanic kid changed all three of his names, from three Hispanic names to three gringo names. If I were changing my name completely, I would try to make the whole world happy by changing it to something like Mordecai Abdallah Yoshi Luigi Dundee Bollywood Gonzalez Johnson. My nicknames would be "LaDamien Dexterousshark" and "He Who Clubs Seals." I am an internationalist.