Updated: Apr 7
I spent many of my undergrad evenings hunkered down in the cushy green armchair at the coffee shop “College Drip.”
Sure, it sounds like something you cure with a shot of penicillin, but it served exceptional espresso and was a refuge for the uber-geeky and 90's alternative scene. It’s where I’d pretend to study when I was obsessing over life after graduation.
“Don’t worry,” Eve said. “Seventy percent of college students change their major at some point during college.”
Eve was a whippet-thin barista with a cascade of skull tattoos lacing her arms. She’d worked there since the mid-80s when she quit school to concentrate on her band appropriately named “Downward Mobility.”
“I probably skewed that statistic,” I mumbled. “I’ve changed my major three times.”
“Let me guess,” she hummed. “You wanted to be—”
“—an astronaut,” I finished.
“Don’t laugh,” I said. “I have all the qualifications. My standing height is between 62 and 75 inches and once at Six Flags, I daringly turned upside down on the Spindletop.”
“Okay, that counts," Eve said.
“But NASA only selects nine applicants from a pool of 4,000. The odds weren’t in my favor, so I gave up.”
Eve continued to listen as she picked up empty coffee cups.
“Then I crushed on my parasitology professor. Logically, I believed I could spend the rest of my life studying tapeworms. Until the day he left the room for five minutes and returned with a ‘hot stool’ sample for microscopic examination.”
“Eww." Eve wrinkled her nose.
While another student placed an order, I sat quietly with the folder of letters in my lap. “Congratulations,” they began.
“Here, take a look at this,” I said, handing her one of the letters. I fiddled with the strap of my overalls while she read.
“You’re going to law school?”
“I don’t know,” I sighed.
“What do you mean you don’t know? Why wouldn’t you?”
“Let’s see,” I said, counting the reasons on my fingers. “Crazy expensive. Abysmal job market. Everyone thinks lawyers are evil—”
“—Blonde guys in The Karate Kid,” Eve said. “They’re evil.”
“What if I get there and hate it? Even worse, what if I pile up all that debt and suck as a lawyer?” I banged the letters against my head. “I’m not even old enough to drink! How am I supposed to make this decision?”
“Listen,” Eve said, “Don’t stress. It’ll come to you. Now get out of here before you start sprouting roots. And eat something!”
I reluctantly took Eve’s advice and went next door for Chinese.
The small restaurant was quiet – just a few students and a girl studying behind the counter. The smell was incredible, though, and my stomach sprang to life.
After finishing my Mu Shu Pork, I reached for the crunchy golden fortune cookie on the table. I tore open the plastic wrapping and broke the cookie in two, eating the first bit while staring blankly at the water dripping from my ice tea glass. I pulled out the thin, white sheet of paper.
“YOU WOULD MAKE A GOOD LAWYER.”
I kept that fortune in my wallet for years.
No, it wasn’t the reason I chose to go to law school. But, I did keep it close. Occasionally, when I had a bad day, I’d take that fortune out – notwithstanding my excellent education and highly polished rationalism.
Unfortunately, I “put it somewhere safe” and lost it.
But I’m not worried. It’ll turn up again.
If I ever need it.