Although this be madness, yet there is method in ‘t. – William Shakespeare, Hamlet
Something is wrong. You’re angry, hurt, depressed and/or anxious. In some area of your life, somebody or somebodies are behaving in a way that affects you badly. You feel betrayed, mistreated. The words “unfair” and “wrong” pound in your head.
You are aggrieved. You yell at your suspected enemies in the shower, or at night when you can’t put your brain to sleep. Maybe you’re drinking a bit more than usual, or ingesting other mind-altering substances. Your skin is wrinkled (the long showers), you are exhausted (lack of sleep and/or overabundance of booze).
Your friends, whose ears and e-mails you have been bending, say you worry too much, you’re becoming obsessed. So now you’re aggrieved at your friends, too.
You should be. They’re wrong. If something is bothering you, it’s real and they should be taking it seriously.
Besides, by spilling your guts to your friends, you’ve instinctively taken the first step toward assembling your facts for a lawsuit–what I’ve previously labeled Making A Record. They are, as you’ll learn, assisting you in compiling facts for your lawsuit, even if they’re not yet aware of it.
Soon you’re going to alter your friends’ attitude and turn them into your support team. But first, let’s talk about you.
What are you thinking about yourself? Thinking you’re helpless? You’re not. You wouldn’t be reading Sidebar if you thought you were. You are actively seeking information, your armor in the upcoming battle.
Thinking that maybe you’d better see a lawyer, a terrifying thought given everything you hear about lawyers?
Yes, you will be seeing a lawyer. But not yet.
On Obsession as a Force for Good.
I’m an enthusiast of obsession. I sniff at people who use the term pejoratively.
Obsession is good.
Obsession is a human dynamic and, if applied properly, a devilishly effective learning tool.
Obsession is a vital drive for writers, painters, scientists, explorers, inventors, and (intelligent) legislators.
My defendants have twice publicly accused me of obsession. I quote from their Answer and Counterclaims filed in response to my complaint against them:
…Plaintiff [that’s me] appeared to become obsessive about her role with regard to the corporation and the building, usually referring to the building as “My Building.”
My reaction? I chuckled. I mean, who doesn’t refer to her residence as “my building?” And I laughed when Named Defendant One repeated this accusation, virtually word-for-word, during his deposition.
For one big thing, their “claim” of “obsession” is not a legal cause of action. For another, it’s a perverse compliment. I mean, when faced with people you know you’ll have to sue, what would you want to be? A flaccid dimwit?
I’m going to demonstrate how to use obsession to compile your case, even before you find a lawyer. Your eventual lawyer may not thank you openly, but she’ll be grateful. Because a lawsuit divides neatly into two areas of expertise, two jobs:
- The Law: province of the lawyer, who went to law school and has practiced its application for years.
- The Story: province of you, the plaintiff, who knows every detail intimately.
There’s no choice between my Defendant’s “diagnosis” and Shakespeare. I’m sticking with the Bard. If obsession be madness, there’s method in it.