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The Hiatus

  • Josh Carden Home-School Grad and Law Student
  • Published Jan 03, 2003
The Hiatus

Hiatus: Obscure English word meaning "lengthy apology and list of excuses why Josh Carden hasn't written more columns in, oh, say, the last 12 months or so."


You know, according the laws of some states (I forget which ones), I could probably be declared legally dead for the amount of time I've been absent from this column. But as the author Mark Twain once remarked: "Rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated." And to my brother Jason, who is sure to ask, I say: you don't get to inherit my pogo stick.


I could waste your time explaining how the federal government tapped me for a top secret assignment in Mongolia, or how Chief Justice Rhenquist asked me to sit down and explain "this pesky First Amendment thing" over the course of the last year, or how President Bush asked me to head a new Humor Columns Agency (HCA for short) ... but that's really on a "need-to-know" basis, and I don't think you're cleared for that yet.   


So instead, I'll do a quick catch up on my life since last I wrote, share a quick plane story (of course), and end with my Top Ten New Year's Resolutions:


Part I: Where I've Been


1. I graduated from Regent University Law School in May 2002;

2. I got hired by the Alliance Defense Fund in Scottsdale, AZ in May 2002;

3. I moved to Scottsdale, Arizona in May 2002;

4. I took two bar exam review courses in summer 2002;

5. I took the Arizona bar exam in July 2002;

6. I took a nap in August, September, October and a good part of November;

7. I found out that I passed the bar in October 2002 (after a brief Snoopy dance, I went back to sleep immediately. Yes, I did call and tell my mother);

8. I added New York and Minnesota to my list of "states I've visited" in November 2002. They're cold. Really cold.

9. I turned 28 in December 2002.

10. I began this column in December 2002.


So now you're pretty much caught up. 


Oh, if you're interested, feel free to keep up with me and the rest of my "Merry Band of Litigators" at our organization's website. When I first heard about ADF (as Alliance Defense Fund is commonly known), I decided to visit their website.


Knowing that they were non-profit, I typed in  I knew I had made a dreadful mistake when the opening line of the web page read: "ADF was founded on the principle of open and free NeoPagan worship."  Sure enough a Druid Fellowship had beaten the Alliance Defense Fund to the proverbial world-wide-punch. 


All that to say: To find OUR website, go to (Our Official Weblink Motto: "It's long, it's confusing, but it's not NeoPagan.")


Part II: The part in which we find that humorous things DO still happen to Josh, especially in airports.


Among other things, Sept. 11, 2001 changed a lot about flying. (Okay, you knew a plane story was going to figure in here somewhere!) When I was returning from my job interview with the Alliance Defense Fund back in January, I was just beginning my new airport security poll. I have been alternating between a) shaving and dressing up and b) going in jeans and t-shirt and two-day beard shadow. 


So far, if I go as the former, I don't get searched. If I go as the latter, I might as well take my shoes off as soon as I get to the gate (Note: obviously, I still have it way better than my Italian former roommate who was asked if he was Arab last time he went through security. He looks as much like an Arab as I look like Josh Harris). 


Anyway, I digress. Because of the new security measures, we are now encouraged to get to the airport two hours in advance so that we can spend EXTRA time waiting at the gate with all the other passengers. Maybe their theory is that terrorists don't get up that early. 


So I found myself at the Phoenix airport at 5:30 in the morning. I had two bags: my trusty computer bag and my little roller bag carry-on. I'm sitting at an empty gate across from my real gate, because I was not very awake and feared that someone would attempt to strike up a conversation and find that I'm not nearly as pleasant as I might appear at 5:30 in the morning. 


The part of me that is always awake (my stomach) suddenly decided that we needed a bag of trail mix. The nearest little trail-mix store (as providence had ordained it) was right next door, just around the gate wall. 


Since I was all alone at my gate, I decided to carry my computer case and leave my roller bag under my seat, so that I would have a free hand to pay with.  Great logic for 5:30 a.m. I walk to the trail-mix store (ok, they sold other stuff, but I was really focused), buy trail-mix, walk back. Elapsed time: 25 seconds, max. 


As I near my seat, and my bag, I hear an urgent whispered voice from the hallway. It took a second to sink in:  "He's coming back."  No big deal. The voice continued: "He's wearing a black, leather jacket..." Part of my brain started to wake up: Hey, I'm wearing a black, leather jacket...  "He's wearing a blue shirt...." Uh oh, two for two...I do a quick scan of the hallway, looking without appearing I'm looking. 


Sure enough I see a middle-aged woman who looked as if she spent a great deal of time protesting something or other. I dunno why I thought that, she just had that look. She's got her hand cupped to the mouthpiece of a white security phone and is eyeing me for all she's worth. Probably trying to imagine what I'd look like with a foot-long beard and a turban. 


I decide it's time to be social so I grab my bags and head toward the gate. Her voice gets even more urgent: "He's going toward the gate - He's getting on a plane!" I sit down at the gate and manage to unobtrusively notice that she is peeking around the corner and still eyeing me.  


Suddenly I was seized with a great urge to read the text of the Uniform Commercial Code, which awaited me in all its legal glory at the bottom of my threatening little black bag. To reach this volume, of course, necessitated my opening up the bag, and unloading all of the contents of my bag in full view of all the passengers at the gate, especially the middle aged women standing near the security phones.


A few minutes (or it could have been several hours) later, we boarded the plane and took off. While I was thankful NOT to have been hauled away to the security office to be sniffed by large German shepherds and wanded like Cinderalla on a bad-hair day, I have often wondered why I wasn't. Perhaps the lady called them off after she saw my non-threatening collection of law books and clean socks.  That's my newest plane story.


Part III: C'mon get to the funny stuff.


And now finally, my Top Ten New Year's Resolutions:

10. Answer emails from broken-hearted fans pining for more Internet columns; 

9.  Hold off on buying any Lord of the Rings DVDs until the "whole set comes out";

8.   Continue VP running mate search for 2024 Presidential elections;

7.   File the case "Godzilla v. Mothra" in federal district court;

6.   Complete secret plan to eliminate Barry Manilow music from these shores;

5.  Finish work on Mike Farris action figure;

4.   Keep up with my 27th pair of sunglasses;

3.   Celebrate another year where I didn't need to know higher math;

2.   Rewrite Al Gore's new book in iambic pentameter;


And my number one New Year's resolution is:

1.   Two words: no Ramen!


I'm BAAAAaaack!  Happy New Year!