Another Short Story
By Elaine Carlson

"Are you really married?" Gosh dang, he almost seemed to be barking at us. "Or are you two just shacking up?"

I told him yes, we were married. He seemed to be satisfied when I showed him my health insurance card. My name was on the first line after Insured and Joe's name was on the second line after Sponsor. And Spouse had been entered into the small square just after the place where his name was.

We were at an attorney's office. I almost felt like we had been under a rough cross-examination. But then I know attorneys always want to make sure of the information their clients give them.

I was worried because we didn't have wills. We hadn't taken up sky diving or any other risky activity. I just thought as a simple matter of prudence we should each have a will.

The way I chose legal help wasn't all that systematic. I saw a name following Attorney at Law on a big sign on the side of a building downtown. I mentioned him to someone who has lived here a long time.

"He is good," she said, "He is old school."

I know there can be advantages of going to a young whippersnapper --- which I will define as a newly minted barrister who just took the bar exam and is full of enthusiasm and idealism. But I want an old school guy to prepare our wills.

Our visit went well. He not only wrote up our wills but prepared an Advanced Medical Directive and a Medical Power of Attorney for each of us. By the time we had signed the papers I felt confident we were ready for almost any contingency.

As things were wrapping up and we were about ready to leave he asked why we had decided to go to him.

I told him what that woman told me.

"Old school," he said. "Is that a polite way of saying the newspaper has my obituary on file so they are ready when they get the word?"

"No sir. It means you have experience," I said. "And weren't you in those commercials?"

"My wife told me to say, 'You certainly have done your homework" when anyone brings up that subject."

"But you did, didn't you?"

"I was a model and made a lot of money," he said. "I used it go to law school."

I looked over and saw that Joe was all ready to leave. I could tell me he didn't want me to continue this conversation. So, I will never know why he got tired of being a model and wanted to become an attorney.

But we got our wills done and I know that is what is important.

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