The folks at Goodreads.com asked me to answer the following question: What mystery in your own life could be a plot for a book?
I mulled that over for awhile. After all, the life of a trial lawyer is a life of dealing with small and big mysteries in every case. Indeed, like any good detective story, the key to a satisfactory resolution of a lawsuit is to figure out, and then explain to the jury, the main character’s motivations. But rummaging through my old lawsuits seemed an unfair way to seek an answer to the Goodreads question. After all, even we trial lawyers need to deal with the reality that exists outside the courtroom.
And thus, after much thought, I came up with the following answer:
As a trial attorney by day, I get forced to try to solve mysteries in every case, but picking one of those feels like picking one of the low hanging fruits of mysteries.
The deeper, more intriguing, and often more rewarding mysteries are how each of us got to where we are. My marriage is a perfect example. My wife Margi is the child of two Holocaust survivors from Eastern Europe. They both somehow survived the concentration camps (unlike many in their families and millions of others) and, through a convoluted sequence of post-WWII events, ended up in St. Louis, where someone fixed them up on a blind date. (They had never met before.) They fell in love, got married, and had two little girls, Margi and her little sister Bobbie. I met Margi in high school, promptly fell madly in love, and we were married the summer after her college education.
Now step back and pretend that you are a Las Vegas odds maker. What are the odds that Margi’s parents would both have survived the camps, much less both moved to St. Louis, much less met and got married, much less had a little girl named Margi, much less sent her to the same high school as me? While those odds seem so astronomical as to qualify as a mystery for the ages, I guarantee that if you trace your own life back a few generations your odds will qualify as well.