WHAT MY GRANDFATHER TOLD ME ABOUT OFFICES 
Tuesday, November 21, 2017, 09:39 PM
Posted by Administrator
My sister, Joanne, who is older, pointed something out to me a few weeks ago. We loved our mother's father, Ben Becker. We didn't like our father's father, Ben Duhl. On the other hand, we can't remember anything our mother's father said but we quote our father's father all the time.

Our father's father was gruff and unpleasant. He had been divorced from our grandmother soon after WWII and divorce was very unusual at the time. Before the divorce, he had become a vegetarian....just to spite my grandmother, Rose? He was bitter that he had brought Rose, over from Poland and that she had talked him into paying for her sisters to come here, too, ...and he was not any less bitter knowing that he had saved them from he holocaust. He was bitter because my uncle Joe (the best of the four brothers...my father was, maybe, second best...or was it Lou?) had died in the North Atlantic when the ferry the Army was using to transport soldiers to Europe was torpedoed. He was bitter because my uncle Seymore (who I suspect, but never confirmed, was in the front lines of WWII, getting shot at every day) had mental problems when he came back. He was bitter that he worked through the Great Depression as a credit manager....probably in a small, dusty office cluttered with papers and phones and electro-mechanical adding machines. Likely, he was bitter that he never progressed beyond being a credit manager and likely he blamed it on his being a Jew.

We didn't see Ben Duhl much, but he did come by from time to time to yell at me for not cleaning the aquarium he bought for me (he loved fish...I didn't) while he cleaned the glass with a razor blade and to annoy our mother who had to make him an omelet for dinner because, in the 1960's that was the only vegetarian dish people knew.

Nevertheless/on the other hand,for the past forty-some-odd years and to this day, I will frequently tell people: "My grandfather-who-died-at-93-smoking-a-pack-of-cigarettes-every-day told me two things:
1) Don't work in an office.
2) Wear sunglasses or you'll get cataracts early."

Though it is a bit off the subject of this entry (Subject: Why I don't like being in an office), I feel a need to mention that the reason for his longevity was probably this: Near his end, he lived in Lefrak City which is (was?) a low-rent high rise in Queens, near Manhattan. Every day, he would get up, take the elevator down, walk to the subway, take the subway to Manhattan and spend the day walking around Manhattan. Between the vegetarianism and the Manhattan-walking, the man probably weighed 90 pounds. Given all of his walking, frankly I'm surprised he didn't make it past 100.


So, perhaps due to genetics (though, likely, not) I am office adverse. My father (who was "in retail") didn't work in an office....his father did but hated it so much that he drilled into me not to do it...and I never liked it much. There are walls...not many windows....it is the same day-after-day and it remains in the same location. Courtrooms: Okay. The hallway next to the courtroom: Okay. The coffee shop down the block: OKay. The room in my house where I actually do paperwork:Okay. But, an office where I sit all day in a high backed chair that can be forced to spin around meeting with clients whose chairs don't spin around and at noon I go out to lunch at a nearby place where I know the waitress for the past 20 years and she knows that I like lettuce on my sandwich: No! I have done enough of that.

The great thing about not having an office is that I don't have a rent expense, a second internet/phone expense, a commuting-to-the-office expense, a decorating expense and I can (and do) pass the savings along to clients.

(Okay, I really do have an office. It is on 10th Ave. North.........but, out of respect for my father's father please don't make me go there. Outside seating at Panera at CityPlace or on Southern near HomeGoods...now that is where the business of law should get done.)

(Also, I really do need to buy sunglasses.)



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