Watch Your Ass, Lateral!

Matthew Richardson Columns, Lawyer 23 Comments

I am a creature of habit. At 3 p.m. everyday, I stroll to the bathroom with a hardcopy of The Sports Guy’s latest ESPN column and prepare for the best 20 minutes of my day. I’ve been doing this since I started in BigLaw, and nothing gets in my way. Nothing.

Recently, I headed down the hall for my 3 p.m. “meeting” on what was a particularly brutal day in BigLaw.  All I wanted was 20 minutes of peace and quiet. No emails, no phones, nothing but me and my thoughts.

Favorite stall? Check.

Reading material? Check.

Toilet paper? Double check.

Seat covers? Missing.

I checked the stall next to me. Again, no seat covers. Ditto for the No. 3 stall, which is reserved for degenerates with poor aim.

I need the seat covers. I won’t sit without them. Call me a wimp, if you like. I don’t care. The buffering is critical. Because there’s no way I’m putting my bare ass where gnarly paralegals sit.

As I thought about some Spanish curse words to hurl at the janitor, I tried to make do by fashioning a seat cover from TP. No luck. Years in BigLaw have ruined my ass, and I seem to make some sort of wind tunnel as I sit, knocking the thin paper off the seat before contact.

After that unsatisfactory experience, I returned to my office and called my buddy Jason, who I regularly bitch to about our unsavory working conditions.

Me: You’re not gonna believe this.

Jason: Let me guess, no seat covers, right?

Me: Not a cool prank, man. You know I need my covers.

Jason: I know who it is.

Me: So tell me so I can rip his eyeballs out with a staple remover.

Jason: I know you’re gonna make it a thing and turn everyone against him.

Me: Me? Come on, that’s absurd.

Jason: Okay, well, Stanley must have some sort of OCD, because I saw him take all the seat covers from all three stalls and use them.

Me: That’s like 80 seat covers! Why would he do that?

Jason: I don’t know. The only explanation I can come up with is that he’s a lateral.

You see, to the naked eye, a lateral looks and talks just like a regular associate. But upon further inspection, there is always some telltale sign that gives away his freak flag.

Here are the signs I’ve come across during the course of my career:

1) Laterals attend all firm functions. All of them. Asian American Legal Defense Fund. He’s there. Gay and Lesbian Lawyers (I don’t the acronym—GALL?). Present. Militant Black Lawyers. Yup.

2) Laterals always have a weird catchphrase like “Hey stretch” or “Let the good times roll” that he never uses at the appropriate time.

Me: How’s that credit agreement markup coming along?

Lateral: Let the good times roll, stretch.


3) Lateral have girlfriends or wive,s but they are never seen or heard from. I can’t verify that this is 100 percent true, but it seems like laterals are forever dating someone from the Niagara Falls region.

It seems now I’ll have to add “Laterals steal bathroom seat covers” to the list.

For the record, I had nothing against Stanley prior to this ridiculous act of hoarding. He seemed like a normal dude, but then that was before his office was moved to my floor and I found out about his toilet seat cover fetish.

Last year, (when it was still an option) Stanley lateralled to my firm from another top firm. He had claimed that he “wasn’t getting the good deals.” And in my book, that’s code for incompetent social leper.

I don’t care what people say, laterals are freaks. That’s why they are forced to lateral. It’s like a McDonalds manager “lateralling” over to Burger King and telling his new cohorts he was looking for a different work experience. Come on, people! They lateral because they can’t do the work and nobody can stand to work with them. Period.

Other than exploiting their fear of speaking up by offloading work on them that is even shittier than what they claimed to be getting at their old firm (“Hey, Stanley, Partner just told me I need to focus on the Casino deal, so he’s gonna want you to take over that pencil company merger.”), I avoid Laterals like the plague.

A newly confirmed social leper like Stanley is the lowest kind of lateral. There is no worse sin than for one man to make another man feel uncomfortable in the bathroom. The bathroom is supposed to be the one safe haven from the office and the cruel streets below. When I sit down to read Bill Simmons, I want serenity. That’s my time. And guy code dictates that you respect that.

So I did what I do best—passive aggressive confrontation. If I could catch Stanley in the act, I reasoned, he might shape up.

I changed up the times of my “meetings” so that I could be an eyewitness to Stanley’s perverse ritual. Two days went by, and I somehow managed to miss him. I tried to have Jason monitor the situation, but he didn’t seem as enraged about this miscreant as I was. Finally, day three came, and the eagle landed.

I strolled right in ahead of Stanley so I could observe and report. I did a fake hand wash as he strolled into stall No. 1, my favorite. What I saw next could only be described as unholy. He actually opened the door, armed with all the seat covers and entered stall No. 2. 

I tried to make him cognizant of his freakishness by giving him a “What’s up, buddy?” But he just gave me a nod and went about his business.

Do bank robbers nod at the guard right before they go up to the teller?

I swear on all of my illegitimate children that he proceeded to do the same thing in stall No. 2 before taking the throne in stall No. 3. I listened to double check, and he did, in fact, use all the seat covers.  All at the same time.

Never once did he modify his behavior because of my presence.

“What do you think you’re doing, lateral?” I thought about asking through the door.

But it’s not like you can really do that. Again—guy code. So, I did the only thing I could.  I found a vacant computer terminal and drafted the following memo:

Attn: Lateral Freak

Re: Your Violation of Guy Code

We know who you are. If you persist in using more than one toilet seat cover per bathroom visit, we will pack your office with so many seat covers that you won’t be able to move.

You don’t want that kind of story following you around as you lateral your way through BigLaw. And in this economy, you’ll be stuck here, the butt off a never-ending barrage of pranks, for a very long time.

End it here and all will be forgiven.


Bathroom Management

I fixed that “memo” to every stall door and toilet seat dispenser on my floor, and it worked. I made a note to tell my legal writing instructor, who said I lacked the ability to write persuasively, about my victory.

Jason said he’s since noticed Stanley coming out of the 20th-floor handicapped bathrooms near the conference rooms twice in the last week, and there have been rumors of an HR investigation.  By reputation alone, I assume I’m their lead suspect.  But I’m not worried. I hooked up with an HR chick last year. I never called her back, but I know her well enough to know that talking to me about my standing 3 p.m. meeting would just be too awkward.

Matthew Richardson is mergers & acquisitions by day, Unethical & Amoral by moonlight.

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  • BL1Y

    Something in this story doesn’t add up.  Wouldn’t that many seat covers end up clogging the toilet?

  • Bill Dugan

    I would have used one of those seat covers to wipe my ass, then affixed said soiled seat cushion to the chair of this douche bag.  Then I would have left a message with the managing partner that this guy has a toilet fetish.

  • Bill Dugan

    Oh, and I would have recommending boning the HR chick again to find out whether there was any “inside scoop” with this guy.

  • Alma Federer

    I have a bigger problem with men.  They don’t wash their hands when they come out of the toilet.  I do not wish to work with men with bad sanitary habits.

  • Ex BL Ass.

    dude, toilet paper is a way better seat cover than those awful, micro-thin, prefab things that inevitably tear apart when you’re trying to remove the middle. if your firm supplies weak-ass paper, double it up. it’s far more flexible and covers more of the seat as well. i’ve been using TP as a seat cover for my daily ritual forever, and it works like a charm. the only problem is when you have toilets with touchy electric eyes that keep flushing every time you bend over to add another layer to your sanitary temple. in those situations, i just dump in the sink.

  • Anonymous

    Who said he flushed them?

  • Alex Hump

    I would hope he flushed them; then again, as a lateral, who knows, maybe he put them in his pocket and brought them with him to the next place he needed to dump that day.  As long as there was no tell-tale shit stains on them, they probably could be reused.

  • SA

    I don’t understand men’s bathroom rituals.  If you have to poop, just poop.  It takes 3 minutes, tops.  The thought of sitting in the bathroom for 20 minutes listening (and smelling) a bunch of dudes poop and pee is just gay, in my opinion.

  • Ellen Jonas

    I can also hardly stand to be in the crapper long enough to crap, let alone and watch a procession of other women come in, scratch themselves, and shit their brains out.  The variety of odours is hardly that of a fine restaurant, though the smells were likely sourced from many such restaurants the nite before.  I can’t even imagine the stench that eminates out of the men’s rooms!  20 minutes reading ESPN—wow.

  • BL1Y

    Alma=Failed Bigotry Troll?

  • Anonymous

    Nice attempt at being Tucker Max, tough guy.  I love how this site is full of writers and commentators trying to actualize their alter-egos by writing about things that clearly never happened.  Baaaahhh baaaahhhh baahhhhhh

  • Wilbur Moore

    Anonomous, you should be renamed “dickless” with a small “d”.  All we are doing is providing our opinions here on matters of interest.  We have a bond, and that is we are all generally in the same boat, slogging through a variety of shit at work, meeting hideous woman masquerading as babes and expecting the moon while delivering next to squat in the bedroom.  You, on the other hand, are sitting back there at your $600 p.c. thinking you are smug and smart and above us all.  Well you’re not, dipshit!  So go take one of those seat protectors, and wear it around your neck when you go to the bar.  You’ll get some more attention that way.

  • Jonnie

    agree. you have to have seat covers – crucial.

  • miserable associate

    “Anonymous”- you’re a fool who has no business reading these articles apparently. This story, even if not totally true, is something we men can all relate to. I don’t think this guy sounds like Tucker Max at all. Tucker Max is a douche. Richardson- keep up the good work, we need these stories to get us through our day. In fact I read this story today on the bowl while sitting on TP, I’m not a seat cover guy.

  • Lady lawyer

    Did you Momma always put TP on the seat before you sat your little behind down?

  • Newman

    I would tell Stanley that he emits a foul and unpleasant odor.

  • Anonymous

    I enjoy reading the sports page in the shitter free of interferences from my secretary or boss.  Occasionally others come into the crapper, and I have to refrain from rattling the pages, but that’s about it.  There is nothing better than emptying out while keeping up with the basketball playoffs.  In my own world, I can “dunk” with the best of them.  I have the decency to leave the paper in the stall, for other readers.

  • No-L

    Matt Richardson is Jack-O’s alter ego, admit it.  He’s shilling for Bill.  (Seriously, the Sports Guy columns are fantastic reading for the crapper, but I’m surprised he can get through one in 20 minutes, it can take me 30 – 40 sometimes.  Personally, I use the BB for my bathroom reading so people can’t see me carrying anything in there).
    @ Ellen, nice use of the word “source” in relation to shit, very snarky.

  • Dexter

    I now think about this every time I enter to restroom at work and have been converted to be a cover the seat kind of guy.

  • Dick Head

    I used to get pimples on my ass until I started to use these seat protectors.  I have taken a few of these out of the toilet and written “LIFE SAVER AWARD” on them, and given them to the associates that suck up the most.

  • Bad Ass Lateral

    You are such a little girl and are probably the very type of associate that I was recruited (yes, as a lateral) to supervise because of the need for some of you to grow up.  Is your ass really that delicate?  Are you really even a dude?  Seriously, lack of shitter covers going to set you off like this? 
    Grow a pair and grow up.

  • blt

    I hated seat covers until I finally saw the light. The wind tunnel is right – how are these papers so delicate they can’t stay in place for the 1 second it takes to sit on them!

    I’d crush this lateral if he did that at my firm!

  • ton

    And I second the notion that Anonymous is a loser. As if there is only one misanthropic bitter lawyer for all the thousands of us out there.