courtroom.jpgPerhaps it was being at the memorial service (with 500 others) of a friend’s mom today that made me reflect on my own 53 years to date.

Or, perhaps it was being “un-linked” on Linkedin a week ago by a federal regulatory official who felt that linking with me “might send the wrong message” – to whom, I am not quite sure.

Or, perhaps in was the angst in the voice of a player in the beef industry today who wanted to invite me to speak at an industry convention to the same companies that I have made much of my living off of.

Or, perhaps it was being asked by the American Bar Association to speak on food safety at a food safety conference only to be disinvited when the sponsor complained that I had sued one of its divisions – 14 years ago.

In nearly two decades of suing, for the most part, multi-million dollar companies, that for the most part, poison little kids, I have made few friends. True, many of the companies that I have sued, and at times bankrupted, honestly evoke little sympathy (at least by me). However, my strong suspicion is that those CEO’s that took shortcuts in food safety are still invited to attend conventions, and may well have many more mourners at their memorials.

Even erstwhile “friends” in consumer advocacy, academia or public health are happy to solicit and take money from me, so long as they can mask my involvement – “for appearances, you understand.”

Someone with a smaller ego might well feel wounded.

Someone without a sense of purpose might become sidetracked.

Fortunately, my ego is only slightly less secure than expansive sense of knowing why I do what I do. So, go ahead, “unlink” me, invite me or not, take the donation and use it well and pretend that the money fell from the sky. It really is OK.

It is OK, because I love what I do. I am honored to help those who have been stricken by the food that they thought was safe. I am happy to help try and give them something of theirs or their child’s life back, and to give them some level of peace that the future will be better. That is my primary mission.

I am also proud of the time I have spent in 20 years traveling the world explaining to industries I sue, “why it is a bad idea to poison your customers,” or to do things right and “put me out of business, please.”

It is sometimes lonely being a Lawyer.