During the 1970s, when I was in high school and then college, there were three popular family singing groups in America: the Partridge Family, the Osmonds, and the Jackson Five. The Partridge Family had a weekly TV show that aired from 1970 to 1974, and two of the Osmond siblings, Donny and Marie, had a weekly TV show that aired from 1976 to 1979. Both shows provided clean, wholesome family entertainment.
One of the villains in the Marvel Comics universe is Venom, an alien organism that seeks out a host and attaches itself to whatever person is closest to it. Venom starts out as a black, tar-like substance that adheres to and then quickly spreads and covers the head and body of the person it has targeted. When Venom has completely enveloped the head and body of the person, it looks like the person is wearing a tight, black, form-fitting, slimy rubber suit.
The year was 1970. I was in the eighth grade at St. Mark’s school in Peoria. I remember the day like it was yesterday. One of my classmates — I’ll call him Paul — brought a Polaroid picture to school to show to his friends. Paul and I were the same age — 13 years old. The person in the picture was the girlfriend of Paul’s older brother. She and Paul’s brother were in high school. She was a student at Academy of Our Lady and Paul’s brother was a student at Spalding Institute.
Last week, I ran into an old client at the Peoria County Courthouse. For the purpose of this article, I’m going to call him Noah. I represented Noah more than 20 years ago for some serious alcohol-related traffic ticket violations. During the last case that I assisted him with, I told him that it was obvious to everyone who knew him that he had a problem with alcohol. He became angry with me and refused to admit that he had an alcohol problem. After that, he continued to get into trouble with the law, but stopped coming to me for assistance.
After I started practicing law in January 1983, one of the things that I did on a regular basis was go to the courthouse and watch other lawyers try cases in front of juries. Because I started my law practice from scratch, during the first several months I had extra time on my hands to observe other lawyers in action.