Several weeks ago, I happened upon a highly respected attorney while walking the hallowed halls of the New York County Supreme Court building on Centre Street. After our initial salutary exchange, I commented on his particularly "perky" demeanor.
"Hey, it's Monday morning, why are you so elated?" I inquired.My colleague then proceeded to inform me of his "secret weapon," an instrumentality that he invoked whenever he required "professional assistance." It was at this point that the tenor of the conversation really started to take a strange turn.
"Another victory!" He proclaimed. "A friend of mine came through for me, once again."
"Well, that's great." I replied somewhat bemusedly. "Is this 'friend' someone I know?"
"Promise you won't tell?" He asked.
"Well, it all depends." I equivocated. "Is what you're going to tell me, 'kosher?'"
"Not literally. But, allow me to explain ...."
"Look, Lucas, this is someone you should know. I used to despise practicing law. It literally made me ill." He continued, "When I woke up in the mornings, I would get these intense stomach pains. It was awful. I couldn't eat solids and my liquid intake was limited to lukewarm water. I was examined by doctors and all sorts of specialists and they all said there was nothing they could do for me."With that, I glanced at my wristwatch, told my friend that I had a pressing appointment, and quickly exited the courthouse.
"Nothing?" I asked.
"Well, I tried tranquilizers, but they didn't help. I kept getting these quizzical looks from judges and adversaries. People were suspecting that I was 'on' something. I couldn't focus on my work and was getting depressed. It was a vicious cycle. I'd lost hope. But then, I found...'Ivo.'"
"Ivo?" I repeated with disbelief.
"...of Kermartin," he continued. "The guardian of all lawyers, advocates, judges, and notaries."
"Oh, how nice." I remarked incredulously. "And, how did you make 'Ivo's' acquaintance?"
"I read about him."
"In a Stephen King novel, right?" As the theme of the "Twilight Zone" played in the back of my mind, I continued, "Next you're going to tell me that you have had several out-of-body experiences, that you've danced with gargoyles, and, that you've had a bubble-bath with Martians somewhere in the Andes Mountains, right?"
"Wrong!" He snidely snapped. "You obviously don't have an open mind."
"Listen," I countered, "what do you want from me? I have been standing here for the last few minutes and I haven't heard a credible word out of you, yet! Who is this 'Ivo' guy?"
"Ivo of Kermartin is no 'guy.' He's a dead attorney; the patron saint of lawyers. He'll help you. Just open your heart to him."
I must confess that I found my colleague's penchant for calling upon a dead attorney quite intriguing. These days, those of us practitioners who are "alive and well" are having enough trouble eking out a living, the last thing we need is a deceased counselor-at-law invading the market and mucking up our court system.
Concerned with the havoc 'Ivo' could wreak, I quickly performed some investigative research. Not surprisingly, there is relatively little information readily available on Ivo of Kermartin. I was able to uncover that he lived during the years 1253-1303, studied in France, practiced law in Brittany, and was canonized in 1347. The Oxford Dictionary of Saints also offered the following additional information:
[He] would never accept the presents of bribes which had become so customary as to be regarded as a lawyer's perquisite. He always strove if possible to reconcile people who were at enmity, and to introduce them to settle their quarrels out of court. In this manner he prevented many of those who came to him from embarking on costly and unnecessary lawsuits.No fee? A "settler?" For that alone, Ivo deserved canonization.
This saintly investigation, led to some other interesting revelations. Basically, there's a heavenly patron for everything and everyone. As I reviewed the literature, I found saints for accountants (Matthew), beggars (Alexius, Martin of Tours, Benedict Labre), builders (Vincent Ferrer), cabbies (Fiacre), and cooks (Laurence, Martha). There are even celestial guardians for healthy dogs (Hubert) and mad dogs (Sithney). It was this latter gentleman that piqued my curiosity. According to my research, Sithney is attributed with having said, "I'd rather have mad dogs than women any day."
Lucky for Sithney he's long gone. For in today's world, and in our turbulent political climate, even a "saint" couldn't get away with an observation like that unscathed.