Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Akin Gump: A Post Hoc Idea of Reference about Bob Strauss

One evening in 1990 I got on the elevator at my place of employment, the law firm of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, to leave for home at the end of the work day. I was working on the ninth floor of Akin Gump's office at that time.

Another legal assistant was either on the elevator or got on at a lower floor. His name was Peter G. Jacoby.

The elevator stopped at the third floor, and the door opened. Bob Strauss was standing at the elevator door, waiting to get on. He saw me directly in front of him. He froze for a moment, then smiled at me. It seemed like more than a polite smile. He smiled at me the way you would smile at someone you knew, although I had never been introduced to Robert Strauss.

Strauss got on the elevator.

I remember that Peter Jacoby started to talk to Bob Strauss about the election. I vaguely recall that it was election night in 1990; so it would have been Tuesday November 6.

In the year 1990 I was in psychotherapy with Stanley R. Palombo, M.D. I used to see Dr. Palombo on Friday afternoons at 2:00 PM. I remember that in early November 1990 I brought a book to my consult: an autobiography of the pianist, Arthur Rubinstein, titled My Young Years. I remember reading to Dr. Palombo from the book and offering my psychoanalytical insights. Dr. Palombo said: "Put the book down." Psychotherapy is not a book club, after all.

Perhaps my consult with Dr. Palombo -- the one at which I read to him from Arthur Rubenstein's autobiography -- was on Friday November 2, 1990.

It was years later that I read that Robert Strauss's father, Charles Strauss, had been an aspiring concert pianist: that he had emigrated to the United States from Germany to pursue a concert career.

It was at the time I read about Strauss's father for the first time, perhaps in the mid-1990s, after I left Akin Gump, that I thought: "So that explains why Strauss smiled at me the way he did that evening in early November 1990: the night he saw me on the elevator. He must have learned from Malcolm about my session with Dr. Palombo, and my observations about Arthur Rubinstein."

Now I wonder: Is that the way "ideas of reference" work?