BOSTON. It’s a Tuesday night and Sara Phrentzi has been by herself all day and is understandably eager for human contact. Unfortunately, she’s married to family lawyer Phil Phrentzi, for whom human contact doesn’t come easily.
“When he comes home he doesn’t want to talk about work because it’s so unpleasant,” she says. “And he has to bill so many hours he doesn’t have time to develop any outside interests. So we sit here and stare at each other every night until he falls asleep.”
“I met Marianne at the mall for lunch and she . . . you’re not listening.”
But Sara has a new trick up her sleeve; “Lawyer Nip,” a relative of Nepeta cataria, the herbaceous perennial that makes cats frisky and playful. Tonight she’s added some of the mint family member’s leaves to the mixed greens in her husband’s salad, and by the time he’s finished dessert he’s rolling on the floor, a tiny plastic gavel in his hands as he recounts that afternoon’s oral argument before a probate and family court judge.
” . . . and then he awarded exclusive custody to the father!”
Lawyer Nip is not yet available over-the-counter, but successful clinical trials have persuaded the federal Food and Drug Administration to approve it for prescription use in those cases where a lawyer fails to respond to external stimuli or express emotions for an extended period of time. “There are over one million lawyers in America,” says Dr. Morton Glaum of drug manufacturer Sflozer AG, which has commercialized the drug in capsule and tablet form. “Thankfully, most of them fall within that diagnosis.”
“I LOVE it when people fight about money!”
As with any experimental treatment there are side effects, and a laundry list of warnings in tiny print on the package is both a caution to the lawyers who try the drug and emblematic of their profession’s cautionary role in the roll-out of any pharmaceutical product. “Do NOT take Lawyer Nip before appearing in court or at an important business meeting,” the label advises users. “Rolling in Lawyer Nip on the floor may appear undignified in some professional settings.”