Tuesday, September 22, 2009

This text book is based on true events ...

Page 284 of my property law book is similar to others in the book. There is a lot of text and a lot of orange (apparently the highlighter of choice of its former owner). There are dry rules, condensed cases and then there are problems to work out. Most of them sound something like this:

If A and B are joint tenants and B wants to pass on his claim in the property to his heirs but A ... blah .. blah ... and then you fall asleep sometime before you get to the end and hope the professor goes over that particular question in class before the midterm.

So it was a bit of a shock to find this at the bottom of what seemed like it should have been very harmless page 284:

Suppose that A and B are killed while riding in a car struck by a train. When witnesses arrive, there are no signs of life in A; B is decapitated and blood is gushing from her neck in spurts. Does B survive A?


WHAT?!!! I'm sorry -- but there is BLOOD gushing out in SPURTS in this scene and we're concerned about their property rights?!!! Shouldn't we call the authorities? And why is the decapitated person a "she." Why can't we just leave B an "it." We've never ascribed gender or hair color or hobbies or anything else that makes me want to connect with these fake scenario characters so why start now??? Especially if you're just going to kill them off as soon as I become attached? In any case, does the actual spurting of the blood make any difference in this scenario? Is there a legal principle I'm missing here? Maybe if it was only oozing it would change who gets the property. Maybe the spurting is an important legal fact in a property case. Or then again, MAYBE NOT!!! Why couldn't they just have worded the question: A and B die at the same time, who's heirs get the property? Why do I have to know B was decapitated??

It doesn't help that the BYU bells chime oh so sadly "Come, Come Ye Saints" in a minor key as I walk to get lunch. This is the hymn that has the words "And should we die before our journey's through ... happy day! All is well!!" Yes. Let's enthuse students as they walk to class by celebrating death. Law school's hard enough without being reminded the only reason my educational institution exists is because exiled citizens of our nation were willing to bury their children in frozen prairie wastelands with broken spoons to further the cause of their misunderstood religion. I'm going to petition they start chiming "Popcorn Popping on the Apricot Tree" or "There is Sunshine in My Soul." Better yet, maybe they could just chime tones to let us know the time like normal clocks. Sigh. I'm not bitter. Just confused.


Miranda said...

When my dad was at BYU attending the law school, he was walking by the carillon one day when a student was going up to play. Curious, my dad asked him if he could come up too because he wanted to know what was up there. The guy let him up and showed him the apparatus. Apparently, it's like a piano, but where the keys usually are there are bars that you pull on.

The guy started to play some hymns while my dad watched. After a while, the student asked my dad if he wanted to play. My dad started to play around with some hymns. The guy said he was hungry and would my dad mind playing a few hymns while he went and grabbed lunch. So my dad continued to play for a while before he got bored with the hymns. So he started to play the intro to "Come On Baby Light My Fire" by the Doors. The guy comes back in and asks what that last song was. My dad mumbles "Nothing" and runs out.

A few years later, my dad went back to visit the campus and hears some guys talking of the urban legend about the time someone played a rock song on the carillon.

True story.

Anonymous said...

That is the most disturbing text book ever. Run while you still have a semblance of sanity!

Emma said...

B survived A, if the death is simultaneous, it is supposed the woman always survives the man. A little something I picked up during my days as a paralegal.

Miranda said...

By the way, I think the reason that they state that person B is still spurting blood is because that would mean the heart is still beating, meaning that there is at least one sign of life in person B.

Michael and Julie said...

oh my gosh! i am laughing so hard right now! do i have no heart? should i be crying? or in shock of this tragic story/example of legal law? shhh...don't tell me. i'll leave it at the fact that i definitely shouldn't become a lawyer.

Erin said...

As far as I'm concerned, death is a normative value judgment, Your Honor. The fact that my clients, A's heirs are haunted by A is a clear indication that my client outlived B who apparently died from blood loss at the scene of the accident and hasn't been heard from since.

Take that, common law.

Phil said...


Sounds like you are loving and hating your experience here at school. Welcome to the Y! I haven't seen you or your husband around, but then again, I don't hang out at the Law School ever.

I'm glad you get to update your blog though. Either I don't prioritize right or just don't care enough about my blog to update it enough during the semester. But if you want to follow mine you can go to http://www.blogger.com/follow-blog.g?blogID=2915195033762167479
Good luck this semester!


Brooke said...

Miranda -- That is the most AWESOME story I've ever heard!! Now every time I hear the bells I want them to break out into Greenday or something.

Emma and Erin -- You are both brilliant. I think I might propose both of those options at my next study group and see what response I get.

jdust said...

oh my. Wow. When I read at the begining that you were reading a property law book, I thought, "Oh- how dull." Then I read your story problem and sturggled to stop laughing. I suppose even the text book writers got a little bored and decided to spice it up a bit to keep the reader awake. How funny. I love your wit, Brooke.