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How Sam Sachs Lost His License (A Cautionary Tale)

January 25, 2011

This story is from the annals of University of Chicago mock trial team’s drunken historical lore. It is based on hearsay and multiple iterations. Some people think that it is nothing but a myth, a cautionary story told by parents to frighten teenagers into behaving themselves. Some think it is completely apocryphal, that Sam Sachs never existed in the first place. But I know it is neither myth nor legend, that Sam is neither god nor hero. I am privileged to know the individual involved, and I believe every word of his story

Sam Sachs was a slouched-shouldered, low-key, good-natured guy. He enjoyed a cold beer, he enjoyed watching football. He loved making love to women, but no more than he loved playing video games with his mates. He was on the mock trial team because his friends were. And besides, he liked law about as much as he liked any other academic subject: it was okay.

We who knew him never imagined that he was destined to be almost arrested on the Canadian border.

Sam lost the nose game and was the designated driver when the car full of twenty-year olds made it to the Canadian/US border. The bored-looking (or was he border-looking? Ha!) US border guard indicated that Sam should roll down his window. He shined his flashlight into the car; it was approximately 3 in the morning, and therefore dark. Let’s call the border guard Border Guard Joe.

Border Guard Joe: Let’s see your driver’s license, son.

Sam: Okay, Border Guard Joe. Here it is.

Border Guard Joe: Is that a handle of vodka I see there in the back next to your sleeping friend?

Sam: Yeah. But it isn’t open. So that’s okay?

Border Guard Joe: Oh, you’re twenty-one?

Sam: That’s what it says on my license. Right?

Border Guard Joe: And your name is Chris Conmey?

Sam: Sure.

Border Guard Joe: What’s your birth date?

Sam: Um…. *tries to look at his license in the guard’s hand* It says that on my license too.

Border Guard Joe: You’re slurring your words there a bit, son. Mind popping the trunk?

Sam: Yes, I mind.

Border Guard Joe: Too bad. *Sam reluctantly pops the truck. A pause. Then….*    Holy Mother of Moses!

Sam: Is there a problem, officer?

Border Guard Joe: That’s a ton of pot! I mean, marijuana.   I mean, cannabis.  Not that I- it looks like the guidebook’s picture of marijuana.

Sam: Would you let us go if I gave you some? It’s good stuff; it’s what me and my friends are on right now.

Border Guard Joe: You must be high as a kite if you’re admitting to having smoked pot and trying to bribe me with it.

Sam: That’s probably the alcohol actually.

Border Guard Joe: *Smacks forehead.*

In the end, it turned out that Sam and his friends not only drove into Canada, purchased enough pot for a frat house party, got completely hammered on booze and stoned off the pot and drove back to the border, they were also all underage (the oldest was 20), and all had fake ids (confiscated) with names ranging on them from Sylvia Plath to Joe Brown II. The only thing Sam didn’t get in trouble for was driving without any shoes on. Apparently, it wasn’t illegal in Michigan. Or Canada.

So Sam lost his expensive pot, his handle of cheap vodka and his driver’s license, and he wasn’t allowed to apply for a new one or drive at all for two years. He had to spend his night in a local Canadian jail, and the whole incident was written up on his permanent record.  Whatever that means.   But he gained something far greater: everlasting glory.

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