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I woke up today, with nothing to do. No studying for degrees or courses, no trial prep, no work. This is the first day, in 4.5 years, that I have nothing to do today.

Obviously I am going to ride the bike if the weather holds, the past 2 days have been glorious, so fingers crossed.

Tomorrow I’m back to work, so I’ll enjoy today.

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We have finished all the witnesses. This was completed yesterday, today, we give oral and written closing submissions.

I have been up pretty much all night finishing and referencing the submissions.

We have a pretty good case, and we did win the first case, so I am hopeful that we can make it home once again.

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So yesterday was day 1 of the trial.

Opposing counsel had written opening submissions, which she read. I on the other hand had memorised my opening submissions and presented them orally. The Judge seemed to like that.

My client was the first witness to give evidence. No matter how much you coach them prior to this, something always goes wrong.

Anyway, stuff went wrong when the opposing counsel cross-examined. I had stuff to fix during the re-examination and I was dancing a fine line between legitimate re-examination and re-leading evidence-in-chief. I got away with it, I was challenged twice, but fought off both objections.

That was the tough part of the case for me. Cross examination of the opposing witnesses is always easier.

I’m still trying to finish closing submissions.

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I am in court all week defending a decision that I won a year ago in the Employment Authority. The case is scheduled to last all week, possibly extending into next week. I think that we will probably manage to conclude it this week.

I’m currently working on my closing submissions. All last week I was at work, trying to earn back some of the money I had lost during the completion of the ‘Legal Professionals’ course, more on that another day.

So, of course I am behind schedule, which is why I was up at 0300hrs typing up submissions that I have been working on all w/e.

I work better in the mornings, I know after a day in court [today] I won’t be in any state to write coherent submissions, therefore, some early mornings for me this week until they are complete. Not too far off.

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I have just, 5 mins ago, finished the ‘Professionals’ course for lawyers in NZ. It has taken 3 months and has drained me of energy coming as it did immediately after completing the law degree.

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When I was a kid playing tennis in California in the ’70’s, I wore amongst other shoe brands, Stan Smith’s. I don’t remember particularly liking or disliking them but I certainly wore lots of other brands, who remembers Bata’s? A really ugly shoe, but super light and comfortable. The ‘big thing’ was poly-urethene soles, they were supposed to last longer etc.

Now, 40 years on, I see quite a few pairs of Stan Smith’s being worn by kids today. Apparently they never went away.

The island of Hilton Head in South Carolina is shaped like a sneaker, and Stan Smith lives on the laces, right off the river. Inside his house, the six-foot-four retired tennis player with the straightest back I’ve ever seen walks out of the second of his two closets and into the living room carrying five pairs of Stan Smiths, the sneaker, but he still can’t find the one he’s looking for. He has 40 pairs in 30 different styles, more or less.

The sneaker’s fame — and its longevity — takes even its namesake by surprise. You see, the Stan Smith is really the most basic of all possible sneakers. Its narrow white leather body is cushioned at the front with an almost-orthopedic round toe. Its three understated Adidas stripes are nearly missable perforations, as if they don’t care to be recognized, and it has just two spots of color, most classically in green: a tab on the back of the ankle and Smith’s face printed on the tongue. They are essentially anonymous, the saltine cracker of tennis shoes. They were endorsed by Stan Smith just after he won his first Grand Slam singles title in the summer of 1971 and just before he won his second, and last, the next year. He was, in other words, no Serena Williams, not even a Rod Laver.

Nothing about Smith or the simple design of the sneaker itself — neither has changed much since 1971 — explains how Adidas was able to sell 7 million pairs by 1985. Or how that number had grown to 22 million pairs by 1988. Or why Footwear News named it the first-ever Shoe of the Year in 2014. Or how it surpassed 50 million shoes sold as of 2016. Or how the sneaker grew far beyond its start as a technical athletic shoe and became a fashion brand, its basic blank slate evolving and taking on new meaning and purpose.

In the United Kingdom, soccer fans in Liverpool and Manchester fight over who got into Stan Smiths first. In Greece, Smith says, where it is traditional to give babies white shoes on the day of their christening, Stan Smiths became the white shoe of choice. There’s a professor of theoretical physics in Sweden who owns more than 200 pairs. Both Will Arnett and Hugh Grant have said they kissed their first girl while wearing Stan Smiths. Stan Smith the man once met a reporter from GQ Japan who told him he’s worn his eponymous shoes every day for the past 13 years. (Smith’s response: “I said, ‘You gotta be kidding me.’ ”) More recently, they’ve been taken up by Céline’s Phoebe Philo, as well as Marc Jacobs, A$AP Rocky, and North West, coming to define both a retro and minimalist movement in fashion just a few years after they were sold on the bargain shelves.

“Margie!” Smith calls out to his wife of 42 years, who’s planning his surprise 70th-birthday party in the kitchen. “You know that shoe with the white bag? Do you know where that is?”

Smith’s U of blonde hair is brushed perfectly down, as is his mustache, which he’s had since he could grow it, except for a few weeks when Adidas happened to take the picture that would go on to appear on the tongue of every Stan Smith shoe. His red-and-gray-checked shirt is neatly tucked into blue pants that match his blue suede Stan Smiths. It’s his eyebrows that stand out, the only unruly thing about him; each single hair living its own best life, swooping in and curling out, flailing like one of those blowup guys outside a car dealership, just trying to find somewhere to land.

For the community of the sneaker-­obsessed, there is an event called “unboxing” — its closest relative is porn. It goes down on YouTube: A reviewer, or whoever’s first to get his hands on a new release, analyzes the sneaker from the moment he opens the shoe box. The person comments on how it looks tucked into the packaging, how it feels when touched for the first time, examining and fawning over each of its new and improved features.

Smith seems to know about this. Margie brings him the shoe, and he leans forward from his plush floral-printed chair toward the white bag, which also has his name on it, and begins the unboxing ceremony. “So this is kind of neat.”

He pets the bag, rubbing it between his fingers: “This is a parachute material.” He uses both hands to take the shoe box out and then slides one palm across the top. “And there’s a special white box, with three stripes made of holes, just like my shoe.” He opens the box: “You see this paper? They had special wrapping paper made with my signature on it.” It’s the same signature you’ll find on all Stan Smiths; there’s a single, extra-tall S that acts as the first letter for both his first and last name, a firsty-lasty so sure of itself it is ever connected in writing. Finally, he lifts the paper and pulls out the shoe. It’s the very pair of structured white leather sneakers with a green back tab and three understated stripes you can’t walk but five blocks in New York without seeing.

But here the leather is grayer and thicker. The picture on the tongue is different too. Smith has a mustache in it, as he does sitting in front of me today. He looks much older. “So they sent me this shoe with my current picture.” He smiles wide. All his teeth show. “I like the old one better.” Smith is the only person in the world who owns this pair. They were sent to him in January 2014, in the very early stages of what has become the greatest sneaker-revival story of all time.

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The world needs more men and women who do not have a price at which they can be bought; who do not borrow from integrity to pay for expediency; who have their priorities straight and in proper order; whose handshake is an ironclad contract; who are not afraid of taking risks to advance what is right; who stand for what’s true and not simply what they think others will fall for; and who are honest in all matters, large and small.

The world needs more men and women whose ambitions are big enough to include others; who know how to win with grace and lose with dignity; who do not believe that shrewdness and cunning and ruthlessness are the three keys to success; who still have friends they made twenty or thirty years ago; who put principle and consistency above politics or personal advancement; and who are not afraid to go against the grain of popular opinion.

The world needs more men and women who are humble enough to realize that planning their own lives is a full-time challenge and are therefore not foolish enough to think they can plan the lives or the economy of millions of others. They don’t regard the central government as the highest authority. The world needs more men and women unafraid to take responsibility, adult enough to accept accountability, courageous enough to speak truth to power, and smart enough to express gratitude to others when they deserve it.

The world needs more men and women who are tolerant of the differences that make people the unique individuals they are; who don’t feel threatened by opinions or lifestyles or faiths of others who are otherwise peaceful and respectful in their conduct; who are patient enough to win over others through persuasion, not force; who don’t demand that politicians improve their lot in life by diminishing that of another; who understand that adding value through production, innovation and service is a far higher calling than redistributing the property of others at gunpoint.

The world needs more men and women who do not forsake what is right just to get consensus because it makes them look good; who know how important it is to lead by example, not by barking orders; who would not have you do something they would not do themselves; who work to turn even the most adverse circumstances into opportunities to learn and improve; who muster the integrity to work for a living instead of voting for one, and who love even those who have done some injustice or unfairness to them. The world, in other words, needs more men and women who possess those traits honored by time, experience and good sense and that we collectively call personal character.

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