Suzy’s Soulmate

Originally appeared in the April 2001 issue of the ABA Journal.

Harmless Error - A Truly Minority View on the Law

Suzy’s Soulmate


Good news and bad news for supporters of Suzy Spikes, my daughter’s litigious, delinquent pal. The good news is that 13-year-old Suzy found romance. The bad news is that, like most events in Suzy’s life, it threatens to become another landmark case.

It all started when some girls at The Gap teased Suzy for being the only person in the 8th grade who hadn’t found a soulmate. Determined Suzy decided she would find a soulmate that very day, and also that she would file false police reports against the girls who teased her.

Bless her heart. Poor Suzy was baffled when her romantic instincts failed on the first attempt:

Suzy: Hey, you. That’s right. I’m talking to you.

Boy: Yeah.

Suzy: Wanna be my soulmate?

Boy: Can’t. Already have one.

Suzy: Your loss. Anyways, you dress like a dork.

Suzy turned next to her neighbor, Billy Johnson, much to everyone’s surprise. It seems like just yesterday Suzy was threatening to report Billy to the EPA for being an environmental hazard. In fact, it was just yesterday.

But they managed to negotiate a deal whereby Billy agreed to be Suzy’s soulmate in return for Suzy agreeing to quit libeling him in her neighborhood newsletter, The Spikes Report. Always careful to protect her rights, Suzy drafted the following agreement which she made Billy sign:

Suzy’s Soulmate Agreement

I, Billy Johnson, agree to be Suzy Spikes’ soulmate for a period not to exceed the second Suzy says to get out of her face. Since I would rather die than embarrass Suzy for picking a crummy soulmate, I will strictly follow Zipgirl magazine’s Super-Six Soulmate Tips:

1. Communicate honestly. Zipgirl says honest communication leads to happy and successful relationships. Therefore, I will always admit Suzy is right.

2. Be sensitive. Because I couldn’t bear the thought of lovable, adorable Suzy suffering feelings of rejection, I will never turn down her requests to hand over my allowance.

3. Heal old baggage. I hereby release all claims against Suzy for the time she accidentally jammed Baltic Avenue up my nose in Combat Monopoly, and for burying me in the sandbox with only a straw sticking out when we were four, and for tricking me into paying her $14 for a pop-top she said was Britney Spears’ belly-button ring, and for …

4. Don’t be needy. When Suzy and I fight, which Zipgirl says is normal, I will not be needy by yelling for my parents or medical attention.

5. Show them you care. I will call Suzy’s probation officer and tell him it was me who spray-painted “Suzy Rules” on the 8th-grade lockers and that Suzy is just an innocent victim of a patriarchal society. When I get to the juvie detention center, I will destroy all three drawers of Suzy’s records.

6. Be a great date. If we go out in public, I will keep my head down and walk 30 feet behind Suzy, unless we’re at The Gap and some girls start teasing her for not having a soulmate.

Signed: Billy Johnson

Suzy and Billy actually got along for a while—about four minutes—until Suzy accused Billy of breaking her heart, as well as the agreement, by refusing to clean her room. Suzy was last seen downloading breach of contract forms off the Internet.

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Andrew Jay McClurg is a law professor whose teaching and research interests include tort law, products liability, legal education, privacy law and firearms policy. He holds the Herbert Herff Chair of Excellence in Law at the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law.
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