Mark Siegel (Street Articles Author)

Although I guess that I wish that I had seen more and done more by now, my life has taken a number of twists and turns. As I muddle through middle age, I continue to entertain hopes and expectations that one of these days, I will decide what it is that I want to be when I grow up. I entertain hopes and expectations that I will, in fact, grow up.

I have always been a good writer. My father -- now retired -- was a professional comedy writer who wrote for 27 years for MAD Magazine and who has three Emmys on his shelf for various television programs for which he has written. I resisted whatever familial pressure might have existed to become a writer myself. I wanted to make a good living, and writing didn't seem to be a sure and certain path to that.

I have been an attorney for most of my professional career. I passed the California Bar examination and obtained my license in 1984. I chose that post-graduate path because I understood that becoming an attorney was a path to financial success.

However, in an environment where the supply of attorneys often exceeds the demand -- that is, of consumers and businesses that can afford to pay for legal services -- being an attorney has been a mixed bag of tricks.

The money comes in when it comes in, but there have been lows where I could not find work as an attorney and where debt accumulated as a result. Therefore, even when I'm gainfully employed, much of my income goes toward debt retirement and/or retirement "catch up".

I pushed papers for a number of years while processing claims for a title insurance company. That isn't as dull as it might sound. "Title insurance" is bound up in the right to ownership or possession of real estate, and a dispute over such issues between competing parties can involve human drama.

I would have remained at that desk indefinitely, but I lost that job to corporate downsizing in 1995, and in the early stages of middle age, I found it necessary to reinvent myself. I drifted into other areas of law, including personal/commercial collections, health care law, tax law, evictions, and -- on occasion -- unemployment.

I also have licenses in real estate and insurance but have inevitably found out that I have too retiring a personality and -- in some instances -- too much of a sense of ethics to make a living as a salesperson.

Finally, in 2003, I took advantage of a job opportunity to practice law in the field of criminal defense -- as different from what I was doing before as night from day. My first challenge -- and perhaps my biggest -- was the first day on the job when I actually had to enter a custodial institution to interview an accused juvenile offender. I had to extricate myself -- at least for the moment -- from my comfortable middle-class milieu in order to get that job done.

Since then, I have done a few dozen jury trials. If you had told me back in the early-mid 1990's, when I was staring at tract maps and puzzling over easements and tax liens, that I would become a trial attorney representing those who subsist on the fringes of polite society, I would have laughed out loud. The experience has definitely taught me a lesson about pushing myself.

Throughout all of the uncertainty that has characterized my life, there was one fixed point: the San Francisco Giants. Other California-based teams -- the Dodgers, the Angels, and the A's might garner their share of championship glory (at the expense of the Giants, naturally), but like Sisyphus, the San Francisco Giants were doomed to inevitable failure. In some years, they would come closer than others, but always, always, they were fated to fall short.

Then in 2010, the impossible happened, and the Giants won it all. It may never happen again in my lifetime, but who can say? It was never supposed to have happened at all.

It's yet another one of life's lessons on how attitude can overcome what is fated or what seems to be fated. Or, as William Goldman once put it, sometimes a man -- or a group of men -- with the right attitude can piss back at the gods.

Then again, when I consider that the Giants had their share of breaks down the stretch, I can also concede that maybe it's just an issue of the gods occasionally showing mercy. Brian Wilson's signature move -- where he crosses his arms and looks at the sky -- at the end of each successful game -- including Game 5 in Texas where he saved the game that ended it all -- can be seen as either a gesture of triumph or a gesture of grateful submission.

In any event, I have decided to begin whatever career that I have as a writer by writing paeans to a very special team that had a very special year.

After all of these years, as a sidelight, if nothing else, I find myself turning to...writing...the very field that I rejected as a youth as too unsure and uncertain.

Fresno Grizzlies: Proud Affiliate Of the 2010 San Francisco Giants World Series Champions
In 2010, the Fresno Grizzlies minor league baseball team, as AAA affiliate of Major League Baseball's San Francisco Giants, reached the pinnacle of professional success when the Giants won the World Series for the first time since the team moved to San Francisco in 1958. It was, in fact, the…
By:  in  Recreation and Sports  >  Baseball   Dec 05, 2011  
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From Grizzly to Champ: World Champion Wednesday, Part 1 - Matt Cain
In 2011, the Fresno Grizzlies of the Pacific Coast League, the AAA affiliate of the San Francisco Giants, honored the World Series championship triumph that their parent organization had enjoyed the previous year, thrilling San Francisco Giants fans everywhere. On every Wednesday home game, the first 2000 fans received limited…
By:  in  Recreation and Sports  >  Baseball   Dec 05, 2011  
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