Written by Theodore M. David, Chair, Tax Law Committee

Current Items:
1) Who Was That Masked Man?
2) Lawyer Well Being?

  1. I still have an antenna on my roof. I’m sure passers-bye in my neighborhood scratch their heads in wonder why have I not taken the thing down. Little do they know the reason is simple: It still works. I know even as you read this you’re in disbelief. We’ve grown so accustomed to cable and Internet that the thought that free television would arrive by a silly-looking metal contraption is hard to imagine. I was talking to a good friend of mine who was beside themselves about the cable company that was ripping him, like the rest of us, off. I simply said “George, why not use an antenna?” He looked at me as if I had two heads. An antenna? Now granted you will not get the hundred-plus stations and all the fancy other Internet apps either but you won’t pay a dime and should the cable go out in your neighborhood and your Internet fails to work real TV from your antenna may then make you quite happy. And you never know what is going to pop up on the screen. There is no guide button. Last Saturday for example out of nowhere the Lone Ranger and Tonto in black-and-white leaped out of my set. It’s amazing how quickly we can go back in time to the 1950s when Clayton Moore, who was actually Jack Carlton Moore born in Chicago, Illinois, donned the mask of the Lone Ranger and Harold Jay Smith an indigenous Canadian from the Mohawk tribe had been born in Ontario, Canada became Tonto. If you were around in the 50s you may have caught one of the 221 episodes of The Lone Ranger. You may know that Tonto named the Lone Ranger’s horse Silver when he spoke the sentence “like a mountain with snow, silver white” in describing a horse he and his partner Lone Ranger had found in a canyon suffering from injuries. Tonto did not seem to be at all disturbed by playing second fiddle to the Lone Ranger. They were a team that wandered about Texas doing good and chasing evil. Harold took the name Jay Silverheels but before he was Tonto, Harry Smith was actually a lacrosse player for the Toronto Tecumsehs. He also played on teams around the country as well as right here in Atlantic City. In 1938 he was second placed Golden Gloves Middleweight champion. By the way, he was inducted into the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 1997. Tonto got to wear that suede fringed jacket that hippies thought they invented in the 60’s. The show ran from 1949 through 1957 on ABC. It was the highest-rated TV program in the early 1950s and ABC’s first true hit. Even as a kid I wondered how was it that he and his partner seemed so well-clothed and fed with no apparent source of income. Recently I learned it had to do with the Lone Ranger finding a silver mine which then financed his wanderings. So here was a hero risking his life without pay. I warn that the 50’s vocabulary as it was used on the Lone Ranger may offend these days where mere words can be so upsetting. Tonto was referred to as an “Indian” and at times “Injun.” Women were “gals” or “girls” and senior citizens were “old-timers.” And just about every female in every episode was a damsel in distress. The producers probably never heard of Yardville, New Jersey’s own straight-shooting Annie Oakley who like women today needed no male savior. But it was the 1950’s after all and a much different view of the world. They say the show was inspired by a real Texas Ranger named John Hughes in the old Wild West but there is also another possible inspiration in the more likely Bass Reeves the first black deputy marshal west of the Mississippi. Reeves wore disguises and worked with a Native American as a partner. In the show, it was always clear who the good guys and bad guys were. Where are the Lone Rangers these days? They are out there. Like some of the IRS criminal agents that I met along the way. They seemed to be working for a higher purpose. Chasing the bad guys. The FBI says there are about 4000 known gangsters in the states. Mostly centralized in New York and New Jersey. I remember there being less than 200 IRS criminal agents in all of New Jersey with a population of nine-plus million people. That’s 45,000 per agent. They must feel at times like well…the Lone Ranger. IRS announced recently that the Chief of the Criminal Investigation Division, Jim Lee, will retire effective April 6. He has led the criminal division since October 2020 with a staff of more than 3200 criminal investigation employees which includes 2200 special agents. Another Lone Ranger rides into the sunset Kemosabe. So who was that masked man? Hi-Yo Silver! Away!
    2). The New Jersey Lawyer magazine, No. 346, February 2024 caught my eye with a cover “Lawyer Well-Being.” In the course of my 50 years in law, I had published more than 52 professional articles. Frankly, some were so esoteric and boring as to make your eyes bleed. But the one I got the most feedback on was called “Can Lawyers Learn to be Happy”. That one may still be out there in cyberspace. But the article in this February journal about “Stress” written by the Hon. Kevin G Callahan JSC (ret) provides 20 suggestions that may make the job of lawyering a lot more tolerable. It is equally valuable for any stressed-out professional in any field. I won’t rattle off all twenty and they are all fairly obvious. It’s their application that is the problem. The judge says: find quiet time; remember your family and friends; check your spending habits; have a long-term plan or goal; don’t lawyer 24/7; change careers within the law if it is truly driving you crazy; avoid excesses; watch for signs of burnout; stay organized and if your new to the business of law find a mentor. I’ll add: Money won’t really make you happy; try to be more Lone Ranger than Perry Mason.

Gather ye Rosebuds while ye may
Old time is still a-flying
And this same Flower that smiles today
Tomorrow will be a- dying.
Robert Herrick (1591-1674)

Questions or Comments   should be sent to:

Theodore M. David