I Will Gladly Pay You Tuesday . . .

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I like to think of myself as pretty open-minded when it comes to music — I like classical and classic rock; blues and bluegrass; opera and opry.  In an attempt to further broaden my musical horizons, I’ve been tuning my radio (that’s what people listened to before streaming, kids) to an alternative rock station.  One song that recently caught my ear was Missio’s “Middle Fingers.”   While the lyrics are a bit too R-rated for my taste, I found myself enjoying the song.

But after a few listens it hit me why I liked it:  It’s basically the same song as “Everything is Food,” from the 1980 movie “Popeye.”   Penned by Harry Nilsson, the Popeye soundtrack has about as much in common with alternative fare as Eugene the Jeep has with a Jeep Wrangler.  Still, Missio’s “I’ll just keep on throwing middle fingers in the air” sounds an awful lot like Paul Dooley singing “I will gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.”

So much for the alt rock.   And while you might expect this Tip to discuss copyright law issues,  it was Wimpy’s mantra that got me thinking.  The joke, of course, is that no one would hand over a hamburger in exchange for a promise to pay days later, long after the hamburger has been eaten.   It’s almost as silly as a lawyer representing a client at a trial based on the client’s promise to pay in full after the trial is complete.

Yet it happens.  And what else happens?  Once the trial concludes (perhaps in a manner not to the client’s liking), the client balks at paying.  In other words, the client gets the hamburger; the lawyers get the middle finger.   

To avoid this result, it’s a good idea to ensure, well in advance of  any scheduled trial or arbitration date, that all fees and costs incurred up to that point will promptly be paid or brought current, and that the client will provide a retainer or make some other arrangement to insure payment of fees and costs estimated to be incurred through the end of trial or arbitration.   And make sure you note that in your engagement agreement, so that the client isn’t surprised.

So as I continue to expand my collection of alt rock albums (that’s what we used to play on our hi-fi systems, kids), I’m hopeful that I can find something that doesn’t remind me of a certain spinach eating sailor.  Maybe something from the Face to Face . . .