It is (insert drumroll) a self-inking stamp that says “Nope.”
I have given everyone at my office unfettered access to it, and we are using it with reckless abandon.
This being a law office, we are inundated with paper. There is approximately 27 acres of formerly pristine rain forest adorning our desktops and shelves and filling our drawers. We still get multiple faxes a day. Motion to Continue Due to Your Failure to Prepare? NOPE. Request for Attorney’s Fees Because My Client Has Money and Yours Doesn’t? NOPE. Petition to Harass My Client Via Frivolous Lawsuit? NOPE NOPE NOPE.
Of course, lots of things don’t happen on paper, so I can’t stamp them. I visualize myself stamping the foreheads of people saying ridiculous things. “Can I…?” NOPE. “Would it be possible to….” NOPE “I think you should….” NOPE NOPE NOPE.
I have fallen in love with the word “Nope.” It’s a solid word. It’s better than “No.” “No” trails off with a circular vowel. You can’t be sure when it ends. Nooooooo. Nope is ruder and cruder and ends with a guillotine chop of a “p.” “Nope.” It’s done and you know it’s done. No chance of rebound.
This stamp, which makes a satisfying ca-CHUNK noise when you print NOPE on whatever request you are refusing, is so much larger than a novelty self-inking stamp. I mean, yeah, it’s fun to refuse things in a fun, dramatic, heretofore undiscovered way. But by teaching the joy of the NOPE, it teaches the joy of the nope. And that’s not joke.
Saying nope is freeing. “Will you volunteer on the committee for…” NOPE. Nope doesn’t owe anyone an explanation. “Can you help with…” NOPE. Nope allows you to care for yourself without worrying if anyone else is cared for. “We need you to…” NOPE. Nope allows you to avoid being manipulated into someone else’s problems.
Look, I’m not saying you should always say NOPE – I’d be a hypocrite if I did. I’m on so many boards and committees it’s ridiculous, and I love the work I do for those organizations. But every once in a while I need to give myself permission to Just Say Nope. Without guilt. Without tortured explanations that boil down to, “I don’t want to.”
Sometimes, the answer isn’t any more complicated than “Nope.”
Will I? Nope.
Can I? Yeah,
But will I?
 Though if they see this and decide to, I am totally down for that.
 It occurs to me that I need to write a disclaimer that these motions and petitions are not actually called these things. I have here listed the subtext, what the motions and petitions would be called if the authors were honest about what the contents actually were.
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Lori B. Duff is an award-winning author who practices law on the side. Her latest book, “If You Did What I Asked in the First Place” was a number one Amazon Hot New Release in the Fall of 2019. You can follow her on Twitter at @LoriBDuff and on Facebook. For more blogs written by Lori, click here. For more information about Lori in general, click here. If you want Lori to do your writing for you, click here. If you want Lori to help you market your book, click here.