Thursday, April 28, 2005

"Excuses" to Sing About Contract Law

Like any law professor worth his salt, I prefer that my students never have any fun in my Contracts class. Alas, though, I cannot deny that humor has its pedagogical uses. It apparently keeps the attention of those unfortunate souls who do not find the Restatement (2d) of Contracts a riveting read.

Somewhat grudgingly, therefore, I wrote and performed for my students a country-and-western flavored song, "Excuses," designed to illustrate some contract law doctrines falling under that same title. In the song, a good ol' boy offers his soon-to-be-ex-girlfriend a variety of reasons why he must break off their romantic relationship. I'm still working on making a recording. Here, though, you can at least read the lyrics to the song:


Promises, promises, I made to you,
And you, Darlin', promised right back at me, too.
But my commitment is over. I'm cuttin' you loose.
I owe you nothin'! Here's my excuse:

(refrain 1:)

Mistake, frustration, impratiCAbility:
Thanks to these reasons, I am now are free.
Mistake, frustration, impratiCAbility!
The whole deal is OFF, between you and me.

When we first met, Darlin', I looked in your eyes,
And saw there a woman both funny and wise,
Someone I could trust not to leave my heart achin'.
The hole in my chest shows that I was mistaken.

(repeat refrain 1)

Kissin' you, Darlin', sends a chill down my spine.
In your case, however, that's not a good sign.
A woman more distant, I never have dated.
I'm leavin' you, 'cause you leave me frustrated.

(repeat refrain 1)

Now dry your eyes, Darlin', you're not all to blame.
Since they threw me in prison, things ain't been the same.
Walk out of here smilin'; you're eligible.
My love for you just ain't practicable.

(refrain 2:)

Mistake, frustration, impratiCAbility:
Thanks to these reasons, you are now are free.
Mistake, frustration, impratiCAbility!
The whole deal is OFF, between you and me.


Don't worry, though; it wasn't all fun. After singing the song to my students (in, I might note, cowboy boots and a bolo tie), I put away my guitar and had them fill out a short-answer quiz in which they had to apply what we've learned about the contract law defenses of mistake, frustration, and impracticability to the heart-breaking facts of the song, treating the romantic problem as analogous to a legal one.

Demeaning? I suppose so. But I of course put my duties as a teacher well before my pride, and I thought that the silly song might help my students to absorb and remember some contract law doctrine. That sort of thing seems to have worked with the Schoolhouse Rock of my youth, after all. If only I actually enjoyed hamming it up for my students! Ah, well, a professor has got to do what he's got to do.


Anonymous said...

Your song was performed on American Idol last night. Talk about copyright infringement. Your song didn't leave me the least bit "miffed" (feeling mistook, impracticable, or frustrated X 2). Ah ha! During your performance, you didn't wear a cowboy hat or walk bowlegged, did you? You're a cityslicker in (partial) cowboy disguise. You can add FRAUD to the list of contract heartbreakers. No rootin' tootin' doubt about it: she would've hung you high if you didn't leave town by high noon first. She can smell a city (lawyer) rat a mile away. (And where is your pony beside?) She don't need you no more but cram dung it, I do.

-Cattle Rustler in a jacuzzi i.e, hot H20

Anonymous said...

heeheehee, that is sooo funny. one of your students in your class (one of the *very* few who read my blog) told me that some of the girls were swooning in your class. and he told me something else. haha. your popular apparently.


Anonymous said...

haha, actually he just told me that you go through lengths to entertain your students and that they appreciated it. he said that, that song actually helped it stick.


Anonymous said...

ah ha, now we know what your students really thought of your lovely "contract ballad." Seems that on the whole they have a generally mixe opinion of your classes. Now we know a little bit more about the man behind the blogging curtain.

See here at