Nothing Says Quarantine Like Polishing Off A Full Quart of Ice Cream

All of this “sheltering in place” is getting a little old.  Mental health experts recommend finding a goal to accomplish during this time.  For example – Reading books you’ve had trouble finding time for.  Studying a foreign language.  Crocheting a blanket.  As it turns out, my goal appears to be putting on 20 pounds.

In my zeal to achieve my goal, I may be overdoing it.  In fact, I’ve decided to implement a hard and fast rule to keep myself under control: I am strictly limiting myself to a MAXIMUM of four meals a day.  And yes, I have been enforcing it.

Not to brag about being an overachiever, but I’ve decided to accomplish a second goal (to work on between meals).  This is to invent a million dollar product and appear on Shark Tank.  I’m employing a tried and true principle of product development: “Finding a need and filling it.”  Of course, this is easier said than done.  All the really good products that I might have been able to develop in my garage during the next few weeks have already been taken – the crescent wrench, bullet trains, the Flowbee haircutting system.  I found myself stuck. 

UNTIL TODAY! 

Before you read any further, you have to promise not to rip off my idea.  Okay?

[I’m serious! Stop reading NOW if you don’t agree to keep my genius invention strictly confidential.  This is LEGALLY BINDING people!]

Here it is –

You are familiar with the “beer koozie”?  This is that soft foam sleeve that you put a can of beer into to keep it cold?  (It’s essentially a beer overcoat.)  Well, as I was laying on the couch eating ice cream straight from the container (as I am apt to do), my hand was heating up the outside of container.  This was causing, literally, a major meltdown.  So, yeah!  You got it!  A koozie for a quart of ice cream!  I am even designing it with an ergonomic handle, so it won’t accidently slip when you reach for the remote, or awkwardly stagger to your feet to go use the can.

It is important that I make one thing clear: I am NOT calling myself a hero.  I’m just a regular guy, like you, trying to enjoy a serving (one quart) of ice cream while I watch Gold Rush. 

This I pledge to you – I will not stop in my pursuit of the perfect ice cream koozie, even if I have to lie on the couch and polish off a hundred quarts of ice cream.  I am doing this for mankind.  I am doing this for YOU. 

And it appears that as a result of my dedication, I’m on target to reach that 20-pound goal. 

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Check out these great books:

The Lawyer’s Song: Navigating the legal wilderness

https://buff.ly/2K41Tax

Seven Rules for the College Playground –

https://buff.ly/2IqXxgn

Seven Secrets You Need to Know to Hire the Right Lawyer –

https://buff.ly/2roFIov

Pangolins Protest Negative Image, Seek New Publicist

Life has been tough on the pangolin community recently.

“It’s not bad enough that we’re being eaten,” announced a senior pangolin representative, “now, we’re being blamed for a pandemic?!  This is an outrage!”  The representative continued, “And to make matters worse, whenever someone asks what a pangolin is, they’re told we look like an armadillo.  An armadillo?  Really?”

Gone are the good old days when all the pangolins had to worry about was having their scales plucked off and being roasted to a medium rare.  Of course, they also got to enjoy the excitement of living on the brink of extinction.  According to an American Geographic article (where I stole the above picture of a pangolin), pangolins are an endangered species.

Cold-hearted author’s comment: Pangolins can’t be that tasty or the Chinese would be breeding them like chickens.  Vendors would be selling their meat on sticks to tourists next to the Great Wall.

The psychological pressure of being falsely accused of starting the pandemic is taking its toll.  Pangolin mental health professionals report a rise in pangolin suicides.  A recent press release included the following: “Not a day goes by that a young pangolin doesn’t march straight into a Wuhan restaurant kitchen and turn belly up for the taking.”  The release continues, “They simply can’t imagine a bright future for themselves or their fellow pangolin.” 

According to stories in the crushing, nonstop, “Please, Lord, let it stop,” mainstream media, bats are the true culprits.  Americans have learned a new term: “Bat Soup.”  And, no.  It has nothing to do with baseball.

Please visit the pangolin GoFundMe page to help send this worthy species on a much-needed vacation.  Their nerves are shot.  They need time to recuperate.  Even though the stock market has dropped, and your savings are so far down you’re likely to be eating dog food in retirement, surely, you can afford a little something for the pangolins.

Whether you choose to donate to the pangolin relief fund, please do them one favor.  Show them one act of dignity and respect.  PLEASE stop telling people they look like armadillos.  (Yeah, I know they really do.)

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Check out these great books:

The Lawyer’s Song: Navigating the legal wilderness

https://buff.ly/2K41Tax

Seven Rules for the College Playground –

https://buff.ly/2IqXxgn

Seven Secrets You Need to Know to Hire the Right Lawyer –

https://buff.ly/2roFIov

I Was BORN To Shelter In Place

I was BORN to shelter in place.  I dream of sheltering in place.  It’s not 1832.  We’re not huddled in a freezing “Soddy” on the plains of Western Nebraska.  We’ve got Netflix, for crying out loud!

While I’m on the topic, here’s my take on the whole “hoarding” thing –

According to official verified statistics (i.e. my biased opinion), 99% of the American public is morbidly obese.  And, Lord knows, I’m doing everything I can to maintain that percentage. 

Ninety days of starvation is just what the doctor ordered.  And by “starvation,” I mean eating two meals a day instead of four.  If this virus holds up, come July, we’ll be marching around the beach like Greek Gods.

And can this be the end of handshaking?  Please?!  Can we finally put a knife in it?  I’m as old school as you can get, but the grossness of handshaking must meet its demise.

On a side note, I do not begrudge the guilt that must be plaguing every third grader home from school right now.  On one hand, he’s praying that this virus outbreak never ends.  On the other, he knows that his sudden freedom may cost his 88-year-old Nana her life.  Root for freedom or root for Nana?  What’s a third grader to do? 

As a result of all the social distancing I’ve been doing lately, I’ve had time to think about my future.  Business opportunities are exploding in my head like kernels in a popcorn popper.  One idea has risen above the rest –

A bacon store creatively called, “The Bacon Store.”

How could a store that exclusively sells bacon, and bacon-related products, possibly fail?  The only product that exceeds the attraction quotient of bacon is crack cocaine.  And bacon is LEGAL!  (Of course, it probably shouldn’t be.)

The most valuable thing I’ve learned during our challenging national emergency is the definition of “Telecommuting.”

Telecommuting: “The art of getting paid to recline on a couch in your underwear, while sounding very engaged and alert on the phone.” 

I guess I was born to shelter in place AND telecommute!

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Check out these great books:

The Lawyer’s Song: Navigating the legal wilderness

https://buff.ly/2K41Tax

Seven Rules for the College Playground –

https://buff.ly/2IqXxgn

Seven Secrets You Need to Know to Hire the Right Lawyer –

https://buff.ly/2roFIov

“Social Distancing” Lesson One: Weaponizing Bad Breath

Nothing says social distancing like murderous breath. 

Commit this lifesaving motto to memory:

Stinky Breath Today, Keep Coronavirus Away!

Bad breath buys you – AT A MINIMUM – a three-foot buffer zone.

I’m not sure where the whole six-foot buffer zone came from, but it makes sense.  The average American isn’t six feet tall, so even in the sudden and unexpected drop-dead emergency, you are unlikely to be in the “strike zone.”

We know a lot about this here in Oregon, because Oregon law requires that drivers stay at least six feet away from bicyclists.  I’m not bragging, but we were ready for the Coronavirus before being ready for the Coronavirus was cool.    

Please consider employing these “Kung Fu” Breath Safety Techniques:

The Morning “Coat of Armor” – After you brush your teeth, begin your day with a steaming cup of dark coffee laced with a heavily sweetened creamer.  Roll it around in your mouth.  Use your tongue to massage it into the deep recesses of your mouth.  Let it sit and marinate on your tongue until it works its way in between your taste buds.  Before long, even your best friends will call you “Dragon Breath” to your face.

The “Lunch Break Six-Shooter” – According to Bianca Mendez, in her article, “The 22 Best and Worst Foods for Your Breath,” she writes, “Any fish that comes out of a can is going to carry a stench. And when you lunch on tuna, that smell isn’t going to disappear. When fish gets tinned, it begins to oxidize, which is why they have a scent. This smell clings to your mouth, giving your breath an unpleasant fishy odor.”  There you have it folks; canned tuna is your new best friend!

The “Nuclear Option” – I’m not a licensed and accredited biologist, but it is my understanding that as bacteria breaks down protein in food, it creates sulfur compounds.  And sulfur compounds smell like, wait for it… rotten eggs!  So as we confront today’s Coronavirus challenge, remember that it’s perfectly fine to be an Egg-Head.

Please use these helpful techniques to create a toxic plume that not even the Coronavirus would dare penetrate.

And, of course –

WASH YOUR HANDS!

Like many of you, I have now convinced myself I have the Coronavirus

I haven’t been tested, but according to the internet, I have the Coronavirus.  I’m not 100% sure.  How could I be?  I am 99% sure. 

Here is how I know –

First, I Googled “early Coronavirus symptoms.”  The internet told me the three most common signs were: Cough, Fever and Respiratory Difficulty.  I do not have a cough.  I do not have a fever, and I do not have any respiratory difficulty.  So, obviously, I had to continue my search.

Second, I clicked another reliable source (It was posted on the internet) and found a list of 15 early warning signs of Coronavirus.  Now I was getting somewhere. 

Finally, I found it!  The very first sign on the list was, “Fatigue.”

FATIGUE!

Diagnosis CONFIRMED!  I didn’t need to waste my time looking further.  I definitely felt fatigued.  In fact, I am going to take nap right after I finish writing this important ALERT.

I will now begin taking standard Coronavirus precautions.  And we all know what that means.  As soon as I’m done with my nap, I will be heading directly to Costco to buy massive quantities of toilet paper. 

I am not quite sure what I’m supposed to do with all the toilet paper.  I haven’t asked the internet yet.  I plan to Google that as soon as I unload my toilet paper. 

Next, I will call my employer and inform him that I will be “self-quarantining” myself for the next 14 days.  This will be a difficult conversation because I’m self-employed.  As a boss, I can be a real pain in the a**.  In fact, if I keep insisting that I need to self-quarantine, I might have to fire myself.  I’ll just have to see how the conversation goes. 

Finally, I’ll have to contact all the major presidential campaigns and let them know not to expect me at any of their rallies.  I’ll especially have to do this for Joe Biden, because that will likely drop his audience into single digits.

Wish me luck!  I hope to see you all on the “other side” of my scary health emergency. 

Be safe.

AND WASH YOUR HANDS!

Got a moment?

Please do me a favor and comment and share!

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It’s a Three Minute Vacation for your Brain.

______________________________

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Check out these great books:

The Lawyer’s Song: Navigating the legal wilderness

https://buff.ly/2K41Tax

Seven Rules for the College Playground –

https://buff.ly/2IqXxgn

Seven Secrets You Need to Know to Hire the Right Lawyer –

https://buff.ly/2roFIov

Oliver the Cat, AKA, Meditation Guru

Oliver the Cat is a meditation expert.

A year and a half ago I stumbled on a book by ABC newsman Dan Harris.  The title is 10% Happier.  I’m not entirely sure Dan would agree, but here is my summary:

Arrogant news reporter loses his mind and becomes a crazy drug addict.  After he hits rock bottom, a counsellor suggests he try meditation.  Dan thinks the idea is even crazier than being a crazy drug addict, but out of desperation, gives it a shot. Low and behold, it cures him. 

Dan is a skeptic.  He’s not into any religious aspects of mediation.  However, Dan is BIG TIME into the scientific research on meditation.  And the research is as clear as a Baccarat crystal vase that meditation provides demonstrable benefits.  They include:

Reducing stress

Lessening anxiety

Increasing attention span

And freshening breath.  (Okay, I was required to add this last one to meet “Humor-column Union” requirements. You don’t want to mess with those union thugs.)

I decided to try meditation.  And guess what?  I take the oath to become a Buddhist monk tomorrow.  Just kidding!  But, seriously, I do believe I’ve benefited.  I think it’s helped me remain calm in stressful situations, be more focused, and helped regenerate the hair on my bald spot.  Okay, sadly, my bald spot continues to  shine like an aircraft beacon, but I have noticed the first two benefits.

There are many types of meditation ­– Basic breath meditation, “Loving kindness” meditation, “Mantra” meditation, and Naked meditation.  Okay, I’ve never ACTUALLY heard of Naked meditation, but I’m sure some free soul is out there meditating au naturel.

The most common method of meditation is breath meditation.  You sit comfortably in a position where your spine is relatively straight, and you focus your mind on your breathing.  Whenever your mind starts to wander (which it will try to do every nano second) you simply bring your mind back to your breath. 

Now, please do not attempt to get your meditation advice from me.  People have been practicing meditation for thousands of years, and I’ve been dabbling for 18 months.  So, what I’m saying is, if you take your meditation instruction from me, you’re as crazy as Dan Harris back when he was on the pipe. 

Oliver’s problem is that he’s only ten inches high.  Try as he might, he simply cannot reach the doorbell.  This means that Oliver spends hours crouched down staring blankly at the door waiting for it to open.

I routinely open the door and find him sitting there frozen.  It takes him a moment to “come to” and race through the door.  So, it’s become clear to me.  THIS CAT IS MEDITATING!  He meditates for hours and hours each week. AND, he’s ten times better at it than me!

My point is this ̶   Oliver meditates on a regular basis, and he is, at the very least, 10% happier than I am.  In fact, Oliver and Dan Harris really should co-write another book. 

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How I Survived Vietnam AND Accentuated My Man Boobs

As I have previously emphasized – I am a tourist, not a “traveler.”  Tourists sit in air-conditioned buses eating caramel corn.  “Travelers” hike through bug-infested river trails before sitting down for a hearty meal of barbequed goat gallbladders.  As I write this, I am preparing to depart Vietnam where I came to attend a wedding.  The wheels came off my “tourist” bus the moment the tires touched down at Cam Ranh International Airport.  I was thrust into the unfamiliar role of being a traveler. 

Here is what I discovered ­­–

Comparing the size of my body to the average Vietnamese, is like comparing the size of a school bus to the average Mini Cooper. 

On our first day, everybody got fitted for an ao dai.  This is the traditional Vietnamese wedding attire.  Disturbingly, after the thirteen of us arrived at the ao dai store, the ao dai people took one look at me and my friend (who, for the purposes of this column, I will refer to as “Tim,” because his name is Tim Larson) and gasped.  They knew immediately that they didn’t have anything that was going to circumnavigate our impressive bellies.  We were summarily ordered to climb onto the back of scooters behind a couple of strangers and transported straightaway to a Vietnamese “Big and Fat” ao dai store.  At the second store, the employees’ brows shot up.  They were obviously wondering if they had ANYTHING, including any camping tents in the back, with enough square footage to meet this challenge.  In the end, they found two ao dais that, if I do say so myself, tastefully accented my man boobs. 

The next day, two surprises awaited me at the prewedding party (a feast held the day before the actual wedding).  First, while I had fair warning about the fearless Vietnamese mosquitos, no one told me about the fire ants.  Here is one that went out of his way to menace me –

There isn’t anything in the picture to give it scale, so trust me when I tell you it was 18 inches long.  Okay, I’m exaggerating!  It was 12 inches long.  I handled the situation like I bravely handle all physical threats – I ran. 

Also, no one warned me that when they cut up the chickens to grill, the head was part of the menu –

I did not eat this chicken head for a very good reason.  It scared me.

Chicken heads aside, the wedding was incredible.  It culminated in a spectacular outdoor ceremony complete with traditional dancers, karaoke and endless toasting to the occasion.  Here is a glimpse –

Congratulations, Kian and Tina! We love you!

To cap the week, on our final night here, another one of our nephews proposed to his girlfriend!  We all witnessed the special event.  We actually watched Zach get down on one knee and propose to Violet!  It was VERY exciting.  I immediately suggested a destination wedding to, of course, Vietnam! 

I leave here with only a few regrets –

First, I never ate a sidewalk lobster.  In Vietnam, apparently, if you can access a tin bowl, charcoal, an oven rack, and of course, a few lobsters, you are now a small business owner.  Here is one such operation –

Second, I arrived too late to save this crocodile’s life.  He was skewered and rotating on an open grill by the time I became aware of his plight.  I’m sorry, Mr. Crocodile! –

And finally, I never had the chance to have a cup of coffee at the Phuc Long coffee shop.  I am not a formally trained linguist.  However, in my experience, an “h” immediately following a “p” is usually pronounce as an “f” sound.  Here it is –

I’ll let you try to sound it out. Have you figured it out yet? The “C” is silent, so the correct prounciation is, “Starbucks.”

Alas, I must now depart.

I’m going to buy some caramel corn for the plane. 

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The First Thing to Know Before Visiting Vietnam – Do Not Visit Vietnam!

As you read this, I am on a plane to Vietnam.  The most important thing I learned during my recent “Visiting Vietnam Orientation” was that under no circumstances should I ever visit Vietnam.  Just kidding!  (If you read the previous sentence backwards, it spells – “Help!  They’re taking me to Vietnam!”)  Okay, now I’m REALLY kidding!  (Please, I’m begging you!  Read the last sentence backwards and call the FBI.)

My orientation on visiting Vietnam was conducted by someone, who for the purpose of this column, I will refer to as “Tina.”  This is because her name is Tina. 

Tina is marrying my fake nephew Kian.  Our families have been friends long before any of us had kids, so I have been Kian’s fake uncle since his birth.  Not to brag, but I’m about as legit a “Fake Uncle” as you can get. 

Anyway, Tina and Kian are getting married in her home country of Vietnam, and so everybody’s packing up and heading to Vietnam.  Tina and Kian wisely invited us to Vietnam BEFORE Tina presented her orientation on Vietnam.  We have decided to show them how much we love them by agreeing to contract the Coronavirus.

The three most important things I learned during Tina’s orientation were:

First, Vietnamese mosquitoes are the size of carrier pigeons.  She recommended we carry a small telescoping baton to beat the creatures away.  However, this is only effective if we are assaulted by a single mosquito.  If we are assaulted by a pack or “herd” of Vietnamese mosquitoes, we are supposed to lay down and “play dead” – like you’re supposed to do when you confront a bear.  (I think.) 

Second, there is a 75% chance we will be struck and killed trying to cross the street.  Tina showed us a YouTube video on how to cross the street.  The video showed a skinny white guy slowly step out into a stream of moving traffic – and here is the critical fact – the traffic DOES NOT STOP.  He steps out into the stream, and the cars, motorcycles, camels and all other means of conveyance just keep moving forward and dodging him as he slowly creeps across. 

They say that there is a significant difference between being a “traveler” and being a “tourist.”  Let me be clear, I am a “tourist.”  Travelers eat locally roasted bugs.  Tourists eat Big Macs.

Third, in a cunning move to get revenge on Americans’ failed imperialist attempt to conquer their country, the Vietnamese government adds a chemical to its drinking water.  One sip, and this special additive makes every American as sick as a goose that’s overdosed on Metamucil.  It starts pouring out of both ends.  Welcome to Vietnam!  It’s Dee-lightful!

By now, I am curled up in a fetal position in seat 33A heading to Saigon.  I’m clutching a baton, a nuclear grade water filtration bottle and an industrial sized bottle of Xanax (to help me cross the street).  I’m also wearing a set of dog tags so they can identify my body.

Got a moment?

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Check out these great books:

The Lawyer’s Song: Navigating the legal wilderness

https://buff.ly/2K41Tax

Seven Rules for the College Playground –

https://buff.ly/2IqXxgn

Seven Secrets You Need to Know to Hire the Right Lawyer –

https://buff.ly/2roFIov

I’m Not Exactly Sure What a Caucus is, But I Think It Might be What Got Harvey Weinstein Into All That Trouble

Iowa recently had a caucus, and now Nevada is getting ready to have one.  I’m not exactly sure what a caucus is, but I think it might be what got Harvey Weinstein into all that trouble.  I’ve been told that it’s when strangers get together somewhere like a school gym, or maybe in Weinstein’s case, a steam room.  Once assembled, there’s a lot of aggressive stating of personal preference and demanding that other people change their position. 

Thankfully, I live in Oregon.  Oregon is a “motor voter” state.  The state mails EVERYBODY a ballot.  You get mailed a ballot; your spouse gets mailed a ballot.  Your Uncle Igor, visiting from the Czech Republic, gets a ballot.  (It’s the law.) 

As a result, we don’t have to worry about Harry Weinstein trying to adjust our position.  We just mail back the ballots.  So essentially, the first person to the mailbox gets to vote five or six times.  (Just kidding – That would be a felony!)  In all seriousness, Oregonians rarely vote more than two or three times.

(Humorous Oregon “vote-by-mail” historical note: In the last election, a clerk named Gloria in the mailroom of a large retirement home single-handedly decided the governor’s race.)

I wish all the citizens of Nevada good luck this week.  Sadly, as a non-Oregonian, your vote will only count once, but do the best you can with it.  If you don’t mind some advice from a friendly Oregonian, keep in mind that I’m just spit-balling here, you might consider taking ventriloquist lessons.  I don’t know what types of security measures Nevada uses in its caucuses, but you might get to vote twice that way.  I hear this technique was extremely effective in the Iowa caucus – especially with people visiting from out of state.    

At least those of us outside of New Hampshire don’t have to wait up until midnight to vote.  New Hampshire State Motto: “The exhausted voter state!”

And I have no idea what the folks in Guam and the US Virgin Islands do.  Do they vote?  I’m pretty sure they’re US citizens.  Right?  Well, whatever they are, at least they’ve got that sunny weather.  I’d trade them that for my three Oregon votes in a heartbeat. 

Well, I need to wrap this up.  My Uncle Igor is calling me from the back room.  He says he needs help filling out his ballot.   

Got a moment? Please do me a favor – comment and share!

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It’s a Three Minute Vacation for your Brain.

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And-

Check out these great books:

The Lawyer’s Song: Navigating the legal wilderness

https://buff.ly/2K41Tax

Seven Rules for the College Playground –

https://buff.ly/2IqXxgn

Seven Secrets You Need to Know to Hire the Right Lawyer –

https://buff.ly/2roFIov

How to Survive a Natural Disaster (Spoiler: You’ll Need to Steal a Bucket)

I live in Oregon.  Our state’s proud motto: “Shivering in the rain ‘til the Big One hits!”  It could be an earthquake.  It could be a volcano.  Whatever it is, it’s going to be BIG.  According to all the super smart eggheads at Oregon State University (the kind of people who only laugh at calculous jokes), the Pacific Northwest gets a major earthquake every 350 years.  And guess what?  Yeah, it’s been 350 years! 

Lucky for me, I work in a 100-year-old building that is about as earthquake proof as my Aunt Betty’s china cabinet.

But hey, we could get lucky.  We might only suffer the cataclysmic effects of a Volcanic eruption shooting out molten lava raining down on our melting faces.  We’ve got a string of gigantic mountains running up from California all the way to British Columbia.  These mountains have been percolating like coffee pots since the 1950s.  Any one of them could blow at any moment. 

True narcissistically important fact: I am a volcano survivor.  When Mount St. Helens blew its top in 1980, I lived about 100 miles south.  I personally dusted volcanic ash off my Datsun B210 hatchback the next morning.  I’m not trying to say that you should consider me a hero, but if you insist….

The government keeps telling us we each need a survival plan.  But I’ve been too busy watching critically acclaimed programing such as Dancing with the Stars and America’s Got Talent to ACTUALLY create a survival plan.  So, imagine my luck when employees of Farmers Insurance recently moved into my building. 

Guess what?  Yeah, leave it to an insurance company to have a survival plan.  A REAL, honest to goodness survival plan!

But brace yourself, because it’s a little weird. Here it is –

You got it!  Survival buckets!  This NOT a joke.  I am NOT making this up.  They moved in with their survival buckets.   

Every bucket contains the following –

When I discovered the Farmer’s Survival Buckets, I didn’t hide my intentions.  I am NOT the kind of guy who would hide my intentions.  However, I am the kind of guy who would steal someone else’s bucket.  I told the Farmers employees, “Look, I’m going to be honest with you.  At the first sign of trouble, I’m going to yell, ‘Everybody for themselves,’ and I’m going to grab one of your survival buckets and get the “H” “E” double toothpicks out of here.  So, you need to modify your survival plan and prepare to be one bucket short.”

As a result of finally having a survival plan, I have found that I am much more relaxed.  My blood pressure is down.  I feel less anxious.  I’ve regained a spring in my step.  Although, I must say, my newfound friends from Farmers Insurance suddenly seem a little on edge.

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Also-

Check out these great books:

The Lawyer’s Song: Navigating the legal wilderness

https://buff.ly/2K41Tax

Seven Rules for the College Playground –

https://buff.ly/2IqXxgn

Seven Secrets You Need to Know to Hire the Right Lawyer –

https://buff.ly/2roFIov