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What's Your Epitaph?

And the end of the fight is a tomb stone white with the name of the late deceased
And an epitaph drear “A fool lies here who tried to hustle the east.”

-Rudyard Kipling

Do you ever give thought to the epitaph you want on your tomb stone? Or, do you ever wonder what your surviving relatives (always thought that was a strange connotation. Like they survived your dying?)?

Apparently the possibilities are wide open.

Here lies the body
of Jonathan Blake
Stepped on the gas
Instead of the brake.
Memory of an accident in a Uniontown, Pennsylvania cemetery

Here lays Butch,
We planted him raw.
He was quick on the trigger,
But slow on the draw.
In a Silver City, Nevada, cemetery

I was somebody.
Who, is no business
Of yours.
Someone determined to be anonymous in Stowe, Vermont

And my favorite,

"I told you I was sick!"
In a Georgia cemetery

On a more serious note, lately I think I know what mine may turn out to be, if I live that long. 

My wife and granddaughter (5 years old) talk about me a good bit. In a loving effort to help our granddaughter understand the people in her world, her grandmother will often explain other people’s behavior. I’m no exception. One evening, in anticipation of the coming morning – my granddaughter asked, “Will granddaddy Kim be here in the morning?” My wife explained, “No. He’ll leave early for work, before you are awake. He goes to work every day to make money so we can have food, a house and other nice things.” One morning early, I walked into the bedroom after my shower, to find them both snuggled into our bed. I dressed for work quietly, in the dark and heard them talking.

Granddaughter: There’s granddaddy Kim… in the dark.
Grandmother: Yes. He knew we would be resting and didn't want to bother us. He’s thoughtful like that. He’ll go down and feed the dogs and let them out, too. So they can run up and join us for a snuggle. Isn’t it nice of him to do that for us?

So, as I’m thinking about how my life is impacting others, I’m hearing my wife tell my grandchild that I am a thoughtful, considerate provider. I've worked hard to be a lot of things: an excellent salesperson, a reliable employee, successful in business, an able public speaker, etc. But here I am, looking from the point of view of my family and I find that I am seen in a different light.

Provider. Considerate. Thoughtful. 

Honestly, that is an epitaph, be it written on the stone above my grave or on the folds of the hearts of those who remember me, which I can live and die with.


"It is requisite for the relaxation of the mind that we make use, from time to time, of playful deeds and jokes."

-Thomas Aquinas


"When you plant lettuce, if it does not grow well, you
don't blame the lettuce. You look for reasons it is not
doing well. It may need fertilizer, or more water, or
less sun. You never blame the lettuce. Yet if we have
problems with our friends or family, we blame the other
person. But if we know how to take care of them, they will
grow well, like the lettuce. Blaming has no positive
effect at all, nor does trying to persuade using reason
and argument. That is my experience. No blame, no
reasoning, no argument, just understanding. If you
understand, and you show that you understand, you can
love, and the situation will change"
— Thich Nhat Hanh

Why Social Media is Different

"Traditional marketing focuses on what brands attempt to portray to consumers. Social media allows consumers to tell brands about themselves, while simultaneously increasing brand awareness by promoting interaction and a sense of community."

-Mary Rodgers, director of marketing communications, Cuisinart and Waring, at the 2010 Shopper Insights in Action Conference

Note: Thanks to Connie Chesner for sharing this with me. Visit her here.

Do You Know the US Postal Service Motto?

Since we are having some inclement weather, my brain was triggered to recall that there seemed to be (in the ancient recesses of my mind) a time when the Postal Service was a beacon of determination and perseverance. The mail WOULD be delivered. Wasn't there a motto to that effect???

The Answer:

Contrary to popular belief, the U.S. Postal Service has no "official motto."

The familiar sentence you are thinking of is this: “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”

This is commonly misidentified as the creed of our mail carriers, but actually it is just the inscription found on the General Post Office in New York City at 8th Avenue and 33rd Street.
Here's how the official Web site of the U.S. Postal Service describes the origin of the inscription.

This inscription was supplied by William Mitchell Kendall of the firm of McKim, Mead & White, the architects who designed the New York General Post Office. Kendall said the sentence appears in the works of Herodotus and describes the expedition of the Greeks against the Persians under Cyrus, about 500 B.C. The Persians operated a system of mounted postal couriers, and the sentence describes the fidelity with which their work was done. Professor George H. Palmer of Harvard University supplied the translation, which he considered the most poetical of about seven translations from the Greek.

Thank you InfoPlease for this wonderful information.


Power corrupts. Absolute power is kind of neat.  - John Lehman


Sometimes people are layered like that. There's something totally different underneath than what's on the surface. But sometimes, there's a third, even deeper level, and that one is the same as the top surface one. Like with pie.

  - Joss Whedon, Zack Whedon, Maurissa Tancharoen, and Jed Whedon


Late to bed and late to wake will keep you long on money and short on mistakes. - Aaron McGruder

Note: Mr. McGruder was surely speaking pre-QVC

Can Kim Come Out and Play?

"One of the most obvious facts about grownups to a child is that they have forgotten what it is like to be a child." - Randall Jarrell

I know many creative adults, and I think adults – as a whole – get a bad rap. We are creative, fun, innovative and playful creatures. The idea that adults, by virtue of their age and place in society, have lost the desire or ability to be playful and creative is bunk. Bunk I say!

Even the most conservative minded business professionals I know are ready to laugh and dream if given a moment to do so. Perhaps it is the fact that children who grow up must develop some ability to set aside play and work through periods of methodical and measureable activity that is seen and misunderstood as losing the child-like gleam of creativity. Just because we can suspend fantasy doesn’t mean we have lost it – or its power.

The perspective of a child might be that we are not willing or able to play, when in fact it may not be a smart time to lay aside work and reason for fancy. The challenge, for us as adults, isn’t so much to learn how to play. Our challenge is learning when to play (enough) and when to be serious and analytical – and even that statement isn’t right because good creativity is often hard, detailed work. The issue is about balance in how we spend our time, how we rest and relax, work and produce and remain energized spiritually.

Carl Jung reportedly scheduled time each day, for a period of years, to simply go outback of his home and play. This play allowed him to better free his inner creative self and in some measure reinforced the most profound pieces of his thinking – his work.

I guess I’m advocating that we give a little thought to how much time we are spending in the realms of the adult and child each week… I’m just saying.

3 Wise Public Speaking Tips

After one of my earliest public presentations had ended many people filed by and spoke words of appreciation and encouragement to me. After almost everyone else had left an elderly lady walked over to me and gave me some words of advice I have never forgotten.

“Young man,” she said, “You need a good job for a beginner. I have some advice for you, if you want it.”

I felt a little slighted, but told her I would welcome her feedback.

“Well,” she continued,” Remember three these three things: 1. Stand up so they can see you. 2. Speak up so they can hear you, and 3. Once you have said what you came to say, Shut Up. You did ok on the first two, but you kept talking too long tonight. Leave us a little room for thinking.”

Then she hugged me and shuffled off.

I eventually got over the injury she inflicted on my pride, but I have never gotten over her words. Time and again I have returned to those words.

1. Stand Up – there are numerous skills that the public speaker needs to master in order for our appearance to assist in our communication. We need to be seen as a part of the message we are communicating.

2. Speak Up – clearly spoken, well chosen words projected to the back of the room will always command attention.

3. Shut Up – Every day presentation should have a beginning, a middle and an end. The end should be as precise as the beginning and must always leave room for people to draw their own conclusions and do their own thinking.

Good advice for all of us who speak in public.