Archive for November, 2019

From an interview in Edge Magazine (, Tom Hanks made this comment about his character of Forrest Gump:

“He lived at the speed of common sense. I think we’d all love to do that, but Forrest did it every day of his life.”

What happens when someone is told that there is no legal remedy to their problem? What about losing a court case and even worse, losing on appeal? So much effort gone into hoping that the problem can be resolved only to find, like in a disease, there is no cure. So what is the person left with? Grief.

Very recently I started working as a paralegal in a law office. As I walked through the waiting area, I noticed how clients had the same looks on their faces that I’ve seen in doctors and hospital waiting rooms. Sitting there, they are hoping that the person down the hall can provide them with a legal solution to their “sickness”. Usually, one goes to an attorney to resolve a problem that has greatly impacted them. Except for the drafting of contracts or Wills, most of these cases have upended a person’s life: Threats of eviction, contesting a Will, declaring a relative incompetent, or needing to sue someone for pain and suffering inflicted. Really not a happy place to be!

I’ve seen this personally with a neighbor who had her dog attacked and killed by another dog. She was devastated. She was angry. She didn’t just want money to replace the dog, she wanted something for her pain and suffering, for her loss. Her grief was deep, she had lost not just a pet but a comfort animal. I advised her to engage a lawyer and see what the law could do for her. Unfortunately, she discovered that all she could sue for was for the replacement value of the animal. And that would entail costly legal fees she couldn’t afford. Her grief now doubled because the closure she thought she could find had vaporized.

So what can be done to help a person who is now in this state of “legal grief”? If the person’s attorney is a caring individual, maybe a session talking with he/she could be a form of therapy. However, attorneys are not trained in that way of relating to clients. Should the person seek a therapist for help? Are there any therapists who could understand this unique form of grief and know how to work the person through it? Legal grief might have all the same stages as regular grief but how would a therapist relate to the retelling of all the legal convolutions that led to the grief? Standard concepts of grief usually cover loss of people, jobs, body parts, etc. Other types of losses are out of the realm to be considered as something to grieve. Recall how people used to be brushed aside when they talked about the grief of losing their physical home. Then came 9/11 and the Twin Towers fell and the whole world realized you can grieve for the loss of a building! Indeed, the book of grief has many different chapters.

If anyone reading this has experienced this kind of grief, or encountered a therapist who understands it, I’d appreciate a reply to this post.

Would you be able to give an acceptance speech using only 5 words? Every year, the ceremony for the Webby Awards – the online equivalent to Oscars and Grammys-has this quirky rule regarding acceptance speeches. Award winners can use only five words upon accepting their awards!

This limitation leads to some highly creative verbal concoctions about their companies. Here are a few well-crafted ones from the past:

Lonely Planet Guidebooks:  “Love your country.  Leave it.”

Home and Garden Television Online: “Where paint drying is inspirational.”

E*Trade Financial: “Pleasure in paying bills… almost.” “New Zealand: More Than Hobbits!”

All four of these take a conventional idea related to their subject and twist it around for impact.

They resemble tag lines, the subheads that follow a business name on mastheads, business cards, billboards and other ads, where space is at a premium. The tag line must grab the reader’s attention quickly and explain what’s distinctive about the business in a compressed, catchy way.

Give it a try the next time you need to brainstorm a message. If you can do it in 5 words and get a positive reaction from the reader, you’ve hit the mark! Now if only Grammy, Emmy, and Oscar award winners would follow suit.