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Once upon a time in Florida

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Once upon a time a Midwestern boy from Missouri (which is indeed in the Midwest, or what TV folks irritatingly refer to as “the Heartland”, though what heart they are talking about, nobody is quite sure) who dreamt of living near an ocean.

Now the Mississippi River, running right by his hometown of Saint Louis, Missouri, is a fine body of water. Quite deep in spots, and colorful in it’s own way. But as a child his family used to go visit Grandma. And unlike Grannies who live over the river and through the woods, this Granny lived on a beach. Where she rented surfboards, innertubes, floats and had a shell shop. The Midwestern boy and his Midwestern brother and sister always remembered summers on the Gulf of Mexico; ocean winds blowing, sand everywhere, the sound of surf day and night.

So after years of living and working in the Midwest, he decided to move to South Florida. It took him several years to get around to this. Just ask his friends, who figured he would just talk about it forever without doing anything about it. But finally he went on vacation, found a great apartment, signed a lease and came home to give notice at his job.

pinkshrub.jpg A month or so later he was living in the tropics. A great apartment, a great neighborhood. Just a few things were missing. His friends and family were all back in Saint Louis. And he didn’t have a job.

<> This was back in the days when President Dubya had just taken office. And the advertising industry – which had been going gangbusters up til then – suddenly started to slow down. Inexplicably clients were starting to slash budgets and hold off on projects. By the time he got to Florida and made the rounds to the companies that had promised either part time freelance or full time work, everyone was cutting back on staff. Not only in the South, but all over the country. Many of his friends and former coworkers back north were being “downsized.” Timing, they say, is everything.

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Well, if you are going to be unemployed, there’s nothing like doing it in a tropical paradise. Right?

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