by John Delach
Practicality: The sensible use of dealing with or coming to terms with an unexpected, unusual or extraordinary situation or opportunity. Historical example: The Louisiana Purchase. Thomas Jefferson was opposed to westward expansion but when the French offered their legitimate claim to 867,000 square miles west of the Mississippi River for a bargain basement price of $15,000,000, Tom jumped on it. Practicality won out.
Item Number One: The Practical Author
“Fire and Fury” is currently the hottest book in the publishing world. Hyped as a tell-all of supposedly salacious insider stories, it portrays the Donald Trump White House as more akin to “One Flew Over the Coco’s Nest,” “All the President’s Men,” and “The Pentagon Papers” rolled into one. This tell-all phenomenon from the pen of Michael Wolff is flying off bookshelves at warp speed.
In the interest of clarity, I note the full title of Mr. Wolff’s book is, “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House.” I make this distinction because The New York Times recently reported that the book’s abbreviated title is causing confusion with another Fire and Furious, written a decade ago.
That book was authored by Randall Hansen, a Canadian professor who is currently the interim director of the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs. The complete name of Professor Hansen’s book is: “Fire and Fury: The Allied Bombing of Germany, 1942-1945.” The Times noted this about Hansen’s book: “It is highly critical of the British-led nighttime firebombing of German cities, finding it both morally dubious and of little strategic value.”
Apparently, Hansen’s book is enjoying a popular resurrection on Amazon’s best-seller list. Hansen noted to The Times: “I don’t know how much of this is a mistake and how much of this is from new interest created by free advertising., There might be some returns.”
The Times included a mild shot he took at Trump, but the Toronto Guardian provided a juicer quotation: “And we are talking about that at a moment when we have this warmongering, unstable, deranged demagogue in the White House, so that coincidence actually makes me happier than the sales.”
Unfortunately, Hansen’s self-proclaimed moral superiority over The Donald prevents him from enjoying the practicality of a return from oblivion and the profitability of renewed sales. Other authors would crave this unexpected windfall and a new opportunity to get your own message across without lifting a finger. Most would be satisfied to proclaim: “I should be so lucky.”
Item Number Two: A Free Lunch
There is no such thing as a free lunch.
Nothing is certain except death and taxes.
Usually, when we receive invitations to free lunches, they are produced by folks who want us to give them control of our life savings in return for a piece of chicken. Think about it, when was the last time an attorney asked you to lunch, must less, a doctor. Attorneys, especially, elder care shylocks should be an opportunity for free-bees, but who wants to delve into their financial problems and the extent of their dysfunctional family in the company of other seniors?
As for doctors, I’ve never met even one who offered to take me out to lunch. I believe that there are times when that would be a humanistic gesture, especially by your proctologist. (A lousy cocktail wouldn’t hurt either.)
Most of my offers for free lunches come from money managers, estate planners or other financial advisors. That was until received a slick flyer from my friend, Geoff Jones that came to his home on St. Simons Island, Georgia. The top of the flyer proclaimed:
CONSIDERING CREMATION/ JOIN US FOR A
& INFORMATIONAL SEMINAR
The brochure offered two different venues on the island, Coastal Kitchen and Catch 228. Geoff, noted at the top of the flyer: “I think it’s curious that two pretty good eateries got involved with this.”
The flyer makes sensible points explaining that they’ll discuss the benefits of preplanning, affordable options, veteran benefits and a travel & relocation protection plan. The folks who put this together must have realized that the flyer wasn’t enough to generate the response they desired. The problem: Is offering a free lunch at a nice restaurant enough to entice people to deal with a difficult and put-off subject?
They chose to sweeten the deal by including an incentive on the left-hand corner of the flyer, the place the eye naturally sees first:
For Your Chance to
WIN A FREE
7-DAY CRUISE FOR TWO
That is practicality at its best. Embrace the inevitable yet get a free lunch in the process plus the chance for a 7-day cruise.