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Meet the Columnist

Columnist, Sheila Moss, is humor writer from  Tennessee. She writes  a weekly human interest column about daily life and the funny things that happen to everyone.

   She has written for  the Daily News of Kingsport,   Griffin Journal, Oakridge Now, Atlanta Woman Magazine, Aberdeen Examiner, Angleton Advocate,  and Smyrna AM, a supplement of the Murfreesboro Daily News Journal. She has been published by Voyageur Press, McGraw Hill, and the good folks at Guidepost Books.  Her articles have appeared in numerous anthologies and other publications, both in print and online.

    She is a former board member and past  Editor of  the, website of  the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, the oldest and largest professional organization for columnists. She is the Web Editor of Southern  and  a founder of the Southern Humorists writers' organization. She is writer, editor, and webmaster of

    To carry her weekly column in your newspaper, or to republish an article, please contact her. It's that easy. 

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Season of Giving & Taking...

The Season of Giving and Taking

Here it is, almost Christmas. Probably by now you are overcome with Christmas spirit; feeling generous, decorating your tree, and finishing up some last minute shopping before wrapping your gifts.

We only hope that you have not forgotten to make a charitable contribution to help your local criminal element. Yes, it is Christmas for crooks too, and there is nothing they enjoy more than busy, crowded, holidays when they
have so many additional opportunities to practice their trade.

Here are a few tips to help out these ambitious entrepreneurs and assure them of a successful holiday season:

When shopping, park your car in a dark area away from buildings or lights and make it more accessible to them. After all, itís Christmas. Have a heart! There is nothing a thief likes better than a dark area where he wonít be seen or noticed while practicing his craft.

Taking time to note what is going on around you when shopping is not necessary. Why be paranoid? Most likely the guy hanging around and talking on the cell phone is just another shopper and not a felon looking for a victim. He may even offer to help you carry your packages.

After shopping, just leave your packages inside the car and donít use up any valuable time to lock them in the trunk. Thieves love to window shop, and they might accidentally see something they like. You will also be providing them with the opportunity to break your car window when they find something worth stealing.

Cell phones, purses, and radar detectors make excellent gifts for thieves and unlike your ungrateful relatives, they wonít even mind that they are pre-used. Criminals will probably suspect that you may be away from the car for while shopping. Making a quick grab when opportunity knocks can absolutely make their day.

Small shopping areas are even better places to give away your valuables than large shopping malls where there may be security guards. Avoid malls and help a dishonest outlaw make a living. You might even leave your door unlocked and pretend you in such a rush that you forgot. Remember that a thief must do his shopping outside while you are shopping inside.

If you prefer donating cash instead of goods, carry large amounts of cash and never pay with checks or credit cards. Encourage timid pickpockets by leaving a purse dangling on your shoulder for easy snatching, or putting your wallet in a visible back pocket instead of an inside pocket. Cash cannot be traced or cancelled and pickpockets will greatly appreciate your thoughtfulness.

If you make it home without donating your purchases to a worthwhile culprit, wrap all your gifts and place them under the tree in front of the window where they can be see from outside. While you are out of the house enjoying
other holiday activities, industrious burglars can procure the gifts that are already wrapped for giving and thus assure their own family of a happy holiday.

If a good con artist sees nothing worth taking, perhaps he will come to your door asking for a donation for a needy charity, knowing that you will be in an especially generous mood at this time of the year. Donít embarrass him by
asked for identification or refusing to donate except to charities you know and trust. Give generously and help a con guy in need.

Yes, this is the time of year to support the low life of our society. Being an easy mark makes the lot of a lawbreaker much easier. With vigilant attention to carelessness, you can assure that the scum of the earth will not go without a merry Christmas. Please give generously and always remember, you too can be a victim of crime.

Copyright 2003 Sheila Moss

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