Last week, I bumped into an old friend from high school whom I hadn't seen in years. It was one of those awkward "chance encounters" that so many people have at a supermarket, or gas station, or restaurant. Or, in this particular case, the crowded parking lot at a shopping mall. I had just finished throwing the last JC Penny bag of back-to-school clothes into my minivan when my long-lost acquaintance pulled her shiny new Mercedes-Benz into the parking spot beside me. I put my head down and started looking for my keys, hoping that she wouldn't recognize me. Unfortunately, she did–and instantly started the same kind of one-sided conversation like we used to have in high school. After about 10 minutes of telling me how great her life is, and how great her attorney/husband and her three children are, and even the new grass in her back yard, she finally asked about me. "So," she asked, "What have you been up to?" Figuring that I had only 30 or so seconds before the guy who h...
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