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August 28, 2015

Seinfeld: George’s parents get a vow renewal

Filed under: Sit-Coms — Tags: — admin @ 11:09 am

Frank & Estelle: George’s parents get a notarized vow renewal.

FRANK: It says here that a Notary can perform a Wedding and that such a Notary licensed to do such an act is referred to as a Wedding Officient.

ESTELLE: Read the fine print where it says that Notary’s can only perform such act in Maine, South Carolina and Florida.

GEORGE: Don’t you guys have a condo you can stay at down in Florida? You could have it done there.

FRANK: We’re not going all the way down to Florida now. We are just getting a vow renewal notarized. Anyone can do that. It is just a glorified Oath.

GEORGE: What’s the point? You’re happily married. You nag each other about everything. What could be better? I would say, if it ain’t broke, why fix it?

ESTELLE: It’s for sentimental reasons. We can get all dressed up in our wedding outfits, appear before a Notary, and state our vows again. How romantic.

GEORGE: (mumbling something) Sounds… great… I guess.

(back in the city)

KRAMER: You’re never going to believe this. I’m getting a second job as a riding instructor! It’s a great way to meet women. I never knew how much women loved horses until I went to this ranch. Gidde up!

GEORGE: Second job? What’s your first job? Since when do you work?

KRAMER: I’m a pastry taster. I’m a trained connoisseur. They call me the sommelier of pastry in the Village.

JERRY: (Rolling his eyes around.) Well, if they pay you… So, George, what’s new with you?

GEORGE: My parents.

JERRY: Oh… (unenthusiastically) What about them?

GEORGE: They’re getting this vow renewal thing done. I don’t really understand what it’s about. I referred them to this guy I know who is a Notary who can do the job.

KRAMER: Oh, that’s wonderful! I’d like to have that done too — if I were married. I’d do it every year!

JERRY: I don’t understand what the big deal is about. But, if they want it, they want it.

(back in the parent’s home)

NOTARY: May I see the document and your ID please?

FRANK: We don’t have a document.

NOTARY: You dragged me all the way out here without a document?

GEORGE: The document dad, you’ve gotta have a document. You told me you would write one up.

ESTELLE: Well, we didn’t think over what we were going to say. We were spending too much time on our outfits. How do we look? Does this dress make me look fat?

GEORGE: No, not a bit mom.

NOTARY: Well, you’ve gotta have a document, or at least some wording that I can perform an Oath on.

FRANK: You mean we invited twelve of our closest friends, spent 98 dollars and 12 cents on hors d’ouvres, and we can’t get notarized without a document?

GEORGE: You gotta have a document. And preferably current identification too.

ESTELLE: I don’t need identification. I don’t drive.

NOTARY: This is going to be a long day. I charge a travel fee plus waiting time you know.

FRANK: And we owe him this too. We — are unprepared!

ESTELLE: I guess your training in the army has worn off.

FRANK: You can say that again!

GEORGE: Well, why don’t we just write a little something up now. Do you have any paper?

FRANK: I have this expensive party napkin your mother forced me to buy at the party store. Each one cost 77 cents if I calculate correctly.

GEORGE: Well, then it will be a very expensive Oath. Better yet, let me call Kramer… (ring ring)

KRAMER: You need a wedding vow renewal Oath? Just look one up on Google. They have tons of them there. Whoa horsy.

GEORGE: You’re talking on the phone while you’re riding?

KRAMER: There’s no law against it. You should just avoid texting while galloping. They have a thing about that over here on the ranch.

GEORGE: You just be careful. And could you bring us over some leftover pastries while you’re at your 1st job?

KRAMER: You got it.

FRANK: This vow you printed out is perfect.

ESTELLE: I’ll start.

Good evening everyone. All of you look terrific. My name is Estelle, and before me is a New York State Notary Public, but not a wedding officiant. We gather here to renew our life-cycle celebrant. It is my honor to be present at this vow renewal. Before we begin, please make sure to turn your phone ringers on full blast, so if someone’s phone rings, we know who to blame. Please rise.

One of the wonderful things about vow renewals is that they also serve as a multi-family reunion. Let us honor the parents in this event… Unfortunately, they couldn’t make it. Let us honor the children in this event.

Now, Groom and Groom, I now ask that we read this excerpt from Plato’s symposium… Groom and Groom? Georgie.. where did you get this script from?

GEORGE: The internet mom. I thought we were in a hurry, so I got the first script I could get my hands on.

FRANK: No problem, just have the Notary read it, and where it says Groom and Groom, change it to Bride and Groom, or Groom and Bridge. Whichever he likes better.

(10 minutes later)

NOTARY: Please raise your right hands — So, do you Frank take Estelle as your renewed Bride, and to honor her and cherish her forever and ever and ever, so long as you shall both live?

FRANK: Even into the afterlife — if there is one.

NOTARY: And do you Estelle, take Frank as your renewed Groom, and will honor, cherish, obey, and love him so long as you both shall life?

ESTELLE: I do, but he is supposed to obey me, and I’m not so sure about all of this afterlife mumbo-jumbo.

NOTARY: I now pronounce you renewed husband and wife. You may kiss the other Groom… I mean the Bride. Boy, this script keeps you on your toes!

ESTELLE: Now, it’s cake time! We had our cake made to look like a Jurat. Guess what piece you are getting Mr. Notary?

NOTARY: Ummm

ESTELLE: You get the Venue!

NOTARY: Oh… It’s wonderful, but I think the county is Queens here not New York.

ESTELLE: Once you’ve had a few shots of rum, you won’t know the difference. Drink up!

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August 27, 2015

Holiday small gifts and notes to clients?

Filed under: Marketing Articles — Tags: — admin @ 11:08 am

Many of the more professional notaries out there give small gifts to clients. We get a few mini-calendars, magnetic business cards, and once in a while cookies. The question is, should you give small gifts for the holidays? As far as I know, in business, you need to create and maintain positive relationships with your clients in general. You should call them up from time to time just to maintain the connection and keep your name fresh in their head. You might send them a birthday card just to show that you remembered. Holidays are yet another opportunity to show that you value the relationship.

When I hire programmers, I often buy them a bottle of wine, or take them out to dinner. I don’t do this every month, but once or twice a year I might do something for them. My experience has shown that it is better to do a little something four times a year. To stay in someone’s good graces, their attitude becomes much better within about 60 days of your last gift. After this, their attitude slowly goes back to their normal (sometimes mediocre or bad) attitude slowly after the 60 day mark. So, you want to catch them around the 90 day mark and please them again with some other thoughtful gesture to keep that attitude good. It is not much different from blowing air in a balloon that has a slow leak. You have to keep putting more air in it, but the timing is everything!

So, the answer is, that yes, you should give small gifts to your clients. You might even give them a quick personal visit so they can see your face. People in this business don’t always see other people’s faces, and they will remember you a lot more if they see yours.

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August 26, 2015

Do you use a Notary embosser?

Filed under: Technical & Legal — Tags: , , — admin @ 11:07 am

I read a discussion on Linked In about using an embosser for Notary work. I realize that I used to write about this a lot long time ago. Perhaps it has been since 2010 or 2011 since I have written about using an embosser. Here is what you need to know.

(1) Each state has its own rules about using seals and embossers. Some states don’t even require using a Notary Seal. I personally feel that it is not professional for a notary not to use a Seal and a Journal for all transactions regardless of what their state’s standards are. I have not heard of a state prohibiting the use of seals and or journals, although many make it optional. If you need to query a critical record for a Deed for a million dollar property, that will be impossible if you don’t keep a sequential journal!

Some states allow the use of a secondary non-inked embosser. Ask your state notary division if your state allows this. California allowed the use of an inked seal, and supplemental use of a non-inked embosser when I was a California Notary Public. As a general rule, if you are allowed to use an embosser as a primary seal, it must be inked. However, I recommend using it as a secondary seal because it doesn’t fit in small places, the text is round and hence harder to read, etc.

(2) Embossers help to deter fraud.
The correct use of an embosser as a secondary notary seal is to emboss each page of every document you notarize. That way frauds will think twice about switching pages after the fact which is a common crime.

(3) Embossers help to identify fraud
If someone is stupid and decides to commit fraud by Xeroxing a notarized document, the embosser’s three dimensional raised impression will not show up in the photocopy. Additionally, if a page is swapped, you can easily identify that page by its lack of an embossed impression

(4) Embossers don’t deter fraud unless you use them on every page of every document you notarize. If you get an embosser later in your career, make a notation in your journal of the date when you started using it, and keep notes in subsequent journals of when you started using it. The notes go in the COVER of the journal where you can’t miss it. That way, if any of your notarizations are investigated, you will have easy to query records of when you were using an embosser and when you weren’t. And remember, if you only use it on some documents, if a fraud is committed, you won’t remember if you used your embosser or not, so use it on every document and on all pages, no matter how many pages.

(5) Some people like to put the embosser through all the pages of a document all at once at a particular part of the document. This technique would make it obvious if someone used a forged embosser after the fact. The location and nature of the impression of the embosser would be different and lighter on each page that it went through. I didn’t use this technique because the impression would not be legible if it went through more than several pages. I did each page separately. Some notaries even put the embosser at the edge of the paperwork so only half of the embosser’s seal goes through the paper and the other half goes through air.

(6) The NNA and other notary supply companies can help you purchase an embosser. They cost around $30 when I was a Notary. They might be more now. You might need a letter of authorization from your state notary division to purchase one. Good luck!

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August 25, 2015

Notary – Talk the Talk

Filed under: Ken Edelstein — admin @ 10:35 am

Notary – Talk the Talk
“It’s better to remain silent and have people wonder if you are foolish; rather than to speak and let them know for sure”.

Well, silence may be golden; but we can’t do our jobs by remaining silent. We have to talk to people, many people. It’s easy to appear foolish; and just as easy to avoid that moniker. Ever notice that when a police officer testifies in a courtroom they ask permission to refer to their notes. They are trained note takers. They do not rely on distant memories; certainly not when relating distinct facts under oath! Their training teaches them to avoid assumptions, something many notaries do.

Have you ever said “we will be meeting at 123 Sunset Avenue”, or similar. Only to receive a reply “that’s not correct, my address is 132 Sunset Avenue”. You, the notary, appeared foolish. You took the address on the confirmation to be correct, and were attempting to verify it. But your verbiage did not really express what you were doing. Better to say: My assignment sheet has your address as 123 Sunset Avenue, I would like you to confirm or correct that information. Bozo you. Now when you arrive, there is a cloud over your competence. Rightly so, the first thing you said, with such clarity and confidence to them was wrong.

You come to form 4506-T, Request for Transcript of Tax Return. At the bottom, the form requests both the borrower and spouse to sign. Susan Gray and Tom Gray are before you. Tom is the borrower. Do you ask Susan to sign as spouse? If so, you are making an assumption. One, as the lawyers would say is “not in evidence”. Perhaps they are not married. I have had this situation where they were brother and sister. Politely mentioning that there is an area for Tom’s spouse to sign and asking Susan if she is spouse to Tom is a better approach. It’s your job to see that the 4506-T is completed correctly. To do so, you must be sure of the facts; ask, don’t assume.

Ever “blow” an assignment because you “forgot it”? It’s a cardinal sin for a signing agent. There is no excuse whatsoever. I use a triple entry system. First as much information as possible is logged into the logbook, every bit of information from the initial conversation with, lets say, the Title company. Next, an entry is made on my calendar, with the time and location. A quick glance at the calendar tells me if I can accept an incoming assignment – because I know where I will be at that time. When the related email arrives it is compared to both the logbook and the calendar. If there are discrepancies, it’s time for a phone call or two to set my records straight.

Much has been written about mistakes “of the hand”. Ones where we write something incorrectly. It’s easy to flip today’s date with our commission expiration date. But that would be easily picked up when double checking the package, if done slowly and carefully. The real issue here is far more subtle. Mistakes of the mind. Whenever possible, facts should be verified with the source. Only the borrower knows for sure the meeting location and the correct spelling of their name.

If this aint your “first rodeo” you know that errors are passed along to you. The folks upstream, in their hurry to process many packages make mistakes. It’s different with us. We must take the time to “get it right”, or appear incompetent to many who depend on us. I know, it’s a bit of a burden to verify the facts. But, doing so in a calm, polite, and highly organized manner can avoid “riding around looking for someone at 123 Sunset Avenue”. Talk the talk, professionally, and get the facts.

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August 24, 2015

Answering questions the way they were asked

Filed under: Marketing Articles — Tags: — admin @ 10:49 am

Most Notaries can’t answer a simple question without rambling. Additionally, few Notaries can answer a question the way it was asked. It shows a lack of discipline to answer a question differently than the way it was asked.

ME: How many loans have you signed?

NOTARY #1: Oh Gosh, I don’t know. (chuckle) Hmm, I never counted.

———————–

ME: How many loans have you signed?

NOTARY #2: You mean in the last year?

ME: No, how many loans have you signed uses the present perfect which means in your life according to the rules of English grammar.

NOTARY #2: Oh, (chuckle) lots.

ME: I’m filling in a form that has room for numbers, not vague rhetoric. Can you think of a number?

NOTARY #2: I have no idea, I’ve been doing this for years.

————————-

ME: How many loans have you signed?

NOTARY #3: Well, I used to be an Escrow Agent before I was a Notary, and I did that for 20 years, and then I became a Notary, and have signed loans for several months, so if you put the two together, I must have signed thousands, except as an Escrow officer I was working alongside the Notary so I didn’t technically sign the loans myself as a Notary.

ME: I’m trying to put a number in a box, and the story you are telling me does not furnish me with any pertinent information that I can put in that box.

NOTARY #3: Well, let me think about it, I signed two yesterday and three the day before that.

ME: Oh God.

NOTARY #3: Are you being rude?

ME: Well, I asked a simple question and you start telling me your life story. All I asked for was a # of loans signed. Is that so difficult?

———————————

ME: How many loans have you signed?

NOTARY #4: 1306

ME: Oh, you counted.

NOTARY #4: I have a software system which tracks all of my jobs. I am up to job #1306. I will be doing #1307 tomorrow.

ME: How refreshing, a Notary who can answer a simple question the way it was asked, without exasperating me and without rambling for ten minutes. You are a true professional.

NOTARY #4: Gee thanks! Do you have a job for me?

ME: Sorry, we are a directory, not a signing company. But, I can help you get more jobs from signing companies.

NOTARY #4: Never mind, I thought you were a signing company. I have to go.

ME: Oh, how shortsighted. Never mind. I won’t help you!

———————————

See how frustrating it is talking to 300 notaries every month when hardly any of them can answer simple questions without pulling teeth? If you want people to think you are a professional, just answer the questions asked to you with NO rambling, and answer the questions the way they were asked.

What counties do you cover?
Placer and El Dorado = good answer.
Not: well, I go to most parts of Placer, unless it is snowing in which case I just won’t go out at all, and if I am high, then I only go ten miles becuase I don’t want to get stopped by the cops, and I like traveling to Sacramento county, but not if it is in the bad section of town…. ramble, ramble ramble.

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August 23, 2015

Tactics and Weapons

Filed under: Ken Edelstein — admin @ 10:51 am

Tactics and Weapons
Sounds like preparing for war? Well, let’s be frank. There is an ongoing war, and it’s between notaries for a limited amount of assignments. To fight this war, and win the jobs; you need to hone your Tactics and select appropriate Weapons. Of course we are not directly engaged in violence among notaries. Our fight is one of image. The notary that “appears” to be the most qualified – gets the job. Tactics in this dissertation are the procedures leading to the goals to be accomplished; Weapons are used to facilitate achieving those goals.

All other things being equal, the smarter general defeats the less intellect. Similarly, the one with “6 shooters” defeats the single shot flintlocks. Enough introduction, time to put these concepts into practice and get your phone ringing.

The first goal is being the most easy to reach notary possible. The Tactic is to present your contact information at multiple levels. The first Weapon in your arsenal is the humble business card. Distribute widely, Doing an edoc in an office building? Hand one to the lobby security guard. Do the same for apartment houses, doctor offices, and every other place. Web sites are cheap, create a good one. Most internet service providers that host sites have easy to use tools that assist in creating decent web sites. Pay the generally trivial fees and register on the various notary web sites. They pay per click to attract seekers of notary services. That’s a start.

Prospective clients will generally try to reach you via email or phone. Your cell phone is where the calls will come in. Is it modern and able to use the newer, more penetrating frequencies? If the signal is weak at your home, consider a signal booster. It’s illegal and dangerous to use a cell phone while driving without a fully automatic Bluetooth device. Another weapon in your arsenal should be a small tape recorder (I know, they are mostly “solid state”) to record the details rather than attempting to take notes while driving. General Patton had a gun on each hip, two guns. You should have two cell phones. One for voice, one for email; that allows you to look at an email while talking about it to your client. Carry in the car 12v charger cable(s), or a spare battery.
Now that you can communicate effectively, you need the skills to be able to handle virtually any legal request; that is goal two. Your Tactics include total mastery of appropriate laws, and the methodology to process unusual and complex requests. Weapons? The key one is diligence in being a never ending student. Nobody knows it all. However, many have shared their skills and knowledge on the various notary oriented web sites. Spend a few hours each week sifting thru the “I never got paid” griping to find the golden procedural tutorials, tips and advice.
Goal three is being a better you. Solicit a variety of frank and factual opinions about how you conduct yourself. The Tactics for self improvement vary, but certainly include introspection of your personality and “bearing”. The Weapons vary from professional psychological help in extreme cases, to just accepting the feedback of others. Few bother to ask how they could have done better with their interpersonal skills.

The notary that wins the assignment battle is reachable, knows their stuff, and is a pleasure to work with. You can be sure your competition is actively working to surpass you in each aspect.

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August 22, 2015

Late August: Signing Company Gossip

Filed under: Signing Company Gossip — admin @ 10:25 am

Here is some more signing company gossip!

Great Lakes Settlement
http://www.123notary.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=6802
One Notary claims it took six months to get paid..

Premiere Notary Service
http://www.123notary.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=5739
At the 60 day mark, they called me for yet another signing.

#1 Notary Signing Services
http://www.123notary.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=6908
“I love these guys”

Timios Title
http://www.123notary.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=4907
“I love Timios… I don’t like the new mass emailing system they have…”

Notary Direct
http://www.123notary.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=2103
“I don’t mind working with them….” says one notary who likes the company but doesn’t like one of their agents!

Signature Closers OH
http://www.123notary.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=4901
Payment comes the 5th of the next month, even if the job is done the 30th of the last month…

.

You might also like:

2014 absolute best signing services
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=10544

You could get sued if you don’t have a business license
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=7100

Companies that will hire new signers!
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=7059

If a pizza can get there in 30 minutes or less, why not a Notary?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=8699

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August 21, 2015

Big Bang Theory: Notarizing a discovery about string theory

Filed under: Sit-Coms — admin @ 11:06 am

RAJ: We have to get our latest discovery notarized.

SHELDON: How can you notarize a discovery?

LEONARD: Well, perhaps we should patent it at least. To be on the safe side.

RAJ: Yeah, there are people out there who steal inventions all the time.

SHELDON: Our’s hasn’t even been thoroughly tested. And it is so complicated that even we don’t understand it. So, how is a patent thief supposed to understand it?

RAJ: I was so paranoid I didn’t think that part over. But, our “lost electron syndrome” discovery is so critical, maybe to be safe.

PENNY: Oh, I’m sure your electron will show up somewhere. They always do.

SHELDON: Penny, I don’t know if you realize how important our discovery is. We’ve been reading for decades about how Newtonian Physics has been questioned, and how matter can really be created and destroyed. However, very few physicists have actually seen actual matter disappear, especially under the circumstances that we did. We added emotion to our physics experiment. We played happy music and started dancing around the room all joyfully. And an electron disappeared. I counted them — I know.

PENNY: You counted electrons? I should try that!

RAJ: Yeah, I think she should. It’s a good idea. I do that sometimes when I’m bored, or want to practice my powers of observation. I’m calling the Notary… (ring ring)

NOTARY: Arnie’s Notary, Arnie speaking, may I help you?

RAJ: Hello Arnie. You see, we have this discovery we need notarized. How do we exactly get this done?

NOTARY: You need a statement and an ID. The statement is up to you. It must be written up, and include the name of the signer in it if you require an Acknowledged signature. Or you can do a sworn Oath with a Jurat statement. It’s up to you.

RAJ: Either way. I’ll type one up now.

(10 minutes later)

RAJ: Hello Mr. Arnie. Yes, I typed up the document about the discovery. I would like us all to sign it, so I included all of our three names in the text of the document and also in the signature area. And, yes, we all have ID’s, although we seem to be missing an electron.

NOTARY: Oh, no wonder. The funniest thing happened to me yesterday. After a busy day of notarizing, I was watching TV, and you’d never believe what happened?

RAJ: So tell me?

NOTARY: An electron just showed up out of nowhere.

RAJ: Nowhere? An electron. Hold on. Let me get Sheldon. He says he was watching TV and an electron appeared out of nowhere.

SHELDON: Well, do you think it was our electron?

RAJ: How can you tell one electron from another?

NOTARY: Well, I asked the electron for identication just like I do with everyone else. But, it just whizzed around. To me they all look the same.

LEON: Fascinating. That might be our electron.

RAJ: Maybe we should put up a flyer in the halls saying, “Lost electron. Reward if found.”

NOTARY: Before you do that, I’ll be down at your lab to notarize your statement. $30 travel fee and $10 per signature. Cash only! Pay the travel fee up front just in case your ID’s are missing just like your marble.. I mean your electrons.

SHELDON: Oh, one more thing. We’ll have to put you in a bio-hazard suit before entering the lab.

NOTARY: My fee schedule specifically mentions that I charge $5 extra for each time I put on a bio-hazard outfit, but removal is at no cost as a courtesy to the client.

SHELDON: Deal.

PENNY: Oh, this is so exciting. Can I put on a bio-hazard suit too?

LEON: I don’t think they come in matching colors.

PENNY: Then never mind.

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August 20, 2015

Doomsday Notarization; Hebrew style notarization on Tesha B’Av!

Filed under: Drama & Tragedy — admin @ 10:30 am

I used to get a call once a year from a Jewish organization who wanted to offer me advertising for my notary business. They suggested the idea of Kosher notarizations. I suggested that in my neighborhood it might need to be Glatt Kosher. Then they said, “What’s that?” I guess they are not that eduated about Judaism at the Jewish newspaper. Maybe it is more of a social club for them and less of a religion.

But, on a more serious note, a Jewish lady went to Kabbalah center to learn the myseries of the universe. She had a consultation with the astrologer there who gave her a very stern warning . “Do not notarize on the 9th of Av…. terrible things will happen!” Now, our Notary lady was not a very religious person. She didn’t know her Hebrew months, especially not the infamous month of Av. But, this warning got her all worried. So, she got a Hebrew calendar and found out when the 9th of Av was.

By the way, for our readers who don’t follow the Hebrew (or Chinese) calendars, the Hebrew calendar is Lunar, and dates in the Hebrew calendar fall on different dates in the Western calendar each year. The 9th of Av might show up in early August one year and in late July the next. Unfortunately, our lady friend found out that the 9th of Av was July 15th. However, her calendar was for 2013, and the signing was Aug 5th 2014. Needless to say her signing went fine. But, then she had another signing on the 4th of August, 2014 late at night. The signing was terrible.

Our Notary who I will call “Judy” got to the signing just fine. But, once she got to the signing, there was thunder, and bolts of lightening flew from the sky. It suddenly started to rain. She went to the house, but the signers were not there. The evil children of the signer were there. The children were in their twenties and into gothic stuff. They wore weird make up and looked like they were out of a horror movie. The Notary got freaked out and tried to leave, but the driveway and road were both flooded. So, she was stuck with those ghoulish people for eight hours in complete terror.

Just for your information, Tesha B’Av or the 9th of Av is the worst month in the Hebrew calendar. It is infamous. The Holocaust started on this day, and many other catastrophes such as the destruction of the 2nd temple also happened on this day. Many other calamities in the world happened on this day which you can read about on Wikipedia!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tisha_B’Av

Whether you are Christian, Jewish, or a Raja Yogi who goes to the forest to meditate for weeks at a time, you are still very negatively affected by this horrifying day. So, try to stay pure and do blessings of any type that you are accustomed to in order to keep the energy as positive as possible on this day that attracts horrific negativity. I kid you not. Read about it and see for yourself!

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August 19, 2015

A Notary wants to move to a town with character, not characters.

Filed under: Humorous Posts — admin @ 10:58 am

Poor Joe. He wanted to move, but he moved to the wrong place. He told the Real Estate Broker he wanted to move to a town with character. Since he was a mobile notary, he drove around a lot and wanted to see quaint old homes with traditional architecture. The broker found him a nice little town, but it was more than he had expected.

So, Joe bought a house that seemed nice. He didn’t bother to get to know the neighbors before he had paid up for the house. That was a mistake. Finally, now that Joe was moved in, he met his next door neighbor.

JOE: Hi, I’m your new neighbor.

NEIGHBOR: Hi, I’m Lance. By the way, do you smoke? Do you have an extra cigarette?

JOE: Oh, do you smoke?

NEIGHBOR: No, I don’t. A voice told me to ask you for a cigarette.

JOE: I see. Well, tell the voice that I don’t have any cigarettes.

NEIGHBOR: Do you ever hear voices?

JOE: I think we all hear voices.

Next, Joe met the other neighbor on the other side.

JOE: Hi, I just met my neighbor to the right. Now, I wanted to meet my neighbor on the other side.

CATHY: How did you know I was already on the other side.

JOE: Oh God. It is like an insane asylum, where the inmates are housed in normal looking houses. Is everyone in this town insane?

CATHY: We are not insane. We are just… different.

JOE: You can say that again.

CATHY: It is well known that our town has always attracted different types. Are you from far away?

JOE: About half an hour. I never heard any rumors about this place.

CATHY: That is because nobody lives to tell them!

JOE: Ummm, I think it is time to put up the for sale sign. Boy, am I going to lose a huge commission.

CATHY: You won’t lose a commission if you are on the other side!

FRANK: Hi neighbor. They just opened a 20th hardware store in town. Most towns have only one or two, but we have twenty.

JOE: This is crazy. I’m leaving.

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