July 2017 - Notary Blog - Signing Tips, Marketing Tips, General Notary Advice - 123notary.com
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July 31, 2017

When a Title company lies to you

Filed under: Marketing Articles — admin @ 10:46 am

In real life, people lie. It is unethical, and should be avoided. After all, your actions determine the type of world you live in. Every time you perform an action, you should ask yourself, if everybody did what I am going to do, would that be the type of world I want to live in?

But, what types of lies do Title companies tell you? You would be surprised.

One Notary had an incident where she was told she forgot to put a stamp on a particular acknowledgment for a document. After checking her records for that particular loan, it turned out there was no document by that name in the package — she had been lied to! (gasp)

Another Notary was told that they did not need to have the borrowers sign the 1003 Universal Loan Application. There are multiple places to sign. After the fact that Notary got in trouble for not having it signed. If you get unusual instructions that don’t seem right, better get them in writing, or perhaps just rely on your instincts (if you have instincts — what am I a cat?)

One Notary keeps a copy of all the documents in a package on a flash drive to prove if a document wasn’t really in a particular package.

Once an Escrow officer with bubbly handwriting forged my signature and made a photocopy of my seal. I explained to the investigating officer that I don’t make bubbles to dot my i’s, and that it must have been done by a 19 year old girl in his office who goofed on something and had to get something notarized fast!

I heard that once a Title company claimed that a copy of the ID was not included in the package. Keep in mind that multiple hands touch loan documents at title companies, and it is possible for one of those hands to misplace a document in the shuffle.

Lost cashier’s checks? I always attach these to a piece of paper and put it in the front of the package so they won’t get lost. But, title companies still lose $10,000 checks. You just can’t just Mortgage professionals. Half of them are a bunch of dummies! And they normally fail my test too after they convince me how smart they are!

The truth is that you might be asked to go out free of charge to redo the document that you “missed.” What a corrupt way to con a Notary. I missed two seals in 4000 signings in my signing career. So, I might not believe them if they claimed I missed something. I triple checked my work. Only when there was a confusion on a day I was tired and running around like a chicken with its head cut off — that is the only time I might have made a mistake of some sort.

And by the way — it is illegal to send a loose Acknowledgment in the mail if it is stamped. It needs to be stapled to the document it is associated with.

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July 28, 2017

The Mafia Notary with the violin case (and wine)

Filed under: Humorous Posts — admin @ 9:04 am

There once was a Notary named Giuseppe. He liked to dress nice to signings. He wore a pinstriped suit, a white tie, a hat, and very shiny Italian shoes. He would even bring a nice bottle of wine from Piedmont, Italy to the signing with a case for several wine glasses.

But, Giuseppe always arrived at signings with a violin case. The borrowers asked if he was a musician. He said, that this was where he kept his Notary seal and pads of certificates. He also offered other services.

“Just let me know if you ever need a body to disappear. I know people who can make that happen — capiche? Or if you don’t want a credible witness to testify, I have ways of keeping people quiet – you know?”

The borrowers got creeped out by this character and complained one after another to the signing companies. But, the signing companies kept hiring Giuseppe because he was never late.

But, then one day came when he was 20 minutes late to a signing. That was the one day when he had to “take care of business.” He picked his daughter up from school, drove a few miles East, knocked someone off with his daughter sitting in the car not suspecting a thing, and then went to the signing.

After a while, the signing companies all started talking to each other and decided not to use him. But, Giuseppe needed a front for his other businesses. What would he do? He decided to work for the Notaries. He was an expert at collections in addition to doing flawless Notaries. All of the signing companies who fired him would soon regret, as he would be collecting from them on behalf of all the Notaries out there who weren’t getting paid.

His new career worked out well until one day, someone from New Branch Signing Service was found buried up to their neck in concrete. There was only one suspect, but not a single witness. Miraculously, the guy who got charged for the murder was another guy who the signing company owed money to for doing a construction job. He had no alibi. So, the moral of the story is, always pay your Notaries and… never fire a guy who wears a white tie!

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July 27, 2017

Punch your client’s ticket

Filed under: Ken Edelstein — admin @ 10:44 am

PUNCH your client’s Ticket
Those of us who grew up watching Black & White TV, and carried books made of paper to class; are aware of technologies unknown to the PC / IOS / Android / Virtual Reality generation.

You are probably familiar with a hand held hole puncher. They are still used in NY State by Motor Vehicle Inspection stations. They punch out the expiration month of the sticker that goes on the windshield. Only one hole is permitted so a simple round hole will do. Other hand held punches were different. They, as used by railroads had a variety of punch out designs. EBay “hand held railroad punch” to see many.
This “ancient technology” can be used by notaries to advantage. Offer your client every 5th visit at half price. Or, perhaps free on the 10th visit – their choice. When you present your business card use a “Railroad Punch” with a unique design to punch a hole in the business card that you leave with the client. Choose a really interesting punch out design. Take care that you do not punch over your phone number; you want your client to be able to call again!

On each subsequent visit, punch an additional hole. The unique shapes available on old Railroad punches are virtually impossible to duplicate. Even with a razor blade it’s just not doable.

Why this really works. You are giving them something unique – nobody else that your client knows markets in this manner. Speaking of unique – that punched hole truly IS unique. They will keep your card just because of the punch-out!

It’s also a secure technology. A railroad ticket would be good for the lowest fare punched. Once the conductor punched a ticket, even an exact duplicate of the punch would be useless. A very simple and practical protection against raising the value of the ticket. Punching a higher value would be useless, and punching a lower value would be pointless.

Thus, your client would not be able to manipulate your business card to receive unearned freebies. Moving past the security aspect; the “collector instinct” in all of us “kicks in”. It’s just human nature to want to accumulate additional punches. Perhaps for a really big (expensive) job you punch twice?

Giving clients a freebie or discount is nothing new. What is new is the uniqueness of this approach, they have not seen it before – that makes you memorable. And, being memorable is what you want. It’s possible to take the concept to a higher level. Custom hole punchers are available, but tend to be rather expensive. I can picture a miniature notary seal, an embosser; whatever you can imagine.

Be a neat hole puncher. Client involvement in the process, cements it into their memory. Ask for the garbage can and punch out the “chad” into the garbage – not on the floor or their desk. Similar to the effect of embossing, a quality die punching leave a great impression (actually in this case – the lack of an impression). But, I digress.

Don’t get carried away with the puncher – “marking” the pages you notarize with your hole puncher is a very bad idea. Use it only on the business card you distribute. Putting in that first punch and explaining the benefits of acquiring additional punches is a great way to spend a few additional moments with your new repeat client. They will be amused and you will profit.

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July 26, 2017

Most of what Jeremy & Carmen at 123notary offer all day is FREE.

Filed under: Social Media — admin @ 10:54 am

People complain that prices on 123notary are expensive. But, they are complaining that the top placements are expensive. They should be. There can only be a single #1 spot in any particular area, and lots of people want it. Limited supply, and plenty of demand. But, lots of other things on 123notary are free. Here are some free things that 123notary offers.

Helpline
We have no official helpline, but customers call in and talk to Carmen, and write in seeking help with technical Notary and signing agent issues as well as marketing strategy. We are happy to help because that is our reason for being (in addition to having the sea bass tempura sushi roll at Robata Grill down the street — my other reason for being.)

Free listings
People who are not sure about 123notary can usually get a free listing. We restrict free listings in busy areas, but we do make exceptions if you write a great notes section for your future listing. Whomever said there is nothing for free out there doesn’t understand the directory business. Most online directories offer most of their listings for free, but not the good listings at the top. Your free listings also offer you freedom — another way to be free, as you can write what you like in your notes section as long as it is appropriate, topical, and as long as big brother doesn’t mind.

Notes Makeovers
Jeremy is happy to give your notes section a free lookover and make suggestions on what to add, or reorganize it for you. People who get makeovers get about 50% more clicks on average simple because their listing makes a much better impression after the fact and is so much easier to process the data when organized well. Notes makeovers are free — get one today! (eyeliner and foundation sold separately)

Blogucation
Most Notaries have to pay to get courses so they can learn something. However, at 123notary, we feel that what people learn in courses is not enough. If you take a course, your brain will close up after you finish studying. It is better that you keep learning and learn a broad diversification of Notary and Signing Agent topics. Our blog covers marketing, technical, industry news, Notary comedy and much more to keep you at the top of your game. Many Notaries learn more from our blog than they learned from any course — and it’s free! We should probably create a test based purely on blog topics to make sure people are reading! Just don’t get your mind “blogged down” by overdosing on our content!

Contacting Delinquent Listings
Jeremy contacts people daily who have not logged into their free or paid listing. We also contact people with blank notes sections. If anything is wrong with your listing, we will eventually contact you. We are always watching. It’s easier if you just login to your listing more than a logger named Tim Burr does logging in to his listing (if they have listings.)

Answering dumb questions for the public
Since we have such a comprehensive list of signing companies, and since our number is on the left site of the page template, we get dumb people calling in all day assuming we are FASS, or Nation’s Direct. It takes a lot of reasoning to convince them that we are not, and that if they want to sue a particular signing company for not paying them, to have their Attorney find the correct signing company to sue and to stop bothering us. This work is courtesy of Carmen. Part of the problem is that we don’t always list the phone numbers for the signing companies on our listings, while we do list the address and web address. Maybe we should be more comprehensive.

In short, most of what Jeremy and Carmen do all day is free for the public. So, how do we make our money? People buy fancy top listings from us. Ask us if a top spot is available in your area. And remember, if a tree falls in the forest and nobody heard it fall, it didn’t really make a noise. And if you have a listing at the bottom of the list that nobody sees, it is as good as not existing until you upgrade to the top spot!

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July 25, 2017

When you’re in a hole — stop digging

Filed under: Ken Edelstein — admin @ 10:12 am

When you’re in a hole – stop digging
I’ve been with 123notary.com for over a decade. Looking back seems to be the same as looking forward, which is the same as looking at today. For as long as I can remember there has been griping. Not getting paid. Getting paid very slowly. Low pay. Absurd offers. The size of the packages. The lateness of the docs. And my personal favorite: the lack of signing company “loyalty” to notaries. That’s from an alternate reality for sure.

I was a Psych major. Actually I had a split major: Psych and Data Processing. I figured it would be good to learn how to deal with both people and machines. It actually worked well for me. I’ve written a few computer related blogs – based on about a quarter century in the industry. This installment will call upon the little I learned about psychology. First, a disclaimer: I am definitely not a Psychologist or MD. What follows are the rants of someone who, admittedly, has not seen it all; but possibly has seen “most of it”.

It’s not a clinical definition; it’s something I heard on TV. To whit: the definition of insanity. “Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result”. Now, prior to continuing, with that in mind – reread the first paragraph. Picture a dog chasing its tail. Not easy. But, when the wind is right Fido will manage to grasp that tail and just might put a mighty bite into that appendage. Does the definition of insanity or the tale of the tail sound like something that relates to some peoples notary career?

Still not convinced? OK, reread the title of this entry. So, by now you are probably wondering just where I am going with this. In a nut-shell: you must CHANGE. 123notary.com and the lesser sites offer exposure, you know that. Possibly you were wise enough to have the 123notary staff (and the others) spiff up your listing. Some just refuse – they feel their written scribbles are clear and well organized. Or, they prefer to feed their ego at the expense of their pocketbook. Very few of us, I’m a perfect example; are able to present ourselves in a well written, concise and effective manner. Ask the pros to help you with your listings!

I’ve lightly covered this issue before, now I’m going to use a sledgehammer. The industry for notaries is changing. Being a one product person is fast path to financial ruin. So often I see in the forum notaries who like doing signings – and refuse to do anything else! Here in Manhattan we used to have hot dog carts aplenty. Now they have morphed into food trucks that serve a wide variety. If you sit on a One Legged Stool you Are Going to fall on your Butt, you must offer a variety of services. Notary Protest, Apostille, Fingerprinting, training corporate notaries, etc.
One notary wrote to me that I am the one in the “dream world”. “Outside of your dream world of Manhattan, with all the fat cats; Middle America does not use mobile notaries – they just drive to the bank and have it done for free”. Not all, as I have often stated. Many value their time, more than a notary fee, and they do NOT know of your existence. You did not give them your business card and tell them what you can do. It takes real work to “build the business” – mostly the low balls will cold call hoping you jump at a 45$ edoc with total fax back. Learn to do many things and let those who can afford a fair fee know about you. Doing nothing = digging deeper.

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July 24, 2017

How does pricing work for top placements on 123notary?

Filed under: Advertising — admin @ 10:50 am

Why get a top spot on 123notary? Do you really need one?
Top spots on 123notary get more calls on average than listings below. A top spot gets 30% more clicks than the #2 spot and double or triple than listings far down the line. But, quantity of calls is not all. Top listings get better quality calls too. People offering big bucks start calling at the top of the list. They only go down the list if nobody at the top answers, or if the top people make a bad impression (which is why we try to put our best folks at the top.) You will get more high paying business if you are at the top — isn’t that what everybody wants?

But, what does it cost and is it worth it?
Experienced Notaries on 123notary average about $110 per signing. Newer Notaries make less than this and I don’t have an average for them. If you pay $300 for a listing and you get three jobs, you have paid for your listing. And yes, the listing is a business expense and is tax deductible. How much of the revenue of new sales should you put into advertising? I say between 2% and 10%. So, if you pay $300 per year, that advertising should yield you $3000 to $15000 in new sales over the course of the term of the advertising. If it doesn’t, then you should discontinue whatever you did with that advertising.

How much do top listings cost?
Top listings are not always available. But, if we don’t have a #1 in a particular area, we might have a #2 or #3. EMAIL us for a quote at info@123notary.com if you are interested.

Remote areas:
$250 and up for top spots, but we do discount if you are 123notary certified or have a good track record with us which can bring the price down to $120-200 depending on conditions. Email us for a quote if you are sincerely interested.

Moderate Areas:
$350 and up for top spots. But, we have #2, #3, #4, etc. spots for $150-$300 in most cases. Once again, discounts are given to those who passed the 123notary certification test which only 20% of people pass.

Big Cities:
$500 and up for top spots which are rarely available. However, we normally will have something available, perhaps a fifth spot, or seventh spot. If you buy a fixed spot a few notches down, if people above you drop out due to non-renewal, injury, death, moving out of state, etc., you can take their spot. The proven method for getting on top on 123notary is to slowly but surely move notch by notch up the list. Many people have done it and you can too. We recommend this method because strangers cannot normally buy a top spot straight off as those spots are almost never available, and we give those spots only to people we trust as the service given by those top people affects our reputation.

What should I do before purchasing a top spot?
123notary wants you to get your money’s worth so you will renew year after year. Most of our business is repeat business. Some of our clients are repeat users who have been with us for up to fifteen years. To get a good return on a top listing it is imperative that you pass our 123notary certification test. You should also get some reviews on your listing (ask for them and send a link to your review page.) Additionally, you need a well written notes section — ask for help and we will give you a free makeover and tips. On top of making your listing look good, you should be at the top of your game in Notary knowledge and skills. If you have the right foundation as we call it, your top placed listing will normally be a profitable investment. If you don’t do the proper groundwork, it is a toss-up.

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July 21, 2017

Uncommon ways you could be late to a signing

Filed under: Notary Mistakes — admin @ 9:00 am

It is good to be on time to signings. But, there are ways to be late to a signing to. Bad planning, failure to account for distance, traffic, or printing are common. But, here are some uncommon ones.

1. Your GPS doesn’t have the road you are going to because the road is brand new — or the GPS is quite old.

2. Your new tire got a puncture wound in the side of the tire coming in at a diagonal.

3. They were repaving a road on your way to the signing that you could not circumvent.

4. A UFO abducted you on your way to the signing.
NOTARY “Do you need a Notary?” GREEN GUY “No, but could you like us on Facebook?”

5. Your credit card is deactivated you and you don’t have enough cash to buy gas leaving you stranded.

6. Your Notary seal expires on April 24th and today is April 25th.

7. There is a terrible earthquake and the roads are closed down.

8. Anti-Trump riots force the authorities to shut the city down.

9. Pro-Trump riots force the city to open back up, but block your route to the signing, unless you live in California in which case refer to point 8.

10. All the parking spaces are taken and you drive around the block for half an hour.

11. You have a reserved parking spot, but a black Jeep SUV with no license plates belonging to a dealer suddenly appears in your spot. You call security who says it could take up to two hours to remove the vehicle — yes, it happened to me and I was late to my blog writing appointment.

12. Your little girl hits her head and you go rushing home to make sure she is okay, but get fired by the Loan Officer. At least you don’t get fired as a dad! And yes, this really happened eight years ago to a client.

I think that sums it up.

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July 18, 2017

Clients will work WITH you

Filed under: Ken Edelstein — admin @ 10:48 am

Clients will work WITH you
Today I had a series of communications, some via email, and some via phone; about a pending assignment. It’s fascinating for me to note the growing level of assistance my client is providing, certainly due to their being required to pre-pay. This will be best related in chronological order.

The Initial Contact – I was asked if I was willing to go to a town about 40 miles distant. That might be a “local” call to many. However in the New York City area it’s at least an hour, probably closer to 1.5 hours. Nothing else was asked. I replied yes and with my base fee (not knowing what was needed) for the trip.

The Second Contact – A cheery voice – “that’s great” – I will send you the details via email, it’s for early tomorrow morning. But, I said, just a moment; there is more to discuss. My fee is paid on my web site – at this time – only then do I make a calendar entry. “We don’t pay in advance, do I have to find someone else” Yes, I answered. Sorry, that does not work for us.

The Third Contact – About two hours later that same day, after they probably made many calls. Are you still available for that early morning assignment? I am trying to get your prepayment approved. Sorry, no – early tomorrow was taken – would noon tomorrow work for you? Probably, we will get back to you shortly.

The Forth Contact – We checked with the site and they will be closed tomorrow, does Monday work for you. Yes, at this time; but I do not make a calendar appointment until payment is received. We will make payment later today or tomorrow (Friday). Fine, but if someone else wants to book Monday morning I will accept as you have not processed payment. Nb: commitments must be mutual Quid Pro Quo (this for that).
Comment – Notice that only when payment is made in advance for the trip did the caller bother to see if the affiant would be available. With prepayment they had “skin in the game” and clearly would wind up paying me to meet at a closed facility. They were quite willing to assign it on a “after you succeed we will pay” basis. I’ve been doing this a long time (10+ years). I set the rules very clearly. I always ask if the ID presented will have the same name as the name to be notarized on the document. Often I am asked what happens if they differ. You will have my sympathy for a failed non notarizing event; but not a refund. I ask for assurance of the existence of the necessary – if you send me to a situation where proceeding would be illegal, it’s your loss.

The Fifth Contact – we are checking to make sure all requirements are met. Your payment will be made later today (Thursday) or tomorrow AM. That’s fine, as soon as it is received it goes on the calendar if there is no conflicting assignment.
Comment – Note that I am “defending my calendar” – I do not confirm an appointment. Nor will I call the affiant to schedule as that commits me to showing up. It’s a medical records pick up / notarize job. Without my PayPal payment, to me; it does not exist and I will take no part other than stating my “current” availability. Well, it’s 10PM and nothing yet – no payment – no detailed who/what/when/where – just vague assurances.

I’m stopping now; will resume at noon tomorrow and chronicle what transpires, if anything. I’m back – the new day begins with a PayPal payment! However, there is a new “issue”. It’s urgent to process in Early AM on Monday; but the facility is closed till Monday and no one can assure me the affiant will be present. Sooooo, it’s a call to my client asking if they wish me to leave early for a 10AM, or wait till 10AM to confirm availability. I stress the former is “at your risk” – if affiant not available (of course after waiting a reasonable time) – then a subsequent trip will become a new charge. It’s a go. Monday I am due on location at 10AM.

You probably have received some emails from “Vendor Management” in which you are the Vendor and they are providing the Management. Turn That Around – Do you run your business or do your clients run you?

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July 17, 2017

How long should you WAIT to get paid?

Filed under: Business Tips — admin @ 10:45 am

Different companies have different payment schedules. Whether a company pays in a timely manner or not, the critical thing is for the Notary to be aware of how long it takes companies to pay. If you read forum complaints, you will see if other Notaries have had a problem with a particular company. If you keep a database on paper or on a computer, and keep records of how long each company has taken to pay others, you will have a track record for each company. Most Notaries unfortunately do not do their homework and that is why bad signing companies exist and also why newer Notaries get screwed. Do your homework; Don’t get screwed!

It is standard for companies to pay in 30 days. Most companies have a monthly billing cycle. It might take 30-59 days to get paid if they do their payments on a particular day of the month. If they pay on the 15th and you complete a job on the 16th, what if they pay you on the 15th of the month on the second month after you do the job? Hmm.

Then, there are companies that are always short on cash who string Notaries along. This is just unprofessional and not respectable. You should pay for what you get, otherwise don’t ask people to do anything for you. The Notaries who are the least valuable to the signing company, or who they have a weaker relationship with, or who are the least pushy are thes ones who get strung along. If you allow them credit for two jobs and they ask for a third without paying for the other two first they will be forced to pay you if they want your work. For a Notary who is really good, they might conform to your terms. But, if you are an unskilled whiner — good luck!

Some companies just don’t pay, or make you wait forever and go through the run around. This is just a waste of time and those companies should be put out of business.

What do I recommend?

(1) If a company is reliable about paying, then I recommend accepting anything within 60 days providing you don’t have to bill multiple times or micromanage them to get paid. 10-60 days with one bill is acceptable. The minute you have to invest extra time billing a company, you should consider charging in advance, or raising their rate by at least $20 extra.

(2) If you prefer to get paid fast, you weed out a vast quantity of your market share by demanding payment in 30 days.

(3) You can offer better terms and/or better pricing to companies that offer faster pay. You can offer them more work, volume discounts, and more attentive service to reward them for making your life easier. That way you can still get jobs from the slow-but-sure paying companies, but less of them. This is called using an algorithm — something Jeremy likes.

(4) If you adopt the Ken Edelstein philosophy and require payment up front, you will not have a problem worrying about getting paid. But, Ken is the best Notary in the business, and everyone knows it. So, that is why companies pay him more and by Paypal.com in advance to do Notary work for them while other Notaries might have trouble getting paid in advance. Ken is in the Notary business, not the money lending without collateral business. Think about it.

(5) You can apply to more Title companies. Many pay within 10-15 days. You can research them on the forums, or just try them out to see how much they pay. If they pay you fast, you can offer to do more work for them farther away to give them an incentive to use you more. You are advised to give them extra special service as well so they will continue to use you and use you frequently.

For those Notaries who are inexperienced, not well educated in signing topics, and very picky as well. I recommend swallowing your pride. You have to pay your dues in this business to do well. I suggest having 2000 signings under your belt before you begin to get picky. The real professionals who get paid well most of the time have at least 7000 signings. When I was at 4000 signings I got paid well by only about 40% of my jobs which should give you an idea. It is not fast and easy to make it to the top in this profession. Swallow your pride and work for any reasonable conditions for any company that is honest and decent even if they make you wait 60 days.

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July 14, 2017

The Atheist’s Bible — for swearing in Affirmations to non-believers

Filed under: Humorous Posts — admin @ 8:50 am

The Atheist’s Bible

When atheists do an affirmation, they need to put their hand on something. And if it’s not the bible, we need a substitute. As “nobody” is his witness… the atheist’s bible is a little different from your Adam & Eve’s Garden Variety version. It also makes a handy gift for a non-believer’s Inaugural Day swearing in ceremony.

And what is it that non-believers, according to their bible, believe?

Nobody said “Let there be light.” It just came on out of the blue.

Heaven and earth was created in three days, not including Sundays or federal holidays.

Adam and Eve decided they were the same gender and saved the hassle of putting on fig leaves.

Noah’s Ark never existed. However, Loners Ark, where there was one of everything, did. How did they reproduce, you ask? They didn’t, because they wanted to remain alone.

After Sodom and Gomorrah had their marriage certificate notarized, they went on their honeymoon to get officially sodomized. After which Gomorrah started their first marital tiff: “Why “sodomize” and no “gomorrahize”?4
When Samson got caught in hairy situations cheating on his wife, his alibis got stronger.

Moses waited forever to hear from God. When he didn’t show up, Moses came down the mountaintop and gave his people the zero commandments.

Jesus spent his 33 years searching for his real father. Never finding him was a heavy cross to bear.

Thanks for reading this. And may nobody be with you.

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