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Just Do the Best You Can

When I was a teacher at Old Colony Correctional Institution (a fancy name for one of the Massachusetts state prisons), one of my students was serving two consecutive life sentences. I asked him about that apparent contradiction. After all, how can you serve two life sentences? He first explained to me that he had the same thought at the time of his sentencing and with apparent irritation in his voice had asked how the judge expected him to serve two life sentences, to which the judge responded, “Just do the best you can.” My student later told me that the real reason for being sentenced to two life sentences was that if his appeal was successful on one of the crimes for which he was sentenced to life in prison, the state would still have the other sentence hanging over him.

I tell you that story because, unfortunately, with so much of your personal information found in the records of your employer, your accountant, your lawyer, your doctor, your health insurer, your bank, and so on and so on, we are all vulnerable to a bad apple working in one of those offices. Identity theft can be as high tech as a hacker breaking into a company's computer system from afar and stealing personal information or as low tech as an identity thief going through your trash. The best you can do is to try to minimize your vulnerability and be vigilant and ready to respond if you discover a breach of security.


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