Decades ago as a lark, I unilaterally decided to write and self-distribute a monthly in-house newsletter for my colleagues at Royal LePage. Somehow that thing caught fire (figuratively) and I kept it up for six years, never missing a month of sliding a paper version into each person’s mail slot. Back then I was one step removed from a monk with a quill and an ink pot, toiling under candlelight in my musty windowless tower turret.

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But I digress – that early (and frankly unrequested) effort was part of my start getting published far more broadly across Canada, including right here in REM.

More recently I was going through an old folder on my computer (I must have scanned some of those original parchment copies somewhere along the way?) and came across this timely quiz from 2000. Admittedly, I may have updated it over the years and had it appear in this space, but it’s a long weekend and I’ve misplaced the key to my writing tower. I wasn’t able to check my database of columns.

This is how the original piece appeared years ago back in my monthly newsletter. Some terms may be murky now and give you pause, given the passage of time. Hey, we all used pagers and pay phones back then – my first real estate vehicle was a Conestoga wagon!

1) You are finding it a little difficult to get back into work mode after a long summer of beachin’ with the kids. How do you switch back into gear?

a) dust off Top Producer, try contacting some of your old clients

b) start returning ad calls from the first week of April

c) call the office to see if your name is still on the sign-in board

2) Even though it’s barely the end of August, you can already feel your tan fading. The pager is going off non-stop and your partner may have switched offices without telling you. How do you get the fall campaign off the ground?

a) hunt through your desk for the Maximizer manual. Call old clients

b) re-issue all those postcards about how you out-list, and out-sell everyone

c) change your e-mail address to automatically intercept the company’s relocations enquiries

3) Your resources are depleted from too many tequila shooters on the deck at the waterfront cottage. Your listing inventory is three mobiles, a time share and a restaurant that closed five months ago. How do you steer around the looming financial iceberg?

a) check the shoe box under your desk for old clients to call

b) ask management for a commission advance based on goodwill and unproven projections

c) remember, a colleague’s unlocked filing cabinet is pretty much the same as prospecting for yourself

4) You haven’t actually noticed that it was summer. You’ve been working 25-hour days and the last day off you had was when it snowed your garage door shut. How do you react?

a) ask your assistant to get a new pine deodorizer for the office. It feels more like a campsite with that robust fragrance

b) promise your spouse and kids that you’ll join them, just as soon as you close these next 10 deals. Then start to work on even just one

c) ah, the heck with it…take another Maalox, increase your blood pressure pills and get ready for September


  1. Hey Brian!

    And of course, neither did I!! ;-)

    Oh, how times have changed – from the gentle purr of a 440 magnum engine to my almost being run over on tour day by an electric vehicle with no audible presence…

    I’ll just leave the cancel culture commentary up in the air…product of another era.

    Nice to see a 20-year old column can still generate a laugh or two though – thanks!


    • Hi Dan:

      Yes; how times have changed. You could’ve heard the 440 magnum coming from a mile away. The pedestrian avoidance system must have malfunctioned of the new-fangled electric vehicle. Had it hit you, you might also have been electrocuted to boot. Was it a DC, AC, or ACDC EV?

      Re the cancel culture era: It can bloody well self-cancel any time. Navel-gazing hallway monitor boobs with nothing else to occupy their minds but what Johnny said to Mary—or visa versa—in the hallway of stupidity. I should ask my mother…oops!…my birthing person…about what my father…oops!…my sperming person, thinks about all of this bull shit…oops!…recycled organic waste material.

      What 20-year-old column do you speak of? When you were 20, did your column inspire laughter…or are you talking about recent REM columns? I’m confused.

      Cancel culture warriors: Take a f—-in’ hike!…preferably in the lost forest.

      • Hey Brian!

        I think I’ve written before about how these early design pencil-point electric vehicles were like stealth unicorns if pedestrians and drivers weren’t equally aware…

        As for PC, we will just have to stay along for the ride until common sense intercedes, there has to be some happy medium if we’re all going to get along.

        I confessed in my preamble that this particular piece was a look back at a column I initially wrote for an in-house company newsletter I put out every month. And it has appeared before here in REM, just can’t find my tracking sheet – still analog and apparently has grown legs!!

  2. Hi Dan:

    Loved # 2: b and c; # 3: c.

    Re your first real estate vehicle: My first was a 1961 Corvette roadster. I was thirty-three, newly separated, had lots of money, had quit the trades (former steamfitter/plumber) and, was rarin’ to go. (So were plenty of gals in the business.) Then I traded my 1968 Dodge Monaco 500, with a 440 magnum under the hood, for my buddy’s 1969 Cadillac Sedan DeVille. (The ‘Vette had no back seat, and the Monaco was a two-door hardtop) I had more fun during the next little while being a real live real estate salesman than anything I’d done before. Partied almost every night. Don’t know how I did it. Oh, the folly of youth. I was like a two-year-old when first let out of his playpen, and believe me, back then during them thar days, selling real estate was like being in a play pen full of real estate bunnies. It was the early 1980’s! Propsecting? Depended upon what one was prospecting for. It was party time, man. Then I quit. Burnt out. My girl friend was a lot younger than I, and convinced me to go to university with her, to get a real job after graduation. Mission accomplished. With a degree in Political Science, I ended up working as a conciliator with the Ontario New Home Warranty Program (Now TARION Corp.)…and on and on the different jobs came and went. Being a Realtor taught me how to duck and weave with the best of them, to adapt to changing circumstances. But I never did 3 c:-)


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