SAN ANTONIO — Well, here we are in the center of Fiesta,otherwise known as Mardi Gras, minus the aura of New Orleans. Itwas a fun night last night with lots of rowdy, yet well controlled,celebration. What more can an over-the-hill editor ask for! Therewere parties, an excellent exhibit hall, and numerousclaims-oriented sessions, all part of PLRB's annual ClaimsConference, the highlight of their calendar. PLRB's executive vicepresident, Tom Mallin, one of the most quiet and outwardlyunassuming gentlemen in the industry, rules behind the scenes withan iron fist (and we mean that as a compliment.)

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Over 2,300 registrants, joined by 1,500 exhibitor personnel,descended on the convention center here and came together to makethis exactly what participants expected: another PLRB conferencethat lived up to all expectations. And at this writing, we stillhave a day to go. If you weren't here, it's really your loss.

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Some exhibitor nervousness over the fact that PLRB overlappedwith the massive RIMS Annual Conference in Philadelphia, proved tobe unfounded. However, this editor's nervousness was not …unfounded. On the bright side: I could walk the exhibit hall andreceive kudos from attendees and exhibitors who love Claims, forvarious reasons:

  • Hey Phil, thanks for running our article in March. We gotreprints and have received lots of positive feedback.
  • Love your magazine. You're on the mark, month after month.
  • Give Kevin Quinley and Ken Brownlee more exposure in futureissues. Those guys are terrific!
  • Your coverage of the catastrophic hurricane season wasextraordinary.
  • Your new photo on the Editor's Note page is more realistic.(Yeah? So is that beer belly you put on since last year inChicago!)

Then, on the downside:

  • When are you running the article I sent you six weeks ago?(We're not.)
  • How come you edited the guts out of my recent submission?(Because, that's what we're paid to do. You could just say “thankyou”!)
  • Why do you keep running Brownlee's Iconoclast? He really ticksme off! (And why do you think we call him the Iconoclast, yougoose?) Through this gauntlet of negativism I keep my mouth shutand mentally repeat the editor's mantra: Diplomacy, diplomacy,diplomacy. And tomorrow I'll go home … exhausted, and yet,invigorated.

On another front, today (April 19th) was the 10th anniversary ofthe Oklahoma City bombing. Continual TV coverage on CNN, withfootage never before seen, was horrifying. Granted, Oklahoma didnot deliver the devastation magnitude of 9/11. But with 9/11 therewas nothing left but rubble. We never experienced the horror ofmangled dead children pulled from the day care center. Or thehundreds of sometimes irreparably injured pulled from the MurrahFederal Building rubble. At that time, they said it wouldn't happenagain on American soil, that “steps would be taken.” Then came9/11.

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So the next time you encounter an irate claimant, or the nexttime you note yourself getting aggravated at security measures inthe airport when you're running late for your plane, or at asporting venue where they won't let you bring in your cooler fullof beer; think of the dead children in the Murrah Federal Buildingand all the other lost souls in Oklahoma City and New York's WorldTrade Center. Vent your displeasure and disgust by replacing themwith a prayer for the victims and their families and then be gladthat you're still here and you're not living with the day-to-daymemories of any of those lost souls (like I am. Yes, I lost friendsin NYC.). And then do your best to help disgruntled, stressed-outclaimants because we're all in the same boat, surviving in a newand sometimes crueler world.

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Now I'm going to go have a good cry for my two lost friends, andfor all the others who have succumbed to terrorism. You do it too,because it's somewhat soothing; and vow to do an even better jobfor all those claimants you encounter in the future, whatever themagnitude of their loss. At the same time, remain vigilant forfraudulent claims. After all, we still must function in the realworld.

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