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I got my work ethic from my Uncle Josie. And the first thing anybody needs to know about my Uncle Josie is he’s an overachiever. When there’s a task at hand he goes all the way, and then some.

When Uncle Josie goes to the fair, he wears platform shoes so he’s at least one foot taller than the arrow on those “You Must Be This High To Ride” signs.

When Uncle Josie goes to a comedy show and there’s a two-drink minimum, he makes sure he has at least six drinks before he sits down. All the way, and then some.

And—this’ll really give you the idea—when it comes to sentencing guidelines, Uncle Josie’s record speaks for itself. Josie has never once settled for earning just the mandatory minimum. Whatever the law dictates in terms of prison time, Josie’s always managed to tack on a few years.

You can ask any judge in the tri-state area, and several in California. They’ll tell you when there’s a task at hand my Uncle Josie goes all the way, and then some. When they describe Josie’s record they use words like “beyond,” “excessive,” “enormity,” and “enhanced.”

One time a judge found Josie guilty, he asked if Josie’d accept probation. Josie wouldn’t take probation. The judge asked Josie if he’d accept a suspended sentence. Josie told the judge where he could stick his suspended sentence. Finally the judge slapped Josie with contempt of court and gave Josie a few years in the can.

We all said, “Josie, what on earth did you do that for?”

Josie said, “They taught me in grade school, right before I dropped out, how to answer when someone in charge asks you a question: ‘Whatever they ask you, when it’s time for you to answer, only a complete sentence will do.’”

Mike Taylor

Mike Taylor is a writer living in Washington, D.C. He has the soul of a poet and the toenails of a long distance runner.

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