Thanksgiving marks Quip Tide’s anniversary of first publication in the Review. For 22 years I’ve been an unpaid humor columnist, with no sign yet of actually becoming funny. 

This has been a year (or so) of transition for me. I’m finally realizing long-held pipe dreams with the guidance and impetus of others. This week’s column thanks those who have opened doors for me.

I’ve always been interested in teaching, going back to grading papers for my mother’s elementary school classes. Having a sister and live-in grandmother who were also teachers added to my desire to teach, but apart from continuing education seminars and individual coaching I never taught a class.

After law school in Berkeley, I applied for a job at a nonprofit — a very “Berkeley” notion — but wasn’t hired. I volunteered my time for nonprofits and chaired one educational nonprofit’s board, but didn’t do more.

You may have doubted my writing talent, but probably not my passion for writing. I’ve written something every day of my adult life, usually for my “day job.” I’ve wanted to help others improve their writing skills, but apart from editing colleagues’ work, I stopped short of coaching struggling writers. 

Speaking of my day job, next May I’ll complete my 40th year as a lawyer, mostly as a litigator. Civil litigation gradually changed, to the point where a recent survey found that over 60 percent of winning litigants are dissatisfied with the system. I still help clients survive the gauntlet, but I’ve wanted to help many more avoid or exit it. 

Suddenly, I’m answering each of these callings, and today I’m grateful.

Thanks to a friend who teaches at Golden Gate School of Law, I begin my first semester-long class as an adjunct law professor, teaching the practicalities, economics, and ethics of civil litigation. It’s not tested on the Bar Exam, but the class sold out during the first week of registration. (

Thanks to the Insurance Educational Association (, I now have a self-study writing course online, geared toward business writing skills, and in January will begin my first on-site writing course for a San Francisco government agency.

Thanks to the principal author of California’s mediation laws, I am helping people out of litigation as a mediator ( And thanks to a court commissioner and others who vouched for me, I’m a settlement conference officer for the San Francisco Superior Court.

And the nonprofit? Thanks to the Review and my fellow locals who founded Coastside News Group Inc. to help save the paper and keep it local, I founded a nonprofit, Coastal Literary Arts Movement (yes, “CLAM,” to advance multilingual literary appreciation and independent journalism in local communities, partnering with schools, media and other nonprofits.

You, too, have probably been helped by someone’s suggestion or introduction. Please reach out to him/her/them today, just to say, “Thanks.” especially thanks his long-suffering wife, Susy, and the family and friends who have supported him in his new “gig” career.

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