F ollowing I n my F ather ’ s F ootsteps AND WHAT IT TAUGHT ME ABOUT BEING A DAD F ather’s Day is coming up in June, and it’s always a day of reflection for me. Sure, I love being spoiled by my wife and kids, but for me, fatherhood is a concept be able to watch Austin and Walker grow up without any distance between us. Watching
them is a constant reminder of how important the father-son relationship was to me when I was a child. I try to keep in mind that I have a lot of influence, and
that runs a lot deeper than gifts and the quirks of biology. Being a father is one of the most important things in my life, and I think a lot of that has to do with how I grew up. My parents divorced when I was 3 years old, and my father left the family home at that point. He didn’t disappear, but he did move four states away to Kentucky. Looking back, I think the fact that he wasn’t in close proximity to me enhanced his power as a father figure. My father was the first person in our family to go to college, and also the first one to go to law school, and I felt compelled to impress him and make him proud. Because he was so far away, I worked doubly hard. As a kid, I decided the easiest way to impress him would be to follow in his footsteps and try to be a good citizen and a good person. So that’s exactly what I did. I followed my dad through college and law school, then started my practice and worked hard at that, too. Back in ‘97 when I began practicing law, it wasn’t uncommon for me to put in 80-hour weeks, every week for months on end. The first 10 years of Christmas Law Firm are a blur of hard work. It was fun and exciting, for sure, but it was also exhausting. That decade disappeared in the blink of an eye, and when the blink was over, I realized I’d changed. Though I still wanted to work hard, I was ready to introduce more balance to my life and maybe even become a father myself. Around that time, I met my lovely wife and we started our family. With my own far-off father in mind, I consider myself incredibly fortunate to
I’m constantly reevaluating my actions so that I can be the best lawyer and dad as possible. I’m still working on balancing those two things, but there’s no question that if I have any spare time, it becomes their time. One thing that I think helped me gain that perspective was having my kids a bit later in life, I’m approaching 50 now, and Austin was born when I was in my mid-30s. I think if my wife and I had started our family any younger, I might have wound up an absent father because I was so immersed in my work. Waiting gave me the space to learn from what my own father did and make strides to do things a bit differently with my kids. Plus, I’m more mature in the way I think than I would have been a decade younger. I can prioritize now and make better decisions about my work-life balance.
“I try to keep in mind that I have a lot of influence, and I’m constantly reevaluating my actions so that I can be the best lawyer and dad as possible.”
One of my greatest pleasures as a father has been seeing how tight-knit our family has become, in part because we have a set of shared core values: God first, then family, then work, in that order. My wife and I are both busy, but we keep ourselves grounded by reminding each other of those values when we’re struggling. Lately, we’ve been able to start translating those values to our children, and it has been a real blessing to see them follow our example. Ultimately, I wouldn’t trade fatherhood for anything. I love my little family and can’t wait to spend this Father’s Day with them. I hope you get to do the same! –Gary Christmas
FIGHTING FOR THE INJURED
In 2017, sometime between Sept. 11 and 12, a total of $60,000 worth of digital assets were stolen from people around the world. The conspirators didn’t hide their identities, and they faced no criminal charges. As it turns out, there are no laws against stealing spaceships in a video game — even if they’re worth thousands of real-world dollars. EVE Online is a massively multiplayer online game (MMO) that was launched in 2003, and it was on this game that the theft occurred. This science-fiction game is all about spacefaring, but one notable feature of the game is that it allows players to purchase in-game assets with real money. This attracts players who can spend large sums on the game, with some of the game’s largest spaceships costing $9,000. But one thing to note in EVE Online is that no matter how much you pay, once you lose an asset, it’s gone forever. Because of the risk-reward nature of the game, many players unite in huge factions for safety and to pool their resources. One of these groups, Circle of Two or CO2, was the target of the 2017 attack. Within a matter of hours, CO2’s bank accounts were drained and the space
stations holding their fleets of ships were sold to their enemies. It was clear from the beginning: This was an inside job. The thief was CO2’s own head diplomat, a player called “The Judge.” For years he’d worked his way through the alliance’s ranks, only to use the access he eventually gained to rob it blind. But greed may not have been his only motivation. He’d had public disagreements with CO2’s leader called Gigx, and a rival faction was able to capitalize on this internal conflict. During an in-person EVE Online summit held in Iceland, representatives from The GoonSwarm Federation convinced The Judge to leave CO2 and commit the single largest robbery in gaming history on his way out. In the real world, The Judge’s actions were completely legal — currently, international law doesn’t treat such virtual objects as personal property. But this perception may be changing. As in-game purchases become more widespread in video games, legal lines have blurred, causing an increasing number of lawmakers to rethink what constitutes “ownership” in the digital age. But, for now at least, it seems like a good time to be a space pirate.
CRIMELESS THEFT IN CYBERSPACE T he $60,000 H eist Y ou ’ ve N ever H eard O f
C an Y ou B e C ompensated I f Y ou C atch the C oronavirus at W ork ? AN INCREASING NUMBER OF INSURANCE COMPANIES SAY YES!
Thousands of people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with the coronavirus, or COVID-19, and there’s a good chance a lot of them caught it while working. Many cities and states have issued full or partial shelter- in-place orders over the last few months. However, essential services are still up and running, meaning health care professionals, restaurant workers, and delivery drivers (among many others) are at risk of catching the virus on the clock. With questions mounting over the compensability of coronavirus illness, the national claimants’ advocacy organization Workers’ Injury Law and Advocacy Group (WILG) is calling on insurers to relax their opposition to COVID-19 claims. “Insurance companies have been making tremendous profits, so it stands to reason
that they should accept coronavirus claims during this crisis if any nexus at all can be shown between contracting the virus and employment,” WILG President William Smith said in March. Some insurance companies in states including Kentucky, Washington, and California are already offering additional benefits or payment grace periods for coronavirus victims. The National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) recently noted that 10 states have now mandated increased coverage by group health plans for coronavirus testing and emergency room visits. Some states have more generous occupational disease provisions than others. But in many, workers need to prove they contracted the virus while performing their job duties, and that burden of proof varies
from state to state. Because the virus is so prevalent, proving where it came from can be a major hurdle. If there is a good chance you might come in contact with the virus while working, we encourage you to maintain detailed records about potential exposures, just in case you need to file a claim. Here in South Carolina, the relationship between workers’ compensation claims and coronavirus is still evolving. If you or a loved one contracted the coronavirus at work and you’d like to discuss filing a workers’ compensation claim, our team can give you the latest information. Our office is currently offering phone and video consultations. To reach us, call 843-595-8565 or visit ChristmasInjuryLawyers.com. This story was originally reported by William Rabb for WorkCompCentral.com.
W e ’ ve O pened a N ew O ffice ! CHECK IN WITH US IN COLUMBIA
When our founder, Gary Christmas, first opened Christmas Injury Lawyers in Charleston in 1997, his goal was to help as many people in South Carolina as possible. From day one, our team has worked hard to make that happen. Every year, we push to provide better statewide coverage, access, and legal services to our personal injury clients with the goal of making their lives a bit easier. Recently, we doubled down on that goal by opening a fourth office in Columbia, South Carolina! Our new branch is located at 3135 Millwood Ave., Suite A3, so it could be just around the corner from you. We’ve already met many of our neighbors virtually, and it has been amazing to see our new community band together to deal with the coronavirus pandemic. Speaking of that, if you’re stuck at home or feeling down about the crisis, here are few fun facts we’ve learned about Columbia that might help lighten your mood.
• Columbia has one of the only dedicated puppet theaters in the country: The Columbia Marionette Theater!
• Congaree National Park, just a short drive outside the city, is home to the tallest trees east of the Mississippi. Columbia is a fascinating community, and we’re looking forward to getting to know its residents better. Plus, of course, all of us at Christmas Injury Lawyers are excited to continue growing and working hard to serve you. If you live in Columbia and could use our help, you can reach our new office by calling 803-766-0707.
Columbia was the very first city in the U.S. to be named for Christopher Columbus. Columbia is nicknamed “Soda City” because way back in the day, people used to shorten “Columbia” to “Cola,” and the synonym stuck.
Sticky and Sweet Pork ‘Ribs’
Inspired by Bon Appétit
• 2 heads garlic, cloves separated • 3 thumbs ginger, chopped • 1 cup hoisin sauce • 3/4 cup fish sauce • 2/3 cup honey • 2/3 cup rice wine
• 1/2 cup chili oil • 1/3 cup oyster sauce • 1/3 cup toasted sesame oil •
5 lbs boneless pork shoulder, flattened
• 3/4 cup brown sugar • 1 tbsp molasses
1. In a blender, purée garlic, ginger, hoisin sauce, fish sauce, honey, rice wine, chili oil, oyster sauce, and toasted sesame oil until smooth. 2. Reserve and chill 1 1/2 cups for later use. 3. In a bag, add the remaining mixture and pork shoulder. Marinate for at least 8 hours. 4. Using a convection plate on the grill, cook pork until the thickest part reaches an internal temperature of 140–145 F. 5. In a large saucepan, simmer brown sugar, molasses, and reserved marinade for 6–8 minutes. 6. Baste the pork with the brown sugar glaze for 2 minutes before serving.
FIGHTING FOR THE INJURED
PRST STD US POSTAGE PAID BOISE, ID PERMIT 411
105 S. Cedar Street Suite D Summerville, SC 29483 843-595-8565
RETURN SERVICE REQUESTED
Using My Fatherhood Powers for Good inside this issue 1 2 2 A $60,000 Robbery With No Jail Time Can You Be Compensated if You Catch the Coronavirus at Work?
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We’ve Opened a New Office in Columbia!
Sticky and Sweet Pork ‘Ribs’
The Best Grandfather a Kitten Could Have
When cats are orphaned as kittens, they don’t get the chance to develop all the skills needed to become successful cats. Just like human children, kittens need older role models too. The most famous cat role model had a rough start in life but became an inspiration for kittens and humans alike. His name was
described him as “an elderly gentleman [who] lived his whole life a certain way, and then, all of a sudden, [was] forced to live completely differently.” After Grandpa Mason grew accustomed to his home, Roche took in several foster kittens, and those new roommates completely altered Grandpa Mason’s behavior. Roche expected him to hiss, swat, or growl at the kittens when they invaded his space, but he didn’t. Instead, he allowed them to crawl all over him and appeared to enjoy it when they licked his ear. Suddenly a playful, affectionate, and gentle personality came out of Grandpa Mason as he played with, bathed, taught, and cared for the orphaned kittens that Roche welcomed into her home. Potentially due to the kittens’ influence, Grandpa Mason surpassed his prognosis by more than two years. During the last few years of his life, Grandpa Mason passed on important lessons and good manners to the kittens he looked after and adored, as a true grandfather should. He passed last September, but he spent his last night in his ultimate happy place: snuggling in his bed surrounded by kittens.
Grandpa Mason, and during the last years of his life, he stepped up and gave love, care, and guidance to the orphaned kittens that lived with him. The Canadian animal rescue group TinyKittens rescued Grandpa Mason in 2016 from a property that was scheduled to be bulldozed. The poor feral tabby was suffering from many health problems, including severe dental issues, a badly injured paw, and advanced kidney disease. Since TinyKittens is a no-kill rescue organization, euthanization was out of the question. Given his health conditions, veterinarians predicted the battle-scarred Grandpa Mason didn’t have long to live, so TinyKittens’ founder, Shelly Roche, took him in and provided him with a comfortable place to sleep, plenty of food, and time to relax in the last months of his life. Grandpa Mason had a hard time adjusting to domestic life and would often shy away from being petted. In an interview with The Dodo, Roche
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