Snowbird season survival tips

Ways to make it through the winter

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• Try not to eat out between the hours of 3 and 7 p.m.

• Do not wear clothing that features odd or intriguing slogans, or that may be perceived as a "conversation starter."

• Attempt to avoid all restaurants and nightspots characterized by a seaside/island/tiki theme, frozen drinks, or live entertainment that includes Jimmy Buffet covers.

• Do not speak to anyone wearing a large, floppy woven hat, in possession of postcards, or that you witness tipping less than 15 percent.

• Stock up on stamps and refill all prescriptions immediately, as visiting a post office or pharmacy at any time during the next five months is inadvisable.

• Pick an obscure foreign language, and learn a few phrases fluently enough to give those asking for directions the impression you don't speak English. Do NOT opt for German or French, or you might find yourself hoisted on your own petard.

• When confronted by the phrases "I have a daughter/son/niece/nephew about your age" or "you know, back in [any state other than Florida]," it is acceptable to feign seizure, catatonia or sudden injury.

• Rent a shack on the edge of a mountainside town in New Hampshire. Learn how to ski and make impeccable Irish coffee. Drive slowly, ask directions and talk at length about how things were back home in Florida as often as possible. Don't come back until April.

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