November 14, 2002

Worst Case Scenario Survival Handbook:
Holiday Edition Ho, Ho, No!

By Linda Hughes, Times staff writer

Pekin native Robin Thompson is lending her etiquette expertise to the best-selling and offbeat "Worst Case Scenario Survival Handbook" series.

Her ideas for helping avert disasters this holiday season appear in the "How to Deal with a Meddling Parent" section.

The editors, Joshua Piven and David Borgenicht, gave it their own comic spin.

The 'Holiday edition of the series offers dozens of scenarios from Thanksgiving to New Year's Eve.

"No matter the situation, there's a polite and considerate way to handle it," Thompson said.

Thompson owns Etiquette-Network Inc., which holds etiquette classes throughout the United States, in the Bahamas and British Columbia.

"'The Worst Case Scenario Holiday' edition shows that etiquette doesn't'' have to be stuffy," she said. "Good manners and a good laugh aren't necessarily mutually exclusive."

The book is an illustrated, step-by-step guide through dozens of festive scenarios. With a helpful appendix of holiday excuses, last-minute gift ideas, and creative drink recipes for when the liquor runs out, the book humorously gets the reader through the holidays.

The book covers such emergencies as the turkey catching fire, no plans for New Year's Eve, obnoxious relatives on the way; someone stuck in a chimney, and a runaway parade balloon.

Among Thompson's bits of advice: to keep from answering meddling questions, she says, "In advance of the holidays, practice non-responses or evasive responses, such as 'Do you really think so?' or 'That's an interesting question. Let me think about it.' In front of a mirror, practice the blank stare."

Thompson previously contributed articles to the "Dating" edition of the series.

Her next assignment is for the "Parenting" edition due out next year. While not paid for her input, she enjoys the publicity, she said.

She is the author of "Be the Best You Can Be A Guide to Etiquette and Self-Improvement for Children and Teens."

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