Then New Years.
Somewhere in the middle, Melissa and I had a small going away party.
A whole lot of plane tickets were bought.
Our travel agent, Lynn, earned herself a long nap.
And here we are, a couple hours from departure to Belize. I finished packing a full five hours before the flight, which is an all-time record – prompted by my highly responsible girlfriend who doesn’t think idling away my last day here with Sudoku puzzles is a particularly efficient way to spend my time.
Yes sir, I’ve actually pretty much made all the preparations I need to make, said goodbye to everyone I need to say goodbye to, done every little thing I need to do…I think…
…So some jackass stole my identity and has been using it to collect donations.
I was alerted to this on Christmas Eve, though it’s been going on since August. A guy posted my video on a site called YouTube.com, claiming to be its creator. He asked for PayPal donations at the address: firstname.lastname@example.org – a string of letters which, coincidentally, happens to contain my name.
I hold YouTube in no way responsible for this. They seem like nice folks and they certainly can’t be expected to confirm that everyone is who they say they are, but the video has gotten several hundred thousand downloads on their site and a lot of those downloaders surely saw the bogus request for donations.
I was able to write to the guy who posted the video, through the site’s message service. I told him I don’t know who he is, but I’m almost certain he’s not me, and he better stop what he’s doing.
“listen, I need money badly. I cant get a job because im bipolar and my parents are poor. I’ve already racked up ~$250 with my little "scam" but im willing to let you have 5% of my earnings. I DID post the video online. Uploading it to this website, used .20% of my monthly allocated bandwidth transfer, costing me a deduction of .5 megs of my child pornography downloading habit. The strain on my ISP was immense when uling (sic) this video, so I do deserve at least $245+ . Please IM me if you’d like to discuss the 5%. brb cops”
How about that? What an asshole!
Here’s my dime-store, pop-psych evaluation: the guy recognizes, on some level, how much of a scumbag he is, and has inserted ironic exaggerations of his depravity to diminish the significance of his less-than-upstanding behavior.
By implying a kiddie porn habit, he’s poking fun at me for equating such an activity with what he’s done. The “brb cops” at the end is, I think, shorthand for “I’ll be right back, the cops are chasing after me,” which again ironically suggests that he’s some sort of hunted criminal. The subtext is: “So I used your name to bilk money from people. Big deal. It’s not like I should be put in jail. Don’t be such a prick.”
Point taken. Maybe I shouldn’t take this so seriously. Maybe I shouldn’t reporty you to the FBI’s internet fraud division and have them contact the relevant authorities in your area. Maybe, instead, I should just make your AIM screen names of: “ZLK” and “thewinecork” available to whomever reads this and leave it at that.
The root of the issue is this. All you need to know is as follows: I will never ask you to pay me for anything. This site is gratis, as is the video, wherever it might be found. If anyone says differently – even if they claim to be me – for God’s sake don’t give them anything. The real me is doing just fine, thank you.
I’m pretty skeptical about that $250 figure, anyway. Hopefully it’s just the raving fabrications of some stunted, semi-functional man-child.
Anyway, plane leaving soon. Lots on my mind. Gotta make sure I’m not forgetting anything. Further dispatches to be issued sporadically from points south, southeast, east, and beyond. Map to be updated automatically. Correspondence is, as always, welcomed, though it may take me a couple weeks to reply.