Sunday, August 14, 2011
If You’re Still Alive…
Who is Jeffrey Meyer and why is saying those terrible things about me?
It seems that Mr. Meyer, whom I have never met, is telling people on the other side of the globe that I am no longer amongst the living.
I know I don't have the most active social life in the world, but I think putting me on the DOA list is a little harsh.
Michael Williams, the director of the Bank of Africa, that venerable financial institution, sent me an email wanting to know if I had authorized Mr. Jeffrey Meyer of West Virginia to claim funds of $500,000 “because he informed us that you were involved in a fatal car accident.”
He informed you of that? Funny, Mr. Jeffrey Meyer never informed me. Hell, it was the least he could have done since he wants all that dough. I wonder how it happened.
The inheritance funds had been used to open an online account for me at Bank of Africa by the United Nations Compensation Unit, which we all know and love.
“So if you are still alive," Mr. Williams wrote, "please kindly get back to us so that we will not be making any mistake as we are about sending him your user name and password to logon to your online account with Bank of Africa.”
If I’m still alive? I’ve been feeling a little run down lately, but I’m pretty certain I’m still breathing. And if I’m not, it may take me a little longer to get back to you.
Now I could probably use $500,000 as much as the next person, but I’m a little suspicious of this deal.
I mean, seriously--West Virginia? Bank of Africa? Mr. Williams, could you be a little more precise? West Virginia’s a pretty big place and I believe Africa is even bigger.
“The reason why your funds were delayed last time was because you did not provide the requested documents,” Mr. Williams wrote, “To confirm that you are still alive and you are ready to transfer your funds through our online banking transfer, get back to us with the details as required below for confirmation.”
Cash or Check?
There was a last time? I thought this was the first time.
I have to be honest here: I was reluctant to write about this email at all since it mentions death and I am so incredibly superstitious.
That’s not too surprising, I guess, given that I’m Irish and Italian. I believe in leprechauns and the evil eye, and on really bad days, when I’m not sure if I’m still alive, I believe in leprechauns who give the evil eye, which are the very worst kind.
I’m so superstitious that I actually created my own irrational belief when I was a teen-ager.
I had gotten into the habit of taking the second newspaper from the stack at newsstands for the perfectly logical reason that the top one was usually pretty tattered by cheapskates who pawed the front page but didn’t bother to buy the damn paper. (This was back when people still read newspapers instead of computer screens.)
However, as time went on, I found myself avoiding the top newspaper on the stack because—I told myself--it was bad luck. Somehow bad things would befall me if I took the first paper.
Where did that come from? I can’t blame Jeffrey Meyer for that one. Superstitions can usually be traced back to something people fear or misunderstand.
In my case, I think I was trying to create some feeling of power against all the bad things in the world—like fatal car accidents.
If I take the second newspaper, I thought, I’ll get a booster shot of luck that will protect me from all the Jeffrey Meyers in the world.
I didn’t answer the Bank of Africa’s email. If Michael Williams wants to take Jeffrey Meyer’s word over mine, then I don’t want to do business with his bank.
However, he is free to send me that half-million bucks, which I’ll put to very good use—if I’m still alive.