VIRAL CONNECTIONS

It’s not even winter yet, but I’m feeling a little sumpin’ coming on. Sometimes you get a virus.  Sometimes it’s just a nagging hack.  Mine’s a full-blown hack, and no purple, non-drowsy-stuffy-nose-itchy-eyes medicine will cure this one.

I was alerted by my bright ‘n bushy-tailed neighbor – who wakes at the buttcrack of dawn to drive a school bus – announcing on my voicemail that my email account was hacked into and she was getting a message saying I was in the UK, had been mugged and needed money…pronto! Damn hackers. Normally, I would roll back under my covers and worry about it after getting a little more beauty sleep.  But then it dawned on me.  “Self,” I says, “You’re gonna have a long day filled with phone calls or emails by well-meaning friends, wanting to know what happened and how they can help. Suit up!”

I immediately rushed to my computer to do my virtual duty of changing my password, as they warn you to do when first setting up an account.  Silly me.  I ignored their advice like a teenager ignoring sage advice from a parent, rolling my eyes and saying under my breath, “Blah, blah, blah….”

I could just hear the Hotmail IT staffer in India giggling in his cubicle, saying, “We got another one, Sunesh!! Neener, neener…told ya so!”

I resorted to cutting and pasting my response in anticipation of the many messages I was going to receive, and I included these tip-offs that it was a scam:

Tip-Off #1:  I never sign my name “Catherine.”  I only use that name for professional business responses, job interviews, street walk…oh, never mind.

Tip-Off #2:  They didn’t send instructions about sending the funds.  Trust me. I would have provided you with not only my address, but my direct deposit bank account number, a Fed Ex account number, my bra size, AND my first-born.

Tip-Off #3:  The letter was replete with grammatical mistakes.  (Notice I used a big word, like “replete,” which they didn’t do.)  I don’t think they use that term in the Bronx..they would say “full-ah.”  I am a third-generation Grammar Nazi.  It just wouldn’t happen.

Tip-Off #4:  I’m unemployed, ya putz. I can barely afford a manicure.  What makes you think I’m sipping tea in the UK with the Queen Mother? AND I hate flying these days, and Amtrak doesn’t go to the UK. So, unless Sir Paul McCartney invites me personally to his ivy-covered cottage in the country, it ain’t me, bloke.

But I always try to look at the glass half full.  Yes, I spent two hours trying to change my password.  Seems the hacker changed all my security settings – things like my date of birth. Apparently, I am 18 years old and I’m from New York. (Meh, it could be worse – they could have put New Jersey.  Bring it, Snooky.) 

So the positive, half-full lesson I learned is that I now know who my real friends are.  I had people willing to Skype with me and show me their credit card numbers to help out.  Friends I haven’t talked to in years called me, and we chatted and got caught up. All but only a few of my family members jumped to my aid.  (If you didn’t, you know who you are, and you’re out of my will.)

I was just discussing with a friend how disturbing it is these days when you are on trains, planes and automobiles and nobody is talking.  Everyone is now detached – plugged into an Ipod, their computers, their cell phones or their Kindles.  Just today I watched a woman riding bikes with her young son, but she was yakking away on her phone and junior was wobbling helplessly behind her.  I almost went into hit-a-bitch mode, but I really liked her bike.

I may just respond to my hacker…I mean myself…whatever…and thank him or her for their timely lack of judgment.  Instead of telling them to get a life and stop inconveniencing mine, or that I’m sending Uncle Nunzio to pay them a visit, I may just ask them if they’d like to go have a spot of tea.

But the next time you get a similar message from me, hopefully I’ll be getting mugged in Italy.  No, really, it will be me. Send money care of the American Embassy.

I love me some gelato.

1 Comment

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One response to “VIRAL CONNECTIONS

  1. Love it! I must say for a nano-second, I considered that you and Mike had gone to the UK without telling anyone. Glad you’re safely home, unemployed.

    Like

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