Freaking Out Squares

Monday, January 08, 2007

Identity Crises, Missed Weddings, and Squandered Talents--Live at 11!

I mentioned in passing in my last post that I lost (or someone stole) my wallet on or around November 15 in the 23rd Street N/R Station in Manhattan. Fortunately, I was on my way to my therapy group, so I was able to hit up my generous friend Muzetta for a loan to help get me through the next few days. Went through the whole dance of cancelling my credit and ATM cards and figured that would be the end of it. Dumbass that I am, my Social Security card was in my wallet. Need I go on? I mean, really, what do you think could possibly happen, given the intrinsic decency and lack of financial desperation so characteristic of humanity at large? Well, let's see. First off, the woman--I know it's a woman, 'cause she's using my name, and unfeminine as I consider it, "Karla" is not androgynous--forged a check belonging to a couple in Mt. Kisco who, as I mentioned in my last post, may or may not exist, deposited it in my bank account, extracted a considerable sum of money from that transaction, then hefted an even more considerable sum of money from my dad's account. The papa and I filled out a report with my local precinct and did all the requisite paperwork with the bank, then closed our accounts and figured that would be the end of it. Notice a theme here?

Yesterday evening, I returned from a weekend in PA, where I attended my 80-year-old grandfather's wedding, to find a whole stack of peculiar envelopes outside my door. Actually, the envelopes themselves weren't peculiar, as they were all from mainstream corporate behemoth merchants, but since I make a point of patronizing independent and/or cheap-assed boutiques, it didn't take a huge amount of neurosynaptic power to deduce that, yet again, something was rotten in the state of Denmark. Turns out the thief opened five credit cards in my name, a situation I at once find mind-boggling and terrifying, especially given my abysmal credit history. I've been joking to all my friends since this thing happened that I pitied the po' fool who attempted to open a credit card in my name, beings I'm some $2K and change in the hole on the one credit card I did open back in the day, when I had a steady, respectable job, because there was no way in hell any respectable merchant was going to allow an irresponsible, poverty-stricken case like me the opportunity to rack up even more charges on things I don't need and can't afford. Um, ha ha ha? WHAT are these stores THINKING? If I worked for a credit card company, I would NEVER offer me credit, and here are these people flippin' out the plastic like it's chocolate-covered peanuts to a person who isn't even, well, ME! Perhaps that's why...? I'm not sure I exactly believe in karmic retribution, but perhaps I should start.

And you want to know the best/worst part? You probably already know this, but I did not, given that I tend to be completely out of it regarding financial intricacies, but if you go to a store and open an account with them, you don't have to wait until you receive your card in the mail to start using it. No, they'll give you a "shopper's card," or in-store credit, or however they happen to dress it up, and you can start racking up the goods that very day. So much wrong with that, I don't even know where to start. I rather doubt any higher-ups at the credit card companies or behemoth corporate retailers are reading my blog, but a girl can dream, and thus I will outline some ostensibly obvious hazards:

1. If you don't check to see if the person to whom you're issuing the card is, in fact, the real McCoy, chances are very, very good that the real McCoy will find out what the identity thief is up to and will go through the process of cancelling the fraudulent accounts. Now, Behemoths, as you well know, TRMcC is not responsible for reimbursing you for any goods or services purchased under a fraudulent identity, and unless they catch the thief, you're gonna be out at least a couple grand. But hey, what do you care? There's more where that came from, right? And hey, what's a couple grand to you? What do I think this is, 1953 or something?

2. Okay, you've ascertained that I am, in fact, who I say I am. You've taken a blood sample, checked the footprints on my birth certificate--all of which you've managed to do at your foldout table in the front of the store next to the $400 pleather pants. But you don't check my credit history. As I said before, I would not issue me a credit card. If I, a self-realized irresponsible individual, can at least manage to be responsible enough to acknowledge that I am incapable of handling a credit card, is it too much to ask an exponentially larger body of individuals to run the quickest of checks on me and determine the same thing?
Yes, I realize that you didn't precisely offer the woman claiming to be me a $10,000 credit line. But still. Which brings us back to the first point, and so on in a continuous loop.

I have to say, the fraud departments at the various retailers have been nothing short of lovely and accomodating, and to my credit (hee), my dark sense of humor has stood in good stead. If nothing else, I've managed to keep them entertained, although one lady suggested I stop watching so much Court TV. Good advice.

*** *** *** *** ***
In happier news, my 80-year-old grandpa and his 72(?)-year-old girlfriend of four years tied the proverbial knot this past Saturday at their home in the suburbs of Harrisburg, PA. The only glitch was I missed the ceremony, even though I showed up 15 minutes before it was scheduled to take place. Grandma and Grandpa decided that since everyone else was already there, they might as well get it over with. The freakin' fudge? Y'all couldn't wait 15 more minutes for the only representative of the Grandpa side of the family to show up--on time, I might add? (English 101 students--behold an example of a rhetorical question.) In fairness to the lovebirds, I cannot imagine that planning and executing even the briefest, most unpretentious of nuptials at their advanced ages is without its considerable emotional and physical toll. In fact, they both made that abundantly clear several times throughout the day--my grandma voicing the sentiment that she'd been waiting for months for this day, and she was so glad it was over; my grandpa falling asleep in his chair in the breezeway while my new family and I yakked it up. Well, he does suffer from sleep apnea.
Oh, yes, a bit of not-so-trivial trivia--my grandmother baked her own wedding cake. Yes, she used to run a bakery, so this enterprise was--wait for it--a piece of cake by comparison, but wow. Feeling inadequate yet? And yes, it was delicious--she made it from real ingredients, after all.
Much love to both grandparents. I don't know if I can fully express how much I love you both. And thanks so much for everything.

*** *** *** *** ***
Okay, here's a little moral/metaphysical puzzle for ya. What, exactly, does it mean to "waste one's talent"? My grandma claims I am wasting my talent by not even attempting to pursue a career as a singer/actress. No, she's not an expert, but she knows what she likes, and she's not the only person who's told me I'm a good singer/actress. Is it "wasting my talent" if I just sing for my grandparents and various friends? I mean, I don't consider them a waste, certainly.

Of course, if you haven't heard me sing, I don't expect you to be able to gauge whether or not I have the goods to carve out any success in the entertainment industry. And believe me, I am well aware of my flaws. And there's a whole other motherlode of muck and mire to plow through around this issue, which I'll spare you for now. If you'd be so kind, please stick to this question and share your thoughts.

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