Early one morning, I was staring blankly at my computer screen, in an utter fog, wishing I weren’t allergic to caffeine, when the following message from my friend G popped up in Facebook Messenger:
I knew right off the bat that this couldn’t be G. First of all, he would never call me Barbara. (The only person who ever used my full first name was my mother when she was pissed off.)
But the other big hint that this couldn’t be G was the fact that he passed away 3 months ago. For a split second, I wished fervently that it was really him, that his death was a huge mistake, but I knew better.
And that instantly infuriated me. This was clearly a scammer, and I bet he reached out to everyone on G’s contacts list, so that must have been a painful jolt to his wife and kids. How cruel.
So I decided to mess with this person.
Me: “Hi G! How are you?”
(As I typed that, I wished this guy was burning in hell.)
G: “Am fine, Busy online Searching on what to invest my Grant Money on and you?”
(Yep, definitely not G. G knew how to punctuate and capitalize.)
Me: “I’m good. Same old, same old.”
G: “Good. Was wondering if you’ve heard about the federal government grant?”
Me: “No I haven’t.”
G: “The Grant is placed for those who need assistance buying a home, paying for bills, starting their own business, going to school, or even helping raise their children with old and retired people .This is a new program, i got $100,000 delivered to me when i applied for the grant and you don’t have to pay it back.”
(I cannot believe anyone would fall for this scam during the Trump era. No way on earth is the government going to give us money to help ease our suffering, without some serious strings attached. This scammer must think the streets here are paved with gold.)
Me: “Wow. That’s good luck considering all you’ve been through.”
(Like, uh, dying.)
G: “Thought you might have heard about it already?”
Me: “No. We haven’t talked in months.”
(That’s putting it mildly. If only we could.)
G: “I contacted the online claiming agent through link and he checked me.”
Me: “Checked you for what?”
(Rabies? Psychopathy? A serious lack of common decency?)
“By the way, we should talk about the 900 dollars I owe you.”
(I threw that in just to see if I could get this guy spun up and excited and waste more of his time. The more of his time that I wasted, the less time he’d be spending scamming someone else. But at this point, the scammer went silent for a day. I guess it takes one to know one. So I decided to give it one last try.)
“Seriously, though, I do feel guilty for not paying you back yet.”
G: “Forget about that yet. I know when you have it you will pay up.”
(What a mensch. Especially since I never asked G for money in my life.)
“Let’s talk about the good news. If you click on this link and fill out this form, you might be able to get the grant money, too.”
That’s when I started getting bored with the game. Of course I wasn’t going to click on any link and turn over my social security number or my bank or credit card information, or open myself up to ransomware. So, for my final salvo, I decided to let him have it.
Me: “Sorry, ‘G’, I’m not going to click on your link, and here’s why. You stole the identity of one of the most decent human beings I’ve ever known. He was kind and generous and supportive. He also died three months ago, leaving behind a lot of people who are heartbroken and who loved him very much. I doubt a scammer like you will ever be able to say the same thing, because you don’t build relationships, you take advantage of people. I think the real G would be highly amused by the fact that I’ve been able to waste so much of your time. I also think that since he was very protective of his loved ones, he’d be outraged to know that you probably also reached out to his wife and children, who are still grieving, and this must have given them considerable pain. Sitting in your dingy, third-world room in front of your crappy computer, you already know what I’m about to tell you: You are cursed. Maybe that’s revenge from my friend G and people like him, or bad karma from the pain you cause when you rob little old ladies of their life savings, or maybe it’s just your fate, but you wouldn’t be doing this if you weren’t desperate for the one thing that will never make you happy: Money. Know this: NOTHING will ever go right for you for the rest of your life until you change your ways and try to have a positive impact on people, rather than a negative, toxic one. Right now, you are pathetic. But you don’t have to stay that way. It’s up to you.”
I doubt any of this will sink in. I’m sure it wasn’t even read. But I have to say, I feel cleansed.
I learned a new word recently. Drabble. According to wikipedia, “A drabble is a short work of fiction of around one hundred words in length. The purpose of the drabble is brevity, testing the author’s ability to express interesting and meaningful ideas in a confined space.”
To this I say, challenge accepted! And I soon discovered that once I started to drabble, I couldn’t stop. (Yes, I’m officially turning this word into a verb.) I like it so much, this may become a regular thing in my blog.
So, without further ado, here are my first 4 drabbles. Feel free to drabble in the comments section! (Or just comment. That works, too.)
On the Brink
I stand at the edge of the cliff, taking in the view. It’s comforting to feeI small by comparison. Nature, man. Who can top it? It embraces me, cradles me in its loving arms. I’m a tiny part of a much larger whole.
Awe is such a heady feeling. Just breathing it in. Just being. I’m renewed.
How can people look upon this beauty and still jump? How profound does your level of despair have to be before the tears in your eyes make you blind to this miracle, this splendor? Maybe, just maybe, some people think they can fly.
I truly believe that there are few things in life that aren’t greatly improved by extra cheese. I could guzzle a cup of melted cheese, tilt my head back and pour it down my throat, with no regrets except for the lack of free refills. It couldn’t be less healthy than a slurpee or a shake, and it would be infinitely more satisfying. But I’ve always been more savory than sweet.
There’s nothing like looking forward to mozzarella after a particularly hard day. Who needs drugs or alcohol? Give me cheddar or feta, and all my cares slip away.
“You’re so loved it’s pathetic,” he said. And deep down, I knew he was right. I have amazing family and friends. They lift me up. They carry me forward. They bear witness. They buffer me from life’s tempests.
As isolated as I often am, I’m never truly alone. Knowing that sustains me. It makes all this possible. All this abundance. All this beauty. I’m really rich in the only ways that matter. Life is such a gift when it’s filled with the lives of others.
“You’re so loved it’s pathetic,” he said.
And yet he still left me.
It’s not the destination, it’s the journey. At least that’s the current wisdom. And I tend to agree. Usually.
But not when I’m trapped in an airport on Thanksgiving day, imagining the turkey getting cold and gossip getting hot. Not when I’m paying too much at Starbucks when I’d much rather have my sister’s apple pie. Not when they’ve lost my luggage and my rental car reservation and I feel my throat getting sore, and there’s no wifi and my book isn’t in my carry on.
I’m grumpy and tired. Screw the journey. I just want to go home, please.
There’s nothing I hate more on this earth than a bully. And I happen to interact with one regularly. Her aggression really intimidated me at first. But over time when she realized I wasn’t going to budge about certain things, she then had to get increasingly nit-picky until now the things that she blows up about seem ever more pathetic.
Now when I see her starting to puff up like a bullfrog, instead of becoming tense, I’m hard-pressed not to laugh. I can see how weak and ineffectual she truly is, and it’s quite obvious that that’s the one thing she fears—that her weakness will be revealed. That’s the thing about bullies. They may seem to loom large, but they’re really hollow inside.
I’m a fairly laid back, peace-loving individual, but if someone bullies a person that I happen to love, watch out. I will cut a beyotch. Don’t even try it. Funny that it has only been recently that I’ve learned to stand up for myself as ferociously as I stand up for those I love. And even now, it’s doesn’t come naturally to me to do so. But the older I get, the more tired I become, and the less I’m willing to tolerate abuse.
It’s rather sad that we live in a world where we have to learn to counteract such hostile behavior in order to effectively function. But it’s nice to be one of the good guys. I look at my bully and I don’t envy her that miserable existence. She may think she’s punishing others, but the main person she punishes is herself, because she’s tense, unhappy and friendless.