Saturday, July 3, 2010


How many millions of dollars have you been offered in letters from Chad or Angola or some other far away country? Some of these spoke of the desperate need to get a fortune out of the country and begged for help (in form of cash) to expedite this complicated process. Another was notifying you of your fabulous luck in winning their national lottery. Of course, the taxes were your responsibility but once the money was received to cover the tax bite, the winnings were all yours. You don’t remember entering this country’s lottery? With that much free money waiting for you, does it really matter?
This week’s scheme arrived in the form of an eight page letter personalized by my name, relating my very unique abilities and charms had been discovered by some highly placed person. That there were any rare and hidden traits was a total surprise to me, as was the fact that knowledge of these traits had popped up in some stranger’s possession.
The writer was so excited for me. He had once been destitute but now was wealthy beyond description. The eight-pages continued to tell of how he had been discovered as a person like myself, with all these yet to be developed traits that created such success. After he was given a dusty old book containing the secrets to success in all ventures, all things had become possible to him. Now he was extending an offer of a reprinted copy of this book of secrets that made all these wonders possible. Free! Instructions couldn’t have been simpler. Place a check mark by your name on a form stating that you had been made aware of your possession of special and rare traits and were willing to accept a free membership in this exclusive secret association and receive a free copy of the book of secrets. There was a 3-day deadline for responding and a warning that there would be no future offers.
I read every word, hunting for the hook and line that was going to allow me to be reeled into something costly. The warning we hear often “If it sounds too good to be true, it is” was upper most in my mind.
The good ole Internet was near at hand; the book’s name was typed into Google. A long list of messages from others who had received identical letters appeared with various remarks describing their reactions and their hopes for the sender’s future.
Of course, it was “a come-on”. The information in the 68-page booklet gave no wonderful instruction. Complainants were told that the message was there but could only be absorbed by the sub-conscience. Another book to help interpret this first one could be purchased for less than $200 dollars. The hook!
Ignore these schemes. Keep your money. Toss the offers in the trash or read them to admire the various techniques used but don’t believe a word and DO NOT SEND MONEY!

Thursday, July 1, 2010


When WWII was still raging, a day off from duty was still a day to relax and putter at what ever you choose. Our best friends lived across the street in La Armada, our navy-housing complex. My sailor boy and the one across the street, were in the same squadron and had the same duty hours so on their days off they were often together tinkering on some old car.

Our friend, who was nicknamed Boob, a name that seems rather fitting according to this day’s events, was almost recovered from a broken leg, the result of a football accident, and was still under the doctor’s care.

On this day, he had a motorcycle he was trying to tune up and unfortunately; he was unable to get it started. The natural thing to do was to call upon his buddy across the street to pull him and his motor until he could get it to fire up.

So, the guys hooked the motor to whatever old jalopy we owned that time and they maneuvered their way out to some wide-open space. Then away they went until the motor fired and began to purr and then to pick up speed. That’s when the rider realized he had no brakes. His immediate thought was that he was approaching the rear end of his buddy’s car at an undesirable speed so he quickly swerved and roared pass the tow car. At that moment, their eyes met, and they both realized the unavoidable was only seconds away. 

One hit the end of the rope; the other hit his brakes.

Explaining to his fiery Creole wife why there was gravel embedded in the numerous scrapes on the not quiet healed broken leg took considerable creativity and managing to present an open honest face the next day as he told the doctor that he had fallen down the stairs fazed him not at all.

His wife, an excellent housekeeper, was a bit miffed that he had indicated her waxed and polished floor could have held such filth. Boob’s assurances that the doctor could not have believed such an absurd tale, cooled her temper only slightly.

He was in the doghouse for weeks.