Sunday, July 27, 2014

You got a friend

There is a big hullabaloo going on over at Fet at the moment. Isn't there always you may be thinking? Well this one is interesting. The cause of all the stink is an alleged catfish (a person who fabricates an online persona to dupe people into relationships) who became ill. The in hospital fighting a life threatening illness isn't the cause of the stink... well it is to some degree. No what is really causing the stink is that a friend did the decent thing and raised funds for this person, who may or may not exist.

Now ethical issues aside one of the big things to come from all of this ongoing shemozzle is don't give money to strangers on the net, however well you may think you know them or for how long. The general feeling is that online it is too easy to fake this shit.
And confirm people are who they say they are...
The list goes on and all one can think is yeah this shit is not that simple...

Many years ago when one was a mad young thing living in Sydney, one ended up working for a husband and wife combo who were running a restaurant.  The whole team got along famously, in fact one ended up living with a couple of them for some time. They arranged one's wedding to the girlfriend of the time, in fact the husband gave one away... but one does digress and that is a tale for another time.

During this period the husband came out as gay and gay politics being what they are, we got him in their eventual divorce. It was a mad drug and alcohol fuelled time where we all partied like crazy, hell one was nineteen/ twenty and living far, far away from family... as far as one could get in fact. While one was off out on the town for a few days the husband moved into one's room and very neatly got one out of the flat. His excuse was that it was all a misunderstanding and that he assumed as one had married the girlfriend that one was moving out. Of course the reality was that one had no intention of living with the wife all the time.
Hello party girl, why would one want to move into the National Park where she lived, miles from lights? But again, a story for another time...

At the time one thought nothing of it, well a mild sense of annoyance and one drifted away from that group. Life in Sydney being what it was everyone moved in circles, sometime they overlapped often time they didn't. Eventually one left the country for some time, before moving back to live in Brisbane. The world is a small place though and out one night with the partner of the time one ran into the husband at a party. It was all very surreal and gay... lots of kissing and pretending that nothing had happened as we caught up.

It was late in the evening when he mentioned, almost casually, that he was dying of aids.
To this day one can still see those brown eyes radiating truth and honesty and complete sincerity, as he shared that profoundly intimate detail of his life.
The night wore on and there were the usual promises to stay in touch, which of course one didn't do. If one was good at that sort of shit then one would be a different person and frankly, fuck with one once is all the chance you are going to get.

Anyway six months or so down the track one ran into a mutual acquaintance of both oneself and the husband. What a merry tale they turned out to have...
Apparently he took people for a lot of money, support, free rent, gifts and whatnot. It seems that he was faking the whole dying thing... and the aids and probably a lot more besides. There was a part of one that wasn't the least bit surprised. After that whole flat misunderstanding thing one was more than a little cynical about the man.

But the moral of this story is don't be thinking that meeting people in real time is going to save you, neither is camming, nor skyping, nor any other form of confirmation. Cons will always find a way. They are highly specialised group of predators and they are good at what they do... well the successful ones are at any rate.
If you want to give money to people do so, but don't do it thinking that they owe you anything, be it friendship, loyalty, honesty or truth in return. That thinking will lead to a great deal of disappointment.


mc kitten said...

I'm with you on this one - this is where my 'trust noone' approach comes in nicely. it sounds like a an unpleasant way to live but really its a cheerful one!

if someone needs something and i can give it and want to, then I do and think no more about it. I've already considered that they may be lying - therefore I've just given the thing, got the 'i've been nice' feel factor from it and - and that's it, i've given it/them no more emotional investment, i rarely even think about it again.

Similarly if I lend something, it's with the presumption i wont get it back, then if I do it's a nice surprise! At the same time, if it's something I don't want to loose then I simply don't lend it.

Tamar said...

Brilliant post, spot on. And yeah- I've seen enough to be jaded whenever I hear of an internet acquaintance suffering a life-threatening malady I have to take it with a grain of salt, especially if there's something they've done to set off my "bullshit" meter in the past. It's sad that you have to be so cynical in this day and age, but I absolutely believe dishonesty is rampant- especially on the internet.

ancilla_ksst said...

Well, I'm not allowed to give money to anyone, privately or well known charity (after I gave money to an organization Master didn't approve of), but wow, that was quite some con game that guy pulled. Your life was ever so much more interesting than mine back then.

Master's piece said...

LOL life was colourful in the extreme :D