Tuesday, April 22, 2008

New Day #117

The hardest part of doing something new every day for a year is coming up with ideas. Or I should say cheap ideas. Or perhaps I should say cheap, quick ideas.

But, once in a while, something cheap and quick happens all on its own, and it’s a blessing. Like having my identity stolen.

I’d just finished filming a segment for an upcoming profile on Oregon Art Beat when I got a panicked message from regional marketing manager Michal Drannen at Powells.com, where I'm guest blogging this week.

"I need to know if you're okay," he said. "And if you're in Toronto."

I called back and learned that promotions specialist Danielle Marshall, in an obvious punishment for her “holy pointy hats” comment about His Holiness, the Pope, had just spent twenty-eight minutes talking to a Marc Acito impersonator.

That’s right. An impersonator. I feel like Elvis. It’s only a matter of time before guys in tights and shiny shirts start performing at birthday parties.

“I’m in a big mess,” faux Marco said. “I got mugged in Toronto and I’ve been stabbed.”

Poor Danielle freaked, which I must admit makes me feel all snuggly. It’s nice to know people care about you. Once, when I was in Europe, Floyd called a friend to tell her that our cat had died, causing her to burst into tears.

“No, no, no!” she wailed, prompting Floyd to weep as well. “How did it happen?” she gasped. “Was he in Europe?”

“No,” Floyd said. “BART, our cat. Not Marc.”

I tell that story because you rarely get the opportunity to know just how much you mean to people, like Tom Sawyer attending his own funeral.

“What’s weird is that he really sounded like you,” Danielle said, “although his voice was slurry. But I figured you were on morphine or something.” She was so worried she scrawled this note and waved it in front of Michal Drannen.

I’m going to put it in my scrapbook.

Like any good liar, this parallel version of me abetted the ruse with realistic details, asking Danielle whether she enjoyed the cookies I brought over, then having her get the number for Bank of America so he could cancel the credit card that got stolen. Then he told her he needed to change his flight and it would cost $150 and Powell’s needed to pay for it.

That’s when she got suspicious. “I mean, why wouldn’t you call your partner?” she said to me. “Or one of your many, many friends?” Still, she was worried it might be me, delirious and trapped in a foreign country, so she stayed on, trying to suss out the truth.

Meanwhile, Michal played Hercule Poirot, getting his boss Dave Weich to track down Floyd, who informed him that, to the best of his knowledge, I had not made a run for the border.

Now Danielle got all Miss Marpley on the phone. “Apparently there’s some confusion," she said. "Your partner says you're here in Oregon.”

Then the scammer made his fatal mistake, replying, “How can there be confusement?”

Confusement. Case closed on account of illiteracy.

That said, I must say I love the word, which sounds like something George W. Bush would say.

Like any good mystery, the Case of the Canadian Confusement has some interesting twists. For instance, I’m not the first Powell’s guest blogger to have been scammed this way. Take a look at Donald Ray Pollock’s version and you’ll see some of the same techniques.

What’s more, both How I Paid for College and Attack of the Theater People are capers revolving around identity theft, the latter so much so it’s been as a “gay Ocean’s 11.”

Still, who could have guessed that the guest blogger would be gathering material for another novel?

Digg | Del.icio.us | Reddit | StumbleUpon


Brian M. Askew said...

That sounds horrible! *gasps* An imposter! I'm glad everything turned out okay. It sound like that man should have stayed in school...

Laurie said...

You have officially arrived, getting your own personal impersonator. Next you'll get a stalker.

I'm sorry to hear about Bart the cat's demise, but that story almost made orange juice shoot out my nose.

Mead said...

I'm delighted you're not perforated, but what about OPRAH???? We're freaking out over here....

Debbi said...

I'm really glad you're alright. That's scary though. Um, I'd check your credit report though, just to make sure he's not paying for trips or townhouses in your name. lol.
I pity the hacker who trys to use my name. DENIED DENIED DENIED. He'll not get a dimes worth of credit from around here, trust me.

Derek T. Pickens said...

AMAZING story!

Your book is supposed to be on my door step very soon. I just hope it comes in time for my road trip this weekend!

Marc Acito said...

I'm hearing from friends that their orders through Amazon are arriving so yours should too. I hope you enjoy.

And thanks for the heads up Debbi about the credit report. I still can't get over what a strange story it is. Chances are when it ends up in a book, people will say it was too outlandish to be real.

bwats said...

i hope this doesn't turn you off of toronto...we still need you...even though we apparently steal identities and can't say big words...

...did you say ANOTHER novel!?

Marc Acito said...

We'll see. Nothing official yet, but I've got some new projects brewing.

David said...

It's a shame you're not a biological female, because you could have your own drag queen impersonators.

Jamie said...

Maybe this is the start of a Vegas show?