In the span of a week, both Brian and I received letters informing us that our financial/personal/medical records may have been compromised, and are possibly in the hands of an evil villain who will use them to first destroy us, and then topple our government and take over the White House.
Well, the letters didn't exactly go into those specifics, but I can only assume that will be the eventual outcome. I watch TV. I know how these things work.
First came my letter from the Department of Veterans Affairs. Yes, I'm a veteran. Please remember me on those holidays in which you revere all heroes of this country. During my few short years in the Army Reserve, I heroically performed such tasks as bravely typing memos, fearlessly moving things from one corner of a room to another, boldly stuffing a rucksack full of unnecessary items and schlepping it up a hill, valiantly staying awake during classroom instruction, and courageously consuming an incredibly diverse range of beige or grey food items. Now, as it happens, a VA employee has managed to lose track of a laptop computer which contained the records of many thousand current and former servicefolk such as myself. Jack Bauer has been contacted, so there's an excellent chance the country will be saved from total destruction, but who knows how many lives will be lost in the process?
And since Jack's attempt to save the world will be thwarted and stalled at every twist and turn by everyone he knows with the exception of maybe one or two brilliant, clever people who clearly idolize him and/or want to sleep with him, this could take a while. In the meantime, I have to plan for my future.
The missing data contains my medical and financial records, and I've been trying to think of ways to protect myself against the misuse of this sensitive information. First, there's the financial data. I have extremely good credit at this point. (Surprised, asshole? Actually, me too.) But I know that it would take less than a year for an evildoer to wad my lovely credit up in a ball and wipe his villainous backside with it, eventually leaving me bankrupt, starving and homeless, begging on the street for money to buy a nonfat, no-foam latte at Starbucks.
To insure against the possibility of abject poverty, I am hereby setting up a "Friends of Karla" donation program. I'll accept donations from you (yes, you) in any amount, but I think we both agree that it's pretty tacky to donate in anything other than multiples of $100. Because Bank of America, where my modest checking account is kept, is probably not logistically able to handle the thundering avalanche of cash that will surely come crashing in the moment I post this, I have had the foresight to set up several overseas bank accounts, so that I can keep the money spread out across several continents. I am also prepared to invest heavily in tech stocks and Purina dog food, to further distribute the cumbersome pile of money. Some of the cash I will simply bury beneath my house for quicker access. I realize there may very quickly come a time when I need to think of even more options for housing the ever-increasing influx of donations, but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it. For now, I simply ask that you reach deep into your pocketbooks, your friends' pocketbooks, your mother's jewelry box, and your boss's cash register and donate whatever you can, as often as you can, until it hurts, to save this poor veteran from the clutches of impending disaster.
Next, there's the matter of the medical records. While I never wanted it to get out that I had such extensive and repeated STD testing in the 90s, I feel that a little bit of embarrassment is the least of my worries here. I have no idea what evil could be wrought by a criminal in possession of medical records, but I don't have time to sit around and speculate. All I can do now is prepare for the worst, so I'm setting up a "Friends of Karla" Organ Donation program. I ask you to donate whatever bodily organs you can spare, up to and including your heart, lungs, kidney, and skin. Got a friend with a nice, healthy liver? Appropriate it and send it in, ASAP. I'll also be accepting donations of blood, type B Negative. (Nice, huh? My blood type and my attitude toward life are the same! Ho, ho--I tell you, even in the face of disaster I still have a sense of humor. Don't you admire my strength, my courage?)
There's no time to waste, since we have no way of knowing what plans this medical records thief has, or how quickly he will be able to act on them. I have already bought several large, commercial-grade freezers to accommodate the organ and blood donations when they start rolling in, and I have alerted the US mail service, Federal Express and UPS that they will need to increase their staff for the next several months, lest they be buried in a mountain of packages and letters as a result of your unrelenting generosity and humanitarianism.
So please, I hate to seem rude, but there's no time for you to sit around reading this blog today. You've got to mobilize your friends, family, coworkers, acquaintances, even total strangers, to get started now collecting and sending donations.
Oh, and Brian got a letter too; this one from the company that handles his student loan. Apparently someone who worked for a records management company that handles the financial data for many thousands of current and former college students has taken a bunch of those records hostage and is willing to trade them for cash, guns, an unlimited supply of Gummy Bears, and safe passage to Brazil. Or hell, maybe they just lost the records, I can't recall, but I do remember the letter saying that the data had been compromised. I'd set up a donation program for Brian, too, but I worry that doing so might decrease donations to my own fund, with some people dividing up their meager life savings between the two funds. Let him figure out his own way out of this mess; I'm looking out for number one. If he starts to look hungry I might flip him a couple bucks, but beyond that, he's going to have to be responsible for himself, and dig his way out of financial ruin on his own. If there's one thing I hate, it's someone who's looking for a handout.