This was published earlier at Markkaplowitz.com.
I recently received a message saying that my email account “has been implicated in a security breach.” After I calmed down and stopped pacing around with my hands in the air, asking “Why me?”, I wondered what these hackers could possibly have wanted with my emails….
“Well, sir, we have discovered that his sister is coming over to visit in a few weeks, and that he has a 20% off coupon to Target.”
“Hmm. Not sure what I’m going to do with that yet. But go on. What else did you find?”
“He is delinquent in reading all emails from The Wooden Spoon Store.”
“Well, that is interesting. Do you know what that means?”
“Obviously the account custodian is involved in a ideological battle with this retailer. Run with it!”
The story that The Wooden Spoon Store along with other online retailers was involved in an ideological battle with me tarnished its squeaky clean image and hurt sales. I was interviewed several times about my thoughts on the store.
They shoved microphones in my face, and asked, “Why did you not read those emails from the Wooden Spoon Store?”
“Because I don’t use wooden spoons,” I replied.
Then the FBI announced in an unsigned letter that they were “taking a closer look at a few emails that merit a closer look” and I had to testify before Congress.
“Mr. Kaplowitz, it says here according to this email dated…ah, where is the date. Excuse me,” turning to his right, “Senator, can you help me? Where is that email I was going to talk about?”
“Um, I don’t know, Senator. You had all your papers on your table.”
“I did? Well, anyway. Mr. Kaplowitz, I understand that you believe that the Wooden Spoon Store is manipulating the market for wooden spoons. What evidence do you have to back that up?”
“I don’t have any evidence. And I never said that the store was manipulating anything.”
“Well, it was taken out of context.”
At my sentencing for violation of the Fancy Kitchen Wares in Lawful Commerce Act and a slew of other fraud and obstruction of justice charges, I was given the opportunity to address the judge and all three employees of the Wooden Spoon Store.
“To my fellow human beings, I am sorry that I never read the emails you sent me, advising me of specials and other deals. I should have taken the Terms of Service more seriously. This was grievous error and I am glad that I am going to be punished for it.”
I served my time in a special prison for hackers, computer fraudsters, and people who post on Facebook about their long distance running. These fellow inmates taught me how to read online newspapers without paying. Upon my release for good hygiene, I put this skill to use and today I read upwards of four articles a day without paying for them.
Have I traded one kind of fraud for another? Perhaps. But a man’s got to make a living somehow.