Saturday, August 20, 2011

A Change of Course

I wanted to fill you in on something that been going on in my mind about Smotherless Babies (that is still a crazy thing to say in a sentence) and the future of my little blog.

I started to respond to Mrs. Faith John, but I could not do it. I have been thinking more and more about the effect my responses may have on the spammer. By playing into his thinking, I worry that I am perpetuating a faulty view they have of Christianity. I know that the teaching of the prosperity gospel is ubiquitous throughout Nigeria (I am ethnically profiling that the scammer has to be from Nigeria because it is the only country with individuals dastardly enough to do something like this), and greed is a component of the pseudo-Christianity they have been taught. Therefore, when I display greed (even though it is filled with sarcasm, hyperbole and tons of laughs), I defame the name of true Christianity and ultimately the God we serve. For this reason I have decided not to respond to those who claim to be giving money to a fellow Christian (even though it's in my wheel house). It is very unlikely that the person who is sending the email would respond to the gospel over email, and I don't anticipate trying to convince him, but what I want to avoid is being a fuel in the fire that the Devil has set (though it is rife for purifying comic gold).

Does this mean that the blog will stop? Oh. no. I'm not saying that I am giving up on making fun of people in ways that are culturally and linguistically ambiguous to them. Au contraire, mon frere (that's pronounced "Oh, contrayer, moo frayer"). I got an email today from someone who wants to give me 62 million pounds because I am the next of kin to Sir John Paul Getty II. My mind is already racing with ideas. Stay tuned for that one...

Sunday, July 3, 2011

June 30 - First Scammer Email

From Mrs.Faith John,

Dearest in Christ,

I am the above named person from South Africa. I am married to Dr Clement John who worked with South Africa Embassy in Ivory Coast for nine years before he died in the year 2008. We were married for twenty one years without a child.

He died after a brief illness that lasted for only four days. Before his death we were both born again Christian. Since his death I decided not to remarry or get a child outside my matrimonial home which the Bible is against. When my late husband was alive he deposited the sum of ($2,500,000).Two Million Five Hundred Thousand Dollars in the Security Company here in Abidjan,and adviced me that he used my name as the next of kin and security company officials does not know the real contents of the trunk box because he comorflage it as (FAMILY VALUABLES AND TREASURES) it is still with the Security Company.

Recently my Doctor told me that i have serious sickness which is cancer problem the one that disturbs me most is my stroke sickness.Having known my condition I decided to donate this fund to a church or individual that will utilize this money the way I am going to instruct herein. I want a church that will use this fund for orphanages, widows, propagating the word of God and to endeavor that the house of God is maintained.

The Bible made us to understand that,Blessed is the hand that giveth, I took this decision because I don't have any child that will inherit this money and I don't want my husband's efforts to be in vain. I don't want a situation where this money will be used in an ungodly way. This is why I am taking this decision. I am not afraid of death hence I know where I am going. I know that I am going to be in the bosom of the Lord. Exodus 14 VS 14 says that the lord will fight my case and I shall hold my peace and i know with this development With God all things are possible.

As soon as i receive your reply I shall give you the contact of the security company here in Abidjan.I want you and the church to always pray for me because the lord is my shephard. My happiness is that I lived a life of a worthy Christian. Whoever that Wants to serve the Lord must serve him in spirit and Truth. Please always be prayerful all through your life.Contact me on the above e_mail address for more informations, any delay in your reply will give me room in sourcing another church or individual for this same purpose.

Please assure me that you will act accordingly as I Stated here.
Hoping to receive your reply.
Remain blessed in the Lord.
Yours in Christ,
Mrs.Faith John

July 3 - My first response

Mrs. Faith John,

I am so glad that you emailed me. It sounds like you have quite the story. Just for clarification, are you in South Africa or Abidjan? I get those two confused, but I hear southern Africa is beautiful this time of year.

I am sorry for your husband's death. I would love to have met him. It appears he was a real genius. To camouflage a trunk box containing 2.5 million dollars with the words FAMILY VALUABLES AND TREASURES displays a high level of aptitude. I would have probably labeled the box BORING OLD TAX DOCUMENTS and someone would have thrown them away. You know, Al Gore actually had this idea for America's Social Security plan, but he is an idiot, so no one listened.

I do want to correct one thing you said in your letter. You seem to believe that the Bible forbids you to remarry and have children. It is really clear in the New Testament that after the death of your spouse you can remarry. I have already picked out my replacement wife (just in case). I just hope Joan Rivers outlives my current wife, because I have no plan C. Now, you may have some trouble as you are suffering from cancer (are you bald yet?) and a stroke sickeness (does one side of your face sag?). To be honest (and I am speaking as a guy here) you are not very marketable. We are mostly interested in how a woman looks. Think Joan Rivers and you will know what we are all about. Maybe one of those match maker sites that doesn't require a picture could help you...

One thing you are right about: the Bible teaches that blessed are those who give. I am impressed by your use of the early-modern-English form: giveth. I know that you wrote that first-hand and didn't copy it from anywhere, because that phrase doesn't exist in the Authorized Version. I also appreciate your use of Exodus 14:14. Whenever those pesky Egyptians are chasing me through the wilderness, I recall that God will fight for Israel in a covenant-fulfilling historical setting. Very encouraging for me as a 21st-century American.

If you want to send me the money, I will use it to maintain God's house (in a New Testament temple way) just as you have asked.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Nigerian Scam

Yesterday I got an email from one of those Nigerian scams wanting to send me 2.5 million dollars. Instead of just deleting the email, I decided I would hassle this person, just to see where it leads. The following blog is meant to document our conversation. I don't know how far it will go; we will all find out together.

May 17, 2011 - Scammer

Greetings to you, grace and peace to you from God our father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age,

I am Mrs.Lagretta Dennis a German citizen by birth and I'm married to late Dr.Dennis Patrick an oil marchant from south Africa bassed in Plateau the city of Ivoire Coast neignbouring country to Liberia,my husband died Wednesday, 12 May 2010 plane crashed in Libya, since then I have been suffering for strock sickness,presently I'm hospitalized where I am undergoing treatment for an upcoming major heart surgery operation.

We are born again christian and God blessed my family with wealth but we have no child,when my late husband was alife he deposited the sum of $2.5Million U.S.dollars in Security firm here in Abidjan the capital of Ivoire Coast,He deposited the money with trunk box as a family valuable and treasure for security reason,I decided to donate this money to any christian organisation or individual that can use this fund for enlistment of Gods work especially the smotherless baby's,widows and to buld a house of God.

I took this decision because I was raised from a Christian motherless baby's home and I have no child of my own who will inherit my wealth and my husband relations are all muslims of wich I dont want this donation fund to be inherite by unbeliver,Please reply as soon as possible to confirming your acceptance to this divine mission so that I will give you all the relevant information that will authorize the release and transfer of the fund to you.

I look forward to hear from you urgently.

Remain Bless,
Mrs.Lagretta Dennis.

May 17, 2011 - Me

Mrs Lagretta,

I am so glad that you emailed me. You would not believe the burden I have for smotherless baby's widows. Whenever I meet a widow I am reminded that they used to be married to a smotherless baby. Thank God for grace during those times!

You know what I just realized? Because of the plane crash you are now a smotherless baby's widow. I am so sorry for your loss. I hope your husband had life insurance.

Take care of yourself in your upcoming surgery. You should get some rest and not worry so much about this pesky 2.5 million. You need to relax and grieve.

May 18, 2011 - Scammer

Calvary greetings in the name of our Lord,

My son, I received and read your letter with gratitude to God and I am impressed with your reply. Honestly, am really glad to meet you as a brethren and it was my often prayers to the Almighty God to provide me someone who will not betray or disappoint me in this vow which I and my late husband made to God,I did not know you in person but God almighty know's and directed me to contact you seeing that is you who understand and have concern to Ophans and widows wich is the main reason for my donation,

The bible made us to know that all things work together for good, for those who love the Lord, for those who are called according to his purpose. His ways and thoughts are not the same as ours, and he most assuredly works in mysterious ways.If you read my first letter very well, you will understand that I am writing you with the assistance of Nurse Angela Micheal who has been helping me in the hospital here,

I want you to understand that blessed is the man or woman who trusts in the Lord and made the Lord his or her hope and confidence.( Jeremiah 17:7 ) as well our bible tells us in the book of ( I Cor. 10:31) Do all to the glory of God and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. (Phil. 2:11.Please, I want you to understand that this benevolence is in fulfillment of my heart desire and decision of my late husband which I am persuaded to actualize. This must be disbursed with every appropriation, accountability and prudence to the glory of God.
The works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness of me. (John 10:25) It is done unto you as you believe. ( Matthew 9:29, Life is lived in the present, Yesterday is gone, Tomorrow is yet to be, Today is the miracle.

My motivation of making this decision to donate this fund for the propagation of the word of God in this way is because of the predicament which I found myself into and the humiliations after many years of marriage without any Child of my own which I decided to take all I have in this world to honor God as I know that every soul shall die one day and give an account of his life at the last day in the presence of God, and as you know that after death judgment follows.
The reason why I decided to hand this fund into your care for the enlistment of God's work and because I dont have a child that will inherit our wealth and my late husband relatives are all Muslims and they are trying to take over all my late husband properties, That was the reason why I decided to seek for a foreign Christian brother or sister outside my country to help me.
On how you can receive the fund, the security company said I have to use your name to make open declaration with the federal high court stating that I have appointed you as my new beneficiary to my late husband deposited trunk box.the information’s needed are.

1, Your full name

2. Home address or church addresses

3. Telephone numbers and fax.

4. Any ID with date of Birth.
The above information will be used to obtain the affidavit of oath that will officially and legally approved you the legitimate next of kin to the fund. This document affidavit of oath will legally back you up even though I am no more alive to claim the fund without any confrontation.

Furthermore I really urge you to be praying for me and I also pray to Almighty God for protection and guidance over this project and more wisdom to handle this divine vow to his Glory and don't forget to include the assisting nurse that's helping me at the hospital in your daily prayers, Angela Micheal, she is the one that's assisting me to send you e-mail and also do most of the things that I can not do, due to my illness health.

Immediately I received your information’s, I will order Nurse Angela Micheal to go the federal ministry of justice to obtain the Affidavit of Oath on my behalf and send it to you with other documents that will empower you to receive this fund without any problem.

Please do not seize to remember me in your daily prayers.
Thanks and God Bless us

Yours in Christ

Sister Lagretta Dennis Patrick

May 19, 2011 - Me

Whew, I was surprised with the intro to your email. We play Calvary in church softball and I was afraid they had gotten to you before me and wanted the money. I don't trust those guys.

I am so happy you read my reply. It humbles me to know that you were impressed with my use of grammar and punctuation. I make mistakes, but I get back up on that proverbial word processor and keep trying.

I noticed that you said that you didn't want to be disappointed or betrayed with the use of this money. That brings up two points that I wish to discuss with you. 1. I am not a trustworthy person. I am afraid that I may use some of the money and not put it all in the ministry. I have two smotherless babies at home and I was thinking I could use a little for their college account. Also, gas and food are expensive and they have to go to school and eat, so I thought I could set up an investment portfolio that would pay quarterly to help with the cost of inflation. 2. I live in America. Under the current tax structure I am afraid that some of your money is going to end up with the government. If part of the money ends up there, you are going to be very disappointed by its use. Those crazy people go through money like water!

I also noticed that Angela Micheal is helping you. I have to admit that I missed this in your first letter. It must have been in the subtext, but I didn't see it. This wouldn't be the same Micheal listed as an Angel in the Bible would it?

Speaking of Bible, I am glad you included some randomly-strung verses in this message. I must admit I am a little perplexed by the use of John and Matthew because they have nothing to do with your paragraph. I am guessing these are included as a code for me to decipher. Surely there wouldn't be three disjointed sentences hanging at the end of a paragraph like that. If you could please help me with this code I would much appreciate it.

I can't wait to get this transaction finished so that I can start the Smotherless Baby's Widows Foundation. I do have one problem. I noticed that you said when I send my information I will be "legally approved... [as] the legitimate next of kin." We have a big problem: I am not your kin. I mean, sure, if we go back to Ham, Shem and Japheth we are all kin right? But what about the legality of such a statement in this current godless society? They will never accept our Noahic kinship as legitimate!

What do you advise?

May 19, 2011 - Scammer

My greetings to you and your family,
I read and understand all that you said,I must thank God who provide and made everythings possible for us,my son I have to said that you are trustworthy and man who fear and respect God that's why you made it clear on how you will use the money,some people can recieve the money and use it only for there own personal interest, if you can do as you said to use some of the money to buld and maintain motherless baby's home and widows foundation I will be much happy because I was raised from a Christian motherless baby's home,I can said that all you mentioned is the reason for this donation,

Like you said that you are afraid that some of my donation money may end up with the government,I will only advise you not to be afraid of the goverment but be afraid of God who created you and with him all things are possible if you can beleive,you will achieve ,his ways and thoughts are not the same as ours and he most assuredly works in mysterious ways,

Your information is needed because the security company manager said that befor them can deliver my trunk box to anybody I must legally approve and accept the person as my new beneficiary so I want you to have time and pray over this donation for God intervention and guid toward this divine mission you are chosen to do.God Bless you
Sister Lagretta Dennis.

May 19, 2011 - Me

So good to hear from you!

I am so glad it's OK to use a portion of the money for my family with two smotherless babies. I am awed by your generosity with the $2.5 million. Before we talk about specifics, I want to address something from your last email.

I think I've deciphered the code interwoven in your previous email, and I hope that the answer will solidify my abilities in your mind. The answer came to me during our church softball game tonight while we were playing Calvary (I was 3 for 4, but we lost): you purposefully didn't mention Jesus' words until the end of the paragraph, which makes me think, 'well, what did Jesus say? The last shall be first!' So, by putting Jesus last in the paragraph, you're really saying that he should be read first in the paragraph, followed by the reference "Blessed is the man who puts his trust in the Lord." (Jeremiah) So what you're saying is Jesus is first AND Lord. Now that I see the code, it's beautiful in its simplicity. Since we have only met over email, you don't know 1) that I'm really a Christian, and 2) whether I possess the general aptitude to handle $2.5 million. In one test you have figured both out and I hope that I have passed with flying colors. I'm astonished at your brilliance at conducting such a difficult exam.

I must confess one thing: while I was playing against Calvary tonight, their pitcher looked at me funny. I am worried that he knows of our transaction. We must keep this solely between us. People act differently when large amounts of money are around... I can't give this money to just anyone. It is reserved for the widows of smotherless babies.

This leads me to one final question before we start the transaction: How much should we keep for ourselves and how much should go toward the foundation? In the beginning, I thought if we kept 10% we could survive. But once I ran the numbers, I realized that unless we cut our lifestyle (back to 87 octane, shopping at Aldi, and vacationing in the US) we are going to need a little more. Do you think it would be wrong for us to use half of the $2.5 million toward the foundation and half for our family?

Anxiously awaiting your reply.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

May 20 - Scammer

Dearest in Christ.
My son we use Calvary here to greet good Christians and nobody know about this my donation accpt you so don't be worried about the transaction because our Lord Jesus Christ is in control of everything and I want you to keep every thing secret untill you recieve my donation because the old man devil never sleep, always be prayerfull,

Sister Lagretta Dennis.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

May 20 - Me

I am so glad that you are willing to keep our transaction a secret until we unveil the new foundation. This makes me feel much better about our future together. I think you are exactly correct that the devil (whom I have purposefully not capitalized out of spite) is very close to this transaction. He is one crafty adversary! We just have to remember what you already said, "if [we] can believe, [we] will achieve!" This is so encouraging because it reminds me of the OJ Simpson trial when Johnnie Cochran said, "if the glove doesn't fit, you must acquit!" What a powerful mantra to keep us on course.

I am little worried that you did not answer my question about how much of the money we should keep. I imagine this means that we are being too greedy. I am sorry if I have overstepped my bounds on the transaction. I actually had a pretty good idea today about how to deal with our compensation.

I was in Wal-Mart and I saw that they have an H&R Block in the front. These are some of America's best tax professionals, so I thought I would ask the agent about how he would handle such a transaction. This man had a mullet and smelled of Doritos and Old Spice, but I trust his advice. I think we should invest the entire amount into the foundation, but let me draw a small (minuscule, really) salary for my leadership. I think this will keep our tax liability very low, yet still allow our family to thrive in this tough economy.

It will take a little bit of money to start the foundation and I am pretty tight on cash, thanks to my two smotherless babies. Could you send me a little of the money upfront so I could get the paperwork started? It would only be $250 and can be transferred directly to my paypal account. Once I have the foundation in place, my account will be ready to receive the $2.5 million with ZERO taxes.

Monday, May 16, 2011

May 23 - Scammer

Son.I want you to understand my situation right now in the hospital and the nurse Angela who is helping me here in the hospital went to there village to see her mother,I need your urgent attention in this divine mission you are called for,I have instructed you on how you are going to use my donation fund for enlistment of God work,if you can handle this vow wich I and my late husband made to then foward your informations immediatly you recieve this massage.

Sister Lagretta Dennis

May 24 - Me

Oh my. Now you are all alone in the hospital! According to the subtext of your first message Nurse Angela was typing for you. If she has gone to the village you must be typing all by yourself... this is amazing given the state of your health condition and advanced geriatrics.

I decided to follow your instructions precisely and went for a massage. I wasn't sure why you wanted me to get one, but I knew you had a reason, so I put it on the Foundation's credit card and elected for one of the Swedish variety. They sent in this brute of a lady who's name was Hilda. She had man hands and the strength of a lion. She almost separated muscle from bone every time she rubbed. I wish you were there because I think your German would have come in handy. All I could understand was MMMMM, Bork, Bork, Bork. I barely escaped with my life. After that ordeal I came straight back to get the info ready for our transaction.

I remember from an earlier email that you need 4 pieces of info from me:
1. My Full Name: Benjamin Dover
2. Home Address: 1004 Hassle Way - New Satire City, CA 90210
3. Telephone: I don't have a number because those jerks at the phone company won't listen to reason. My oldest smotherless child used the phone to call Papua New Guinea and talked to some tribal elder about leaf lettuce for six hours. The bill was enormous and I refuse to pay it.
4. Any ID with date of birth: I have attached my Costco ID because I think that tells you the most about me. In our culture we have an elite class of people that get to shop at this store (which has huge buggies and seats for twin toddlers). I happen to belong to this special caste and am allowed in the store to purchase bulk items. When we have a spaghetti dinner to promote The Smotherless Baby's Foundation, I will go to Costco to buy the plates and plasticware.

Don't forget, I need to get a little advance from you to set up the foundation. $250 sent Western Union should cover it.