Annoying the Scam Artists

You wouldn’t know it by the number of fake phone calls I get, but I am on the “Do Not Call” list.

In the course of a day, I average a dozen bogus solicitations from ne’er-do-wells of every stripe; credit card flim-flam men to fake IRS agents. Because of caller ID, I usually avoid the interactions. Usually, but not always…

A heavily accented voice came through the speaker,

“Hello, this is tech support. We’re calling about problems we have noticed on your computer.”

tech support at computer

I knew where this was headed but was suffering from writer’s block and needed a distraction.

Plus, I figured if they were going to waste my time, turnabout is fair play.

He continued, “Is this the owner of the computer we have on file?”

“I don’t know,” replied I, “Where would I find your records so I can tell you if I am that person?”

“You don’t have them. We do.”

“Oh, so how would I know if I’m the owner of the computer you have on file?”

Sighing, “Um, never mind. We are calling from vendor.”

I got that he was saying “vendor” but his accent was so think, it came across as “vindoer,” plus he omitted the word “the,” giving me my opening.

“Is Vindoer in Europe?” [Read more…]

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Driving Prosperity

Note: Over the last short while, I’ve received amazing feedback on my previous pieces about the path on which I find myself in rebuilding my faith and prosperity. I’m touched and humbled because, although I always aim to be transparent, these last few have been extremely personal and I was nervous about sharing. Your feedback has been reassuring; moreover I’m amazed by how many people feel the same. This column brings that journey to a stop sign — at least as far as things stand today. Thank you for coming along.

With that as backstory, we have two cars.

the pontiac when it was youngerOne was a 1997 Pontiac Sunfire; a low-end economy car with 122,000 miles. People oft-times are shocked when they hear I possess an 18-year-old auto with so few miles. They are thrown further back on their heels upon learning our second car, which is 19 years old, has merely 75,000 miles. (I joke that it still has its original tires.) What can I say? We walk a lot, and as you might remember, until a car hit me a few years ago, I rode my bike a great deal. In addition, we are loyal, not quick to discard that which is still usable.

Yet, driving to clients in a peeling grunting, clanking, banging automobile which wheezed and creaked more than a dilapidated, broken-down, gasping pipe organ not only gave me great concerns about safety, but — as vain as it may sound — didn’t fit the image I want to portray. Bottom line was I needed (and wanted) a new car. It was time. The problem is that in the last almost-two decades, the technology of cars has improved significantly. Yet, despite that, no one has figured out how to remove car payments. Sigh…

Putting forth my trusty mantra, “I live in a state of constant abundance;” I set forth on what would become a three-month journey to find the “perfect car.”

[Read more…]

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Finding Abundance

The year prior to last was frankly put, lousy.

We had some health issues, which, as you know, are not only frightening, but also expensive. To make matters worse, what I thought was a very successful business model suddenly collapsed as if built on rotten toothpicks, leaving me financially scrambling. I’m fortunate; I’ve always put money away for a rainy day, but this was a downpour.

German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche said,

“That which does not kill me makes me stronger.”

So, I guess I am sturdier for the experience. Yet, I retained scars.

One result was that I hunkered down, even as the tides began shifting. I looked for where I could shrink my life instead of how I could once again blossom. Because I attempt to live simply (all things being relative), there wasn’t a great deal to prune. I was faced with decisions akin to, “How can I save three dollars on the power bill? Is it really essential to patch the roof now or can we wait? How long can I hold off before replacing my brakes?”

Don’t misunderstand, we muddle up our existence with all too much unnecessary clutter so, if given the luxury, living within one’s means is admirable and even virtuous. However, unless one is extravagant or wealthy (or both), he or she can only cut so much fat before grinding away through bone.

Eventually, I was fortunate enough to be confronted by someone willing to have with me one of those unpleasant — but many times necessary — “courageous conversations.”

[Read more…]

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Who is YOU?

Who is YOU?

(That’s not a grammatical error.)

When asked, “Who is (your name),” what do you say?

Do you reply with your name? Do you say “I’m a man (or woman).” Is your response, “mother, father, son, daughter”? Do you label yourself by what you do for a living or your religion or even where you live/

Again, who is YOU?

We are incredibly complex beings and we have many different labels.

For example, I can be “man” at the same time as I’m “happy.” I can be a “resident of northern California” while “native of Detroit” and both are equally true. I can be “a person of faith” and I can be “doubtful” in the same place. I can be “overweight” and I can be “proud” together.

Why does this matter?

[Read more…]

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