August 31, 2009

Account Abuse

When the office-soft bank manager asked me for my Social Security Number I fell into temptation and switched up a couple of the digits.

I?ll blame my childish behavior on healthy curiosity. I?ve been asked this number all my life, for one reason or another, and I?ve always told the truth. This was more ?social experiment? than ?outright (potentially felonious) fib?.

I was there to open an account. Mr. Peter, the bank manager, gathered my pertinent stats and tapped away at the keyboard of his computer.

Then began a gnashing of teeth from behind Mr. Peter?s desk. Sliding out from a fax machine came a page, like a tongue.

Mr. Peter threw his left arm out and snatched the page without so much as turning in his chair. Must receive a lot of faxes, I figured.

He grazed the page with a quick look, and then he froze. Mr. Peter was no longer typing. He was now very deliberately and carefully re-reading the page in his hand. A glistening of sweat spread over his face like morning dew.

Surreptitiously he tried to check me out. He cast furtive glances as I skittered nervously in my chair. My ?experiment? was clearly going awry. His was not a look that screamed ?sexual harassment?. Rather, it appeared, as if he thought he might be in danger of physical harm.

I started to sort out an alibi should my trick tumble any further south.

Mr. Peter was now flashing crazy looks my way.

?Anything wrong?? I asked while trying to sound mighty blas?, despite worries of life-long incarceration.

?Have you ever lived in Ohio?? Mr. Peter managed to stutter, turning pink, over-heating like a boiling lobster.

Turns out the person to whom my switcheroo SSN belongs is wanted by the Feds. He is on record for Account Abuse. I don?t know more as the perspiring Mr. Peter refused to up any extra details.

?Gosh!? I said, as, with grace, I extricated myself from any ties to this cheapening scene. I blamed the numbers error entirely on dyslexia.

I would like to think I?ve learned a valuable lesson about the importance of telling the truth.

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