With some regularity I see Facebook friends “sharing” on FB a picture of Bill Gates holding up a note saying that says he’ll send $5,000.00 to everyone who “likes” this picture. Really! And where would he send it?
Another one is a little more nebulous as to where the money is going to come from. It has some religious theme, praying hands, a lit candle, or some other “spiritual” picture that promises that if you “share,” lots of money will soon come your way.
When I first arrived in Cheyenne, I remember seeing an advertisement from some coin dealer. I don’t recall the exact wording, although that’s clearly where the deceit was lurking, but I understood the ad to promise me thousands of dollars if I owned a certain Indian head penny. So I started collecting and paying attention to the pennies that came within reach, surely, sooner or later I’d stumble across one of these valuable coins.
I even recall, just to be on the safe side, taking every penny I owned to the local coin dealer to see if I might have something of value. I remember being greatly disappointed when the coin dealer told me that what I had was exactly the face value of however many pennies I had brought in. I began to appreciate the subtleties of the American language.
But, I still believed in luck. For a while there, I sent in every Publishers Clearing House registration that came to the house. You never know; although I knew the chances of winning were astronomical, I knew that if my name wasn’t in the hat, my chances weren’t slim, but nonexistent. So I sent them in, and sometimes, for good measure, I’d buy a magazine, too. Couldn’t hurt, could it?
That was years ago. Imagine my surprise when last week I received a plain white, stamped envelope with a letter notifying me that I had won the tidy sum of $1,500,000.00 cash. All I needed to do was call Mr. Richard Banks (don’t you love his name?), and give him my claim number.
I reread the letter, twice, just be be sure, but there was no mistake, I was finally a winner. For some reason I didn’t think it odd that the envelope was plain with an extremely bad address label, and the letter itself was printed on cheap yellow paper. No PCH van, or representative with flowers and a giant check.
I spent a few minutes pondering what I was going to do with my new-found wealth, and that was really fun. I discovered that I don’t really need or want lots of money for my own use. Rather, identifying the individuals and causes I’d support was a process that was both edifying and thought provoking. I’m still thinking about it even though the letter from PCH was obviously an attempted scam.