― Julia Quinn
Early retirement and inevitable wealth lie in wait just around the corner. All I have to do is give away my personal contact information to a total stranger. And for my personal convenience, I can start these wheels of communication rolling by just replying to an email.
“Pack your bags!” I joyously reported to my beloved wife. “We’re buying a bigger house ... and this time in the city so we won’t have to rely on that septic tank ... and maybe a couple more cars with real spare tires, one of those new curved TV’s and heck, we might even take the plunge and finally get us one of those pretty green-and-yellow John Deere riding lawn mowers! I’m awfully tired of pushing.”
Call us the Beverly Hillbillies of the 21st century, if you will, but I’m gonna start loadin’ the pickup just as soon as David Fenton gets back to me.
Who’s David Fenton? Well, I didn’t know him either until the other night when he sent me an email to my office computer informing me that my distant ... but apparently much-beloved relative, Albert Norton ... had passed on, and in so doing had left an estate for dissemination to next of kin.
I am one, as I am told. David says so.
Funny thing, I didn’t know I had a relative named Albert. And I still don’t know how or where he hangs ... er, hanged ... his hat. David is supposed to send me all this info once I reply to his email with my phone number and some other details that he will use to call me in person. Of course, all he’s got to do is check the Cleveland phone book listings. My name and number are right there, right smack in the middle of one of those white pages with all the itty-bitty print.
But David’s probably pretty busy, so he prefers e-messaging. According to his email, David’s now retired but he still works as a consultant and investment advisor. He apparently provided these services to Albert.
Some of you readers out there are probably chuckling, “Did you just hop off the back of a turnip truck, or what?”
Skeptics ... tsk-tsk. You always ridicule that which you don’t understand.
For your information, David’s email informed me this is actually the SECOND time he’s tried to contact me. And, he advises, it will be the last if I don’t respond. So, to quote from that irreverent TV comedy from the late 1960s and early ’70s — “Laugh-In” — you can bet your “sweet bippy” that I’ll respond this time. To the easily offended, I don’t recommend looking up “bippy.”
Just so you’ll understand the depth of David’s heart, he referred in the email to my lost loved one as “... your late relation Albert Norton.”
He went on to explain, “There is Estate (cash deposit in bank and some landed properties) belonging to your late family member whom I will like to discuss with you. He is related to you going by the lineage, surname and country of origin.”
That Albert ... he was a good ol’ boy, whoever he was. Still not sure if he was a black-sheep uncle or a 23rd cousin, but David will fill me in on all that once he gets back to me.
David’s email message goes on to offer assurances of his professionalism, but he warns me to avoid spilling the beans on the contents of our communication. I’m pretty sure he’s just being wary of e-Predators and any distant Norton kinfolk of dark practice and ill-repute.
He writes, “Once I receive your information and endorse same appropriately, I shall provide you all the privileged information/legal documents relating to the deceased and also will give you guidelines on how to realize this goal without the breach of the law. I would respectfully request that you treat the content of this letter as privileged and respect the integrity of the information you come by as a result of this correspondence. Contact me immediately for more information and to begin the legal process of redeeming your lawful entitlement before the bank is compelled by law to hand over the money to the government.”
Obviously, David’s got my back.
I hope you caught some of his key words: “Privileged,” “respect, “integrity” ... oh, and “lawful entitlement.” I liked that one.
In the final graph of his message, David repeats he needs my “personal contact details” and my personal phone number. He wants to give me a call. And he adds, “... it’s urgent.” Again, he warns me, “This is my second but final attempt to reach you.”
Although you didn’t ask for a major credit card number, a bank account or even my list of life insurance beneficiaries, I’ll assume you know what’s best. After all, you are the professional.
I’m hoping I haven’t blundered by publishing this information in today’s column. Remember, David instructed me not to spread the word.
At least, that’s the way I read it.
In a final disclaimer, he writes, “The information contained in this transmission is privileged and confidential. It is intended for the use of the individual or entity named above. If the reader of this message is not the intended addressee, the reader is hereby notified that any consideration, dissemination or duplication of this communication is strictly prohibited. If the addressee has received this communication in error, please immediately destroy all copies, whether in document or electronic form, return this transmission to the sender at the above email address, and notify us immediately.”
But let’s still be friends. Consider your message destroyed.
I just wish somebody had told me Albert was sick.