Much like Sir Paul McCartney, I apparently died once. Well, not really, since I’m sitting here at a laptop typing this post…though is it weird that my great-grandmother is sitting next to me pitching ideas? M’eh, for once in my life not entertaining some kind of neurosis, I’ll just run with it.
I discovered my untimely demise when I was leasing an apartment. After filling out a completely unnecessary amount of paperwork and agreeing to a ridiculous cleaning deposit just so we could keep our cats, I was pretty sure I was alive and well and on my way to paying way too much for something not gaining equity. Then I got the phone call.
“Hello, Mr. Whiskey? This is Laurel from Dewy, Cheetum and Howe management,” The property management agent said.
“My dad is ‘Mr. Whiskey,’ you can call me ‘Bulleit’.” I replied.
“Yeah, you wish.”
Wow, usually they’re not this quick on the snark, I thought.
“Anyway there is an issue with your credit report,” she said. “One I’ve never seen before.”
“Uh oh, what’s the issue?” I asked, terrified that someone had stolen my identity…or maybe it was that time when the exchange student left and we signed her up for the Columbia Record Club and kept all the LP’s and never followed up. They sent so many scary letters. They finally got to the bottom of it.
“Ummm, how do I say this, on two out of the three services we use, you appear to have great credit…” She began.
“And the third?”
“What?” I was stunned.
“Means dead, pushing up the daisies, on the wrong side of the grass, you sir are a late applicant…etc etc.” She deadpanned.
“Yes I’ve seen CSI, and Monty Python.”
So I assured her I was indeed alive and had money in my bank account to pay the rent. And it worked out in the end. Still the mystery remained, how had I faked my own death to one of the almighty credit bureaus? And, more importantly, could I do it again?
It turns out it is not at all difficult and I had done it accidentally. This should serve as a cautionary tale regarding people that should hold zero power, but somehow have the ability to screw with your life.
Messing with telemarketers and survey takers was a hobby I cultivated in college. I would pretend to speak almost no English and only a smattering of Swahili as they tried to sell me cable upgrades or ask me about what side the butter goes on toast (left), or I would have a roommate shriek “oh my god your cat is on fire,” then hang up etc.
One time I was feeling particularly creative when I picked up the phone and heard the tell tale pause that clued me that a call center was about to come on. I developed a sniffle, and visualized Ol’ Yeller getting shot, The Yearling, and the scene in Platoon where Elias bites the dust, oh and of course Goose in Top Gun. I was ready.
The person came on the line…
“Hello this is Carl from Hidden Fee Cable and Telecom, is Mr. Whiskey available to hear a great offer?” He said cheerfully.
“Ummmm, I don’t, ummm oh man talk about timing…” I stammered.
“Is this a bad time, I can call back.” Carl offered.
“We’re having his wake right now, god we miss the poor bastard,” I choked.
“Oh god, oh sorry, I’m really sorry about this.” Carl said.
“Mowed down in the street like an unloved rescue dog,” I wailed.
“I’ve… got… to go, Aunt Sheila is eating all the shrimp, SHEILA those are for everyone goddamn it!” I hung up.
And that is how I died that day apparently.
Just my opinion but lying to strangers on the phone should not affect my credit. On the other hand it is way easier to fake your death this way rather than pushing your burning car off a cliff with a recently dead hobo and several propane tanks inside.
Talk about a life hack. Er…death hack?
I’m a hack…