Give the gift…

December 17, 2007

of insanity.

The seller of the eBay auction linked above offers to drive a person of your choosing batshit nuts through eerily personal postcard rants.  The winner of the auction, with a victim in mind, will send the seller several personal details about the victim, as well as the victim’s address. The seller, planning on spending a holiday in a small Polish village, will send the victim a series of anonymous postcards with scribbled rants that integrate those personal details. The postcards will be complete with a mail stamp from the originating Poland town.

Confused and creeped out by a flurry of psychotic ravings originating from a no-name town in Poland at the hand of someone who appears to know them will set the victim on a quest to find out who the author could be. Anyone who personally knows the victim will (almost surely) have an alibi by virtue of, well, not being in Poland, leaving the victim feeling helpless and disturbed.

Personal experience tells me that a scheme like this creates an itch that a) can’t be scratched and b) won’t go away. During high school, my AIM profile linked to a 20-question quiz that I had set up, following in the footsteps of about half of my good friends. The quiz questions tested people’s knowledge about me and progressively got more personal and thus more difficult. The answer to the last question at the time was known by at most two people. Once someone completed the quiz, her score was posted on a publicly-accessible page.

My friends’ scores all varied, but only one person (let’s call her “HeideggerChick”) managed to score a perfect 20. I sent this “HeideggerChick” an IM and therein asked who she was. She playfully dodged the question and signed off. Intrigued, I confronted the only two people who could have achieved that perfect score, and they both denied being this illusive individual.  “Who the hell could this person be?” I wondered. I saw her online several times shortly thereafter and tried to discover her identity… more playful banter, but no cigar.

We stayed in intermittent touch for over six years.  In the beginning, I pressed for details that would clue me in to who she really was. The intellectual tug-of-war was initially fun, but as time went by, I abandoned the effort altogether and corresponded as though we had an intuitive understanding that friends tend to share. Playing the figure-her-out game after a while seemed strangely inappropriate (though I did suggest we meet on one occasion). Our conversations got personal without being that personal – she told me about her fiancee (later husband), her job with a defense contractor, the book she was writing, and her social life in the DC area, but she never once divulged her name or any other personally identifiable details. Not that I could have verified the information anyway – she could have been making it all up. I did at least form the impression that she was several years my senior and quite brilliant to boot. What we lacked in common life experience was made up for with a similar style of speech and a lone-raised-eyebrow curiosity.

To this day, her true identity remains a mystery. I still wonder how she earned that damned perfect score. It alludes me why she continued talking to me. I mean, really, what person does this. Guess I’ll never know. And as much as I’d sure love to know who she really is, I can at least remember the witty exchanges and remind myself that a dash of mystery makes life worth your interest.

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