Scam Alert

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If you have a Facebook account, then you’re probably aware that people you don’t know can follow you, just like on that damn Twitter thing.

For the longest time, I had the same five strangers following me. I didn’t really give it much thought, until yesterday morning when I logged in to check my notifications.

I noticed that my count had risen by one. It was a guy who had a completely blank Facebook page, no friends or details about himself at all, which I found fishy.

I messaged this person and asked if I knew him and if so, from where?

While I was sleeping, he responded by telling me that I was so beautiful (ha!) that he just had to follow me.

Then he informed me that I had a wonderful smile. Did I get that from my mom or my dad?

I said my dad, because somewhere in my house there are two separate pictures of us sharing the exact same grin.

After a few generic replies that seemed insincere, shit started getting really weird. This all happened around 4 o’clock. He started asking me extremely personal questions, then he asked for a picture of my house and car.

I said no, what the fuck? Then he tried to fucking call me from the Facebook messenger app.

I declined it.

“Why didn’t you take my call?”

Um, because I don’t fucking know you.

“We’d get to know each other. LOL! Hey, do you like Nigerians?”

I blocked his ass faster than it takes for my deodorant to stop working on a 90 degree day.

I decided to check out my message requests just in case there were other scammers and sure enough, I saw a message from…yep, you guessed it, a young Nigerian man.

“Wow, Merry. You’re so beautiful!”

It was sent only a minute beforehand.

“Hello, are you there?”

I blocked him without responding.

I quickly Googled ‘Nigerian Scams’ and there were 32,900,000 results. These two men were somehow working in tandem to try to sweet-talk me into something sketchy.

I mean, as much as I enjoy being complimented on my gregarious smile by strange, creepy dudes on social media, they would have had better luck if they had offered me a lifetime supply of chocolate instead.

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It’ll never happen because the real Willy Wonka is dead. 😦

Seriously, watch out, you guys. There is a land of straight up evil out here on the internet and these swindlers will try to bamboozle you.

Keep a close eye on your follower count, make sure that they have a legit Facebook page filled with memes of cats and inspirational messages.

And they should actually have friends, which is the whole point of Facebook to begin with.

You bet your rump that I’ll be checking out my Facebook privacy settings later this evening, because this experience really shook me up.

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The Slumber Party

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When I was in the 5th grade, I attended a slumber party at a friend’s house. Most of the girls there were kids that I knew well, but one of them was a snobby little blonde that I rarely interacted with. She was one of the cool kids, a fellow classmate at my tiny Catholic school.

I never felt comfortable around her. I wonder now after all of these years if that was mostly due to my own insecurities or her treatment of me because I was below her social class.

She was beautiful and fragile, like fine china. The boys all wanted her attention and to get into her good graces.

She was thin and had great hair; I was chubby with good hair.

She floated like a feather in a beautiful world and next to her, I felt like tree pollen.

I remember a few details from that night. We had pizza and drank tons of pop, which I wasn’t accustomed to having often back at home. There were also brownies and ice cream.

Yes, I remember the food we ate. Not shocking at all.

The girl who was hosting the shindig had a huge luxury item from the 80’s (that my own family wouldn’t have until 1987), a VHS player. Her parents thought that the movie “Flashdance” was appropriate for a group of 10-year-old girls, but they were wrong.

Way too much spandex.

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Saucy stuff.

We were all camped out on the living room floor, but we were also elevated, so I’m thinking that we all might have had our own cot or something.

After the lights were off, there were still whispers and giggles to be heard, but I was mostly quiet. Especially back in those days, I was extremely shy and reserved. I mostly just listened to them all chatter on about Barbie Dolls and cute boys at school, piping in now and then with a one liner.

I never did great at these iconic, ritualistic gatherings of young females, so I always suffered from preadolescent insomnia.

At one point during the night, I suddenly wasn’t the only one awake and sitting up. I think it was sometime after 4 am when suddenly, there she was.

“Merry?” Her soft voice as buttery as a kittens meow.

I froze for at least 10 seconds before I replied.

“Yes, it’s me.”

I got up enough courage to look over at her, two slumbering whippersnappers away, seeing her silhouette that mingled with both the dark of the room and the light from the moon.

“I’m scared.” She turned in my direction, looking back at me over our snoring peers.

I instantly empathized with her, feeling her emotional pain, but not understanding why.

Plus, my mind was often weird, panicky and it scared me, too.

I also knew that she was crying, although she wasn’t even making a sound. In my mind, though I struggled in the shadows to see her perfectly, there was a plump teardrop running down her porcelain cheeks.

“I’m sorry that you’re scared. I feel like that a lot.”

“Yeah.”

I wasn’t sure what she was scared of, so I decided that I needed more information.

“Why are you scared?” I asked quietly.

She always talked low, so you really had to pay attention, plus she was whispering because she didn’t want to disturb anyone.

She wanted to talk to me and this was her perfect chance without any witnesses to do just that.

“My parents are getting a divorce,” she murmured sadly.

“Oh.” I hadn’t known. I thought her life was perfect.

I thought she was done, but she kept going, all in a rush, like she was running out of time to get everything out.

“Yes and they keep fighting about who I’ll live with, my mom or my dad. I don’t like it when they fight, it makes me scared and then I cry. I don’t want them to get a divorce, I want everything to stay the same as it was before they started hating each other.”

“I would be upset too,” I said, wanting more than anything to make her feel better, but having no real clue as to how to accomplish it. I couldn’t relate to her story, but I tried to console her anyways.

“I’m really sorry. ”

“I just wanted to tell someone.”

But why me, when she had so many other friends?

“I’m sure it’ll be okay,” I said kindly, but maybe a little too loudly because her outline quickly tightened up again.

“It’s a secret, so don’t tell anyone, okay?” she asked me urgently, looking around the room for listening ears.

“I won’t. I promise.”

“Thank you, Merry.”

Then she laid back down again and after a few moments, so did I.


Once the sleepover became breakfast at the kitchen table, I really expected the two of us to be best friends because of what took place between us. I didn’t have the terminology back then, but we had totally bonded.

Right?

Wrong.

She treated me like she always had before; as if I didn’t exist.

This was no fucking Breakfast Club ending.

We lived in two separate orbits, far away from each other. She was nightgowns with frilly lace, while mine had Garfield emblazoned on the front of a long nightshirt.

But I became her confidant for about 10 minutes in the middle of the night at a mutual friends sleepover. It was just the first of many exchanges I’d experience when someone I really didn’t know from Adam told me their deepest thoughts and darkest fears.

And secrets, sometimes far heavier than I anticipated.

Even if you’re not an empath, embrace yourself for who you are and acknowledge your true nature. Keep searching to find ways to honor your abilities, gifts and talents.

I learned that I can’t fix people and that it’s unhealthy for me to continue trying to save the world.

My own gut instincts are precious and should always be heeded.

But most importantly, before I can help someone else, I have to be able to help myself first.

“My MOM Has Fibromyalgia!”

My daughter made manager at her work a couple of days ago, after three years of taking food orders, working the grill (they make gourmet burgers) and every other menial task that comes with the job.

The kid has one hell of a work ethic, something that I’d struggled with in my early years. It took having her at age 22 to grow my ass up and do what was (mostly) right.

I can’t express just how proud of her I am. She’s done with classes for the summer, so at this very moment, she’s in her bed sleeping, probably dreaming of the day when she graduates from college and gets a “real” job.

A real job to her is one that doesn’t involve coming home smelling like grease.

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This is the first image you’ll find when you Google “smells like grease.”

She works with mostly males and from what I’ve gathered, some of them are real assholes.

This doesn’t surprise me in the slightest.

They hired an 18-year-old boy who has fibromyalgia and he was having a bad day. According to my offspring, the guys began teasing him because of it. He was struggling hard to keep up with the physical challenges of working at an upscale fast food place and in the end, he asked to be sent home.

That really gave these imbeciles even more fuel to ridicule the suffering boy. This infuriated my daughter so much that eventually she lost her proverbial shit and went off on them.

“My MOM has fibromyalgia you *$@&!!” (I’ve never heard her swear, unless you count damn it once.)

I guess this info only gave them more to poke fun at, which seems to be just the way, doesn’t it?

My daughter said that she was so furious, she barely spoke to anyone for the rest of the shift. (This all happened before she got promoted to manager, otherwise the silent treatment wouldn’t have been prudent.)

“Aw, honey. That poor boy and he’s so young,” I said to her.

“I wanted to punch them. They just don’t understand, bunch of idiots.”

I felt three distinct emotions during this conversation:

  1. Empathy for the young man who has a whole lifetime ahead of him with the monster known as fibromyalgia.
  2. Anger at the people who were throwing shade at him. (What? Am I too old to use that expression?)
  3. Love, because she was ardently sticking up for the underdog and of course, for me, her mommy.

“Well, honey, most people don’t understand something unless it’s happening to them.”

“They all suck.”

Yeah, she had me there.

Only I would have said that they fucking suck.


When I attempt to do something that might cause me harm, my daughter tells me to be careful.

She also tells me not to fall, which is something that I do often enough to prompt her to say that in the first place.

Or she’ll just tell me to sit down, that she’ll do it.

And as stubborn as I am, I usually let her.