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Friday, March 3, 2017

Modern Problems

My posts have been sparse this past month because of enigmatic modern problems. This essay will address two of them.  I opened up our bathroom medicine cabinet recently and decided it could use some updating.
Ok, this picture isn't of the medicine cabinet  --it's a tool drawer in the barn-- but it's what Norma had and it's close enough. What I wanted was an oxygen concentrator so I could take trips to higher elevations. An oxygen concentrator is a machine that draws ambient air and expels nearly pure oxygen for aging wheezers like me. Ambient air consists generally of 20% oxygen, 70% nitrogen. Remaining 10% is mainly gasses produced by decaying uraninites and, in election years, blatherskites. Problem is, I've been called back into the doctor's office three times because they hadn't given me the full test this device requires for insurance coverage --sheer repetition has made me jumpy. Each time, there is some new part of the test that I haven't studied for, or they haven't. But I digress.

Point is, as we all sometimes must, I bowed to absurdity and, as I shut the mirrored medicine cabinet door, found my reflection had disappeared. 

"Not again!" I moaned.

Identity theft is a horrible thing.Same thing happened to me exactly four years ago and I recognized the symptoms. I returned home from my doctor's 3rd exam on Friday to receive a letter from Verizon thanking me for opening a cell phone account in Modesto --a city 75 miles south of here-- which I had not done.  I called Verizon first, established myself, and they cancelled the account even though they lost a cell phone --yes they do have a fraud dept. because it's that common.  That left my problem.

Oh lordy, I thought, I got Modern Problems!

Somebody made the purchase with my SSN and name AND address. I contacted my credit card co., all three credit monitoring agencies, visited the Sheriff's  Office to start a case file, then added passwords to any accounts that didn't already have them from my previous frolic with this outrage.

My reflection in the mirror is returning, which is promising.  I have so far narrowly escaped the ailment of lost identity known, in medical parlance, as Draculitis -- a brainal dysfunction and absence of mirrored reflection that causes sufferers to roam the night asking, "Is my hair all right?" I'd hate to have to go back to my doctor this week with that.

From what I learned at the Sheriff's Office, Medicare might have to cover it by and by.

This has been a public service announcement.

31 comments:

  1. It wouldn't be so bad to have your identity stolen if it could be replaced by one of your own choosing. I'd like to be someone younger, more attractive, smarter and most definitely wealthier. Anyone out there like to swap with an almost 70 crippled with arthritis wrinkled and slight daft old crone?

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    1. Delores, I'm charmed by the idea of a senior identity exchange program. Is the American Field Service working on this? They do a fine job with foreign exchange students already.

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    2. I'm thinking of writing a letter to our Prime Minister. He's such a pretty little boy I'm sure he could understand us oldies wanting an update.

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  2. One hates to nitpick (he say's, nitpicking,) but there is a tad bit more nitrogen than that, unless CA has given around 9% away to Nevada in some kind of trade for Harry Reid. An inert gas, Nitrogen is pretty amiable to whatever you want to do with it, and it also has little interest in invading your blood stream unless you take of deep sea diving.

    Are those concentrate devices portable now? Batteries? And they used to be rather noisy, too.

    Spring is putting out faint tendrils here, it's up to 33f and bright sunshine reflecting off the 3' piles of snow in my yard.

    Cheers,
    Mike

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    1. 9% discrepancy was caused by a rare coincidence during my atmospheric measurements. Everybody on Earth happened to inhale deeply at the same time. And, yes, there are small 02 concentrators that run --and charge batteries-- on 110v AC and 12v DC (car current).

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    2. Very sorry Geo, but the percentage would stay the same, inhaled (VE) or not. Big breaths simultaneously or not. The remaining gas would contain roughly 79% N2, 20.8 (adapted from 2018 predictions)O2, remainder CO2, increasing each year, trace gases from planetary processes.
      Or, are you easing into 'alternative facts'.....if so, lemme know. I'll support that and give you some others.

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    3. Any inaccuracies in my survey of atmospheric gasses is due to inability to see all the way around the world, so I just guessed. I avoid resorting to alternative facts --which are themselves a kind of gas emitted from deep blatherskite ore deposits in the roof of perdition.

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  3. I am sorry you are suffering from this malady. I guess I was inoculated against it at an early age. Anyone who tries to steal my identity will starve to death.

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    1. I wish there was a vaccine against ID theft, Emma. People work hard on their whos and should be immune to predators.

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  4. What a miserable thing to have happen. My paranoia about identity theft has extended to tearing my name and address off everything that arrives in the mailbox, ripping it to shreds and putting it in the compost along with the wet cat food leftovers. And that only deters a fraction of the identity thieves. It's more likely we will be relieved of our names and money electronically, and I have no idea how to mix THAT into the compost. Good luck, my friend.

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    1. Norma uses that same caution on incoming mail. Foils thieves who pick through street bins on garbage-out day. Higher tech, electronic thievery has kept us banking in person --no ATM or on-line transactions. And usually those wards hold, but there are other ways to generate numbers until they hit a real person. Constant vigilance on balance statements is a must.

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  5. Sigh.
    I am pretty certain that anyone who stole my identity would give it back quickly. And might even pay me to take it. I live in hope.
    And wish you luck on all fronts.

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    1. Thanks, EC. Makes me wonder if people got along better before we invented identities. It would certainly simplify roll calls and games of "guess who!".

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  6. This makes me long for my hometown days when our postal address had "RR2, Nebo, Ill." Or, if we had to go to a bank a distance aways, all Dad had to do was say his name, and smiles all around. "Bud Peck, oh I know his Ma. Cash the check."

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    1. Susan, when I was a kid our address on the river road began with Rural Route 2 also. I had no idea that route extended from California to Illinois. Must of been one very hardworking postal carrier. And yes, I remember those days when people knew who lived in their communities. Good times.

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    2. I miss times I didn't even live through.

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    3. We still find the company of good minds, Suze. These are good times too!

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  7. These scary times are sucking the air out of many of us. No matter how careful we are, the creeps are out there and they are smarter than the average guy. Once a victim, it is best to get some extra security and monitoring, as your information can be sold over and over again. This is from someone who unfortunately knows about this.

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    1. Thanks Arleen. I hope the measures I took will hold for a while but we intend to ask at our bank about extra security this coming week. We also received a large pamphlet from the Federal Trade Commission that has many excellent suggestions.

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  8. Nothing is easy anymore, nor are we. I hope that after the testing they give you a a good score on the grading curve and then leave you alone to see more of yourself materialize in your mirror and not in Modesto or Moline or Moravia. Be well Geo.

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    1. Things do seem more complicated lately, like the planet is passing through an entropy field in space. Or maybe I just have gas. You be well too, Tom, and thanks.

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  9. I'm glad your reflection is returning, Geo - that means there's hope. It also means that you're not a vampire.

    As a victim (I hate that word) of identity theft, I can fully sympathize with your plight. This modern age we live in is often too exhausting for me.

    I've never heard of an oxygen concentrator, but if it delivers oxygen to the brain - I definitely need it.

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    1. Thanks, Jon. I dislike that word too, especially when I qualify as one --"victim" also reminds me there are predators, which I can happily do without. O2 concentrators are truly remarkable machines, but very pricey. I'm hoping Medicare will rent one for me.

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  10. I was gonna say, it that picture was a picture of the medicine cabinet, then there were bigger problems to be had haha

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    1. That's for sure, Keith. Barn drawer can look pretty sinister and unsanitary posing as a medicine cabinet.

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  11. That stinks. My hubby's debit card has been hacked twice now... first one, and then six months later, its replacement. Fortunately, our bank was terrific about negating all of the fraudulent charges, and immediately issued a replacement card both times. But it's scary that someone was able to find and use his info to make those purchases in the first place. They even had his email address, and that's how we found out about the first breech. A restaurant we'd never visited sent him an email containing a receipt and to get feedback on his dining experience.

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    1. It happens all too frequently. I'm down to using credit card --with fraud alert attending-- check or cash and never bank online. 4 years ago, our first encounter with ID theft sent us putting passwords on all accounts. We must bank in person, with photo ID etc., and still I get jumpy. Hope all your wards hold too; it's a strange new world.

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  12. Identity theft is no fun, and I hope you get it all sorted out eventually. You can make the most unpleasant things hilarious. My sister-in-law lives at 10,000 feet inn Breckenridge, and she keeps an oxygen concentrator in her bedroom closet, along with a stash of oxygen cannulas, just in case a guest comes down with altitude sickness. That concentrator really works!

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    1. Louise, an O2 concentrator is a wise precaution at 10,000 feet. It could save a life.

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  13. I'm with Elephant's Child-I think my identity is fairly safe. Too bad there is not some kind of google analytics for our identities. Then we'd know if someone in Macedonia is tracking our identities. Maybe the 2018 microwave models will come equipped with this option.

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    1. True, it seems more and more household electronics have information to be harvested by thieves. Best defense is a few phone calls to credit agencies, law enforcement and the bank; set up alerts and hope those wards hold. Once human agencies are involved, ID thieves seem to move on to easier pickings.

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